!midwif is the spirit of Maaij Claesje

In 1689 Maaij Claesje was taken aboard the Wapen Van Alkmaar on its voyage from the Cape to Batavia to assist Geertruyd Chasteleyn (wife of a VOC official) with the birth of her fourth child. Maaij Claesje was able to negotiate her freedom in return for this voyage. For reasons unknown, but not hard to imagine, she re-entered the Slave Lodge and lived out her life within its confines.

The project intends to recuperate the library that was Maaij Claesje of Angola, midwife in the Slave Lodge, enslaved woman, and ancestor to the artist. Brought as a 12-year old child on the first shipload of slaves to the Cape in 1658, Maaij Claesje lived to the age of 86. In 1689 she went aboard the Wapen Van Alkmaar on its voyage from the Cape to Batavia (Jakarta) to assist Geertruyd Chasteleyn with the birth of her child. In return for this service Maaij Claesje was able to negotiate her emancipation. She returned to the Slave Lodge to work as a ‘free’ midwife.