Hyperinflation: an exhibition at SSE in cooperation with the Economy Museum
The small exhibition at SSE consists of object so-called origami Venezolano: a way for the refugees to make a living. Bags, purses and figurines are produced from the home country’s worthless bank notes.
Origami Venezolano - in the wake of hyperinflation
Venezuela is a country with very substantial oil reserves, which meant that the country flourished economically in the 1960s and 1970s. The heavy reliance on the oil, and the ability to produce and export very large quantities of it, led to the abandonment of other industries such as agriculture and manufacturing industries.
When the price of oil fell, this resulted in an uncertain economic situation, however the political leaders turned a blind eye to the consequences that would follow as a result. Since 2015 the country suffers from severe hyperinflation. Economic chaos and other difficulties have led to millions of people fleeing Venezuela. Many cross the border to Colombia.
So-called origami Venezolano has become a new way for the refugees to make a living. Bags, purses and figurines are produced from the home country’s worthless bank notes. The objects are then sold on streets and markets primarily to tourists from Europe and Asia.
The objects are beautiful to look at, but at the same time they are a reminder of tragic stories of poverty and involuntary emigration.
Thanks to Pernilla Tenje and Cecilia von Heijne at Ekonomiska museet!
The exhibition “Hyperinflation – involuntary millionaires and worthless money” was on display April 15, 2021 – August 14, 2022 at the Economy Museum in Stockholm.
Economy Museum / Ekonomiska Museet
The Economy Museum is a place for economic learning where the past, present and future come together. The collection consists of 650,000 objects, such as coins, bank notes, medals, share certificates and other objects with numismatic or financial history ties.
Through lectures and other activities, it highlights objects and themes, such as economic history, consumption and savings, entrepreneurship, or current economic issues. A permanent exhibition about Sweden’s economic history is planned to open in December 2023.
”The current exhibition widens our horizons by illustrating how money can lose its economic value on the one hand and, as banknotes, acquire a cultural value, on the other hand, by becoming a kind of raw material for the craftmanship that could also be considered art. We seem to be dealing with different perspectives starting with a pure economic plane and moving towards philosophical meaning-making.”
Ksenia Mischa Rundin, PhD Student at SSE