Just one day … Friday, April 29 2011, try to be there, between 19:30-22:00 hrs, on the Ultima parking lot, Keizerstraat, Paramaribo, Suriname. What will you see? Video art, a new art form for Suriname, with video art by Razia Barzatie, Ravi Rajcoomar and Marcel Pinas.
A very good article (in Dutch) by Bonnie van Leeuwaarde about Razia Barsatie can be found on the website of de Ware Tijd, you have to log in, which takes only a few seconds and makes all Suriname’s newsworthy facts available.
Barsatie has studied at the Rietveld Academie in The Netherlands and is currently doing her apprenticeship at the Nola Hatterman Art Academy. She has worked with students to make animated videos. Se her (Dutch) blog with lots of great impressions. The results of the workshop will be presented at the Nola Hatterman Art Academy next to Fort Zeelandia, Paramaribo, Suriname, Thursday, Apri 28 2011, 19:00 hrs.Afterwards the videos will be screened from April 29 until May 1 2011 on billboards located at Spanhoek, Hermittage, Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat, ’t Vat, Zanderij, Frederik Derbystraat en Fernandes Electronica Klipstenenstraat. For more information send Razia Barsatie an email email@example.com
If you’re on Facebook, please find the event here
From April 18-May 7 2011 Anand Binda will have a solo exhibition in Royal House of Art, Royal Torarica, Kleine Waterstraat 10, Paramaribo, +597 473821 / (0)855 3525. With the compliments of Parbode this blog post offers the Sranan Art readers a close look at Anand Binda’s way of working and an indepth view of his art, written by Lynn Laureys.
Making art is my mission. Everybody has goals in life and I discovered my mission quite early on. Even back in elementary school I was already drawing on the blackboard and making drawings for classmates. In 1973 I left for the Art Academy of The Hague. I can still vividly remember the day of admissions. About three hundred applicants were standing in line with a large portfolio folder under their arms. Everybody knew that only 30 would be admitted. I stood there with two other Surinamese hopefuls and most of the candidates came back out crying. But all three of us were accepted. Unbelievable. One of them still lives in Holland and the other never finished. I am the only one who kept on going.
Suriname has a relatively young art tradition. Going to Holland was therefore the logical thing to do. I have never regretted my choice, even though it was a difficult decision. After my education I immediately returned to Suriname. The nature and the country pulled at me like a magnet. Since then I have never been gone for longer than three months. And I think I will keep living here forever.
Impressionism has never again let go of me. When I first entered the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, I was instantly intrigued by the work of Dutch impressionists such as George Breitner and Jacob Maris. That trend in art has become a part of me. The impressionists caused a breakthrough in their time, around approximately 1900. They took their easels outside with them and studied the light. In one day for example Claude Monet made a series of eight paintings because the sunlight resulted in a play of shadows. It was the discovery of nature. Painters took a step back from their fantasy and concentrated wholly on reality. In meditation you also learn that there is only one reality. Nature is the only thing that remains constant. People change, but nature always remains true to itself.
Meditation and art go hand in hand. The one reinforces the other. The majority of mankind lives on the outside and neglects the inside. Artists are people who concentrate more on what is inside. There are also a great deal of artists who use drugs, but then you become disoriented and get on the wrong track. This should be avoided at all cost. You have to look at yourself while completely level-headed. People tend to hold on to negative thoughts for too long, even if it is not necessary. Meditation teaches you to let go and to focus on the moment. Your entire perception changes once you let go of all of your problems. And then you can embrace life.
Letting go is not easy. I always let my paintings ‘ripen’ in my living room. If I am not satisfied, I take them back down and change certain things. Sometimes I find it difficult to sell paintings. It is a bit like saying farewell.
Acting intuitively can result in surprises. The first thing I do to a blank canvas is paint it over with several layers of yellow. That color has the tendency to shine through the upper layers, as a warm glow. This is something I discovered by coincidence. Later on I read in a book that many of the old masters did the same thing.
Emotions are of great importance. Especially for an artist. Karel Appel, Corneille and Constant, members of the Cobra-movement from the fifties, were driven by the purity in the drawings of children. A child has no preconceptions; adults influence them automatically during their upbringing. I train teachers to form art education. In each elementary school, one teacher is trained to teach Visual expression to the entire school. A teacher should be a coach and guide the children. In those classes students are taught how to deal with fear, joy and anger. Children have great potential. If you allow them to brainstorm about a certain subject, they come up with amazingly good ideas.
The art scene subconsciously has great influence. We are by nature social creatures and that has a certain effect on your work. You see what artists all around you are producing and you live in a certain atmosphere.
Why doesn’t Suriname have a National Gallery? It is extremely important that a country present her art and culture expressions in an adequate way. This stimulates and inspires. The lack of a good display venue for artists is a national disgrace and shows a lack of self respect. There are occasional and temporary exhibitions at several locations, but there is no permanent overview. Surinamese artists should get the recognition they deserve.
Painting is like an exploratory expedition. I never know how a work will end up looking. That makes it fascinating. Sometimes I have a goal in mind and want to visualize a message. I have noticed that over time you get to know yourself better. You need to choose your own path as an artist and find your own truth. Because that’s what it’s all about. Through the years you develop your own signature style. I would never copy Van Gogh, but I would like to give my interpretation to his vision on reality.
Trees inspire me. They are the silent witnesses of events and they have a great deal to tell. Trees offer us many advantages. Shadow, fruits and beauty. I once painted a large kankantri (silk cottonwood tree) that seemed to glow under a yellow light. I hung the painting in an exhibition but had decided not to sell it. But along came the Director of Billiton, the company that mined bauxite in Suriname, with an unbelievable story. He told me of how several years ago he had given the order to several workers to take down a kankantri at the place where they were to start mining. The workers however, all people who live in the forest, refused to place the dynamite sticks in between the roots of the kankantri, because to them it is a holy tree. After a lengthy search the Director succeeded in finding some workers who were willing to blow up the tree. But right at the moment when they were about to press the button to set off the explosion, lightning struck the tree and split it in two. The tree in my painting symbolized to him exactly that what he had witnessed there that day. I sold the work to this man. It was destined for him.
Discipline is crucial. That is the most important thing I teach my students. It may sound cliché, but craftsmanship is mastery. You need to have a solid base in order to build on from there. Even great artists such as Picasso started out initially making realistic paintings. He started experimenting with cubism later on. And that is as it should be, step by step. If I skip my morning ritual, I feel incomplete. Each day for me starts with a walk through nature. After this I do breathing exercises and yoga. These are in preparation for the actual meditation. It is a daily ritual, even if I am sometimes in a time squeeze.
We need to focus more on positive events. Only dramatic things make the news. Bomb explosions, natural disasters. We are not interested in seeing beautiful things. People hunger for hot news topics and I try to distance myself from that. I rarely look at the news and if it leans towards the sensational, I instantly turn it off. I would like to engage myself for a program about visual art, but then there would be little time left over for painting.
Artist have an enormous ego. You have to learn how to deal with that and how to make your ego into your friend. You can’t do without an ego, but you have to live in harmony with yourself. Arrogance, greed and jealousy should absolutely be avoided.
I am very fond of my studio. It is extremely inspiring here and that is why I hardly ever leave my house. It is a real pleasure to be here. In the back of my garden I have a stream where I often sit with my dogs. Heavenly. Nature is my muse. I can also paint in other places, but my work environment must have a peaceful atmosphere.
Spatially I want to take it one step further. Adding an extra dimension to my work and digging beyond the flat surface. Which direction this will take exactly, I cannot yet say. During my studies at the art academy three-dimensional art was my strongest subject and exactly that is a side I have never before utilized. I am curious as to what will come of it.
Anand Binda exhibits his work several times a year, in Suriname as well as abroad. He also works as a visual arts teacher. He exhibited for example, in Moscow early 2010 and was one of the artists who made artifacts for the World exhibition in Shanghai. In October 2010 his work was on display at the National Art Fair in Suriname and in an exhibition in Barbados, together with other FVAS-members. In 2011 his work is included in the ABKS exhibition Crossroads in Life in April, in De Hal, Paramaribo, Suriname and in an exhibition at Royal House of Art, Paramaribo, Suriname. This solo exhibition will run from April 18-May 7. During the second half of 2011 Anand Binda will participate -invited by Arte Euroamericano- in an exhibition in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Anand Binda’s mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXT Lynn Laureys. After a training period with the monthly magazine Parbode in Paramaribo, Suriname, Lynn Laureys (Vilvoorde, Belgium, 1987) finished her studies in 2010, as a Bachelor of Journalism at the Arteveldehogeschool in Gent, Belgium. At the moment she lives in Belgium again and she participates in the Master Program Cultural Studies from the Catholic University of Leuven. Contact: email@example.com
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
This post was made possible by Parbode, a monthly, Dutch language, magazine in Suriname. Every month the magazine devotes two pages to art, written by Bart Krieger. In ‘Kunstschatten’ Krieger takes a close look at works of art.
Each new book that is published about ‘Caribbean Art’ is generally speaking a valuable addition to my bookcase. My Caribbean Art by Veerle Poupeye (1998), however useful and interesting it still proves to be, is in need of expansion and an update. I was thus quite happy with the catalogue of the same name at Infinite Islands by Tumelo Mosaka (Brooklyn Museum, 2007). It contained at least some effort to bring me up to date visually about important artists from this region. And it was there that, to my knowledge, Suriname was really included for the first time. You will understand my curiosity for Art in the Caribbean. An introduction, a book by Anne Walmsley and Stanley Greaves that has recently appeared. After reading it, I am however left with mixed feelings.
The subtitle, ‘An introduction’, should have put me to thinking. It is in fact rather sympathetic when writers do not make pretence of wanting to be complete and exhaustive. It does after all involve a vast and extensive subject ‘situated’ in a region that is not known for thoroughly documenting its own cultural heritage. A lack of means and expertise undoubtedly plays a role here.
In the case of these authors however, ‘An introduction’ seems rather like a built in excuse made in advance for inconsistency and flawed information, while those deficiencies were unnecessary. They mention in their preface that the book is in the first place intended to be a “gallery of contemporary art of the Caribbean”. Meaning, a collection of artworks including explanatory notes. With regards to the latter, it does as it says. The explanations of the different works of art are adequate and useful. There is however something to be said about the selection. In the first place, there are only 40 works of art. Rather limited for a period of more than 60 years. Furthermore, the artworks only begin to become really ‘contemporary’ onwards from 2000. As though there was no art made previously that incorporated themes and modes of expression which were in keeping with international trends and developments.
Can this shortcoming be ascribed to an outdated point of view with regards to what is considered ‘Caribbean’? To some degree, yes. The authors have chosen artists who live and work in the Caribbean. Caribbean artists who have settled elsewhere were not included. That’s something that is difficult to keep up for non-European and non-American artists in general. Those in fact define themselves – by nature or compelled by limiting circumstances in their homeland – by a great wanderlust. Is Meschac Gaba, just to mention a random example, no longer an African artist because he has been living in Rotterdam for some time now? Is Remy Jungerman not Surinamese because he works in Amsterdam? Is Marlene Dumas South-African or Dutch?
But aside from this point of view, does not the conservative choice of the authors also have something to do with their own, somewhat conservative view on art? I’m afraid so. The ‘new media (photo, video) and installation art for example are clearly under-represented.
In and of itself it is praiseworthy to provide, next to the gallery of works, a historical background of the various (is)lands within the Caribbean. That knowledge is lacking amongst many interested parties, that knowledge makes looking at and understanding Caribbean art a great deal easier. The book is after all especially intended for students and “anyone with a serious interest in the visual arts”, not for experts.
Information however, is only information if it is correct.
If I limit myself to the section about Suriname, then according to the authors, there was hardly anything going on roughly between 1990 and 2005. This does no justice to quite a few people and organizations. In the preface the authors state that it is sometimes difficult to gather information. That is undoubtedly the case. About this part of the Surinamese art history however, they could have received help from numerous persons in the field who can be contacted easily and also from publications such as Visual Art in Suriname (2000), Wakaman (2009) and Paramaribo SPAN (2010).
It is also noteworthy, that the preface suggests that the book is up to date until 2010, while the extensive bibliography – incidentally quite valuable –in the case of Suriname for example, ends in 2002.
You can have a difference of opinion with authors who write about a certain subject. That is perfectly all right. That stimulates the discussion and that, especially when it concerns ‘Caribbean Art’, can almost be seen as an advantage. If however, you ‘catch’ them at being insufficiently informed, you start doubting their entire work. What else is not correct that I as “anyone with serious interest in the visual arts” may have failed to notice? Should students be allowed to blindly accept what is in this book, or should they approach it with some degree of suspicion?
In the preface Walmsley and Greaves cite expert Nicholas Laughlin. He says that increasingly artists and critics “are looking at and discussing new work online, sharing images via email, circulating news of upcoming projects and opportunities. This has become the primary medium for regional creative exchange for most people of my generation.”
Actually it is quite courageous of the authors to include this point of view. They most probably did not suspect that after reading this book, the words of Laughlin would become a very sensible recommendation.
Walmsley, Anne and Stanley Greaves, Art in the Caribbean. An Introduction, London 2010, ISBN 978 1 873201 22 0, US $ 45.-. In Suriname, the book is for sale at Readytex Art Gallery.
TEXT Rob Perrée works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-)American art, African art and art that incorporates new media. His work has appeared in numerous catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of the Dutch art magazine Kunstbeeld. He is currently working on a contribution for the book about Marcel Pinas which is to be published in June of this year.
This blog post was made possible by Readytex Art Gallery, Paramaribo Suriname.
More reviews about this book can be found online:
· On Repeating Islands, February 12 2011
· In Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsd@y, by André Bagoo, December 13 2010
· On Caribbean Crossroads, November 17 2010
· On Black Atlantic Resource Debate, September 27 2010
· An interview with Stanley Greaves by Anne Walmsley in BOMB 86/Winter 2004
· An interesting article by Alim A. Hosein ‘Caribbean art: no easy definitions’ was published on September 8 2002 in Stabroek News
The Fonds voor Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst [Fund for Visual Arts, Design and Construction] (Fonds BKVB) invited Wouter Klein Velderman to partake in a pilot-project at the Tembe Art Studio in Moengo, Suriname. TAS is an interesting residency-project of which the Fund is trying to determine whether it is suitable to have more artists from the Netherlands participate in, in the future. With TAS Marcel Pinas initially wanted to create a place where the children from Moengo could to be guided in their creative development.
TAS has quickly matured and the projects that are initiated here have also grown a great deal. The Marowijne Art Park is the most recent example. For this project the public space of Moengo and its surroundings has been made available for contemporary art. Wouter Klein Velderman decided to construct Mickey Mouse here, done exclusively in wood. In this blog post he shares the story behind his Monument for Transition.
It seems like the country of Suriname is in some sort of transition. Many of daily peculiarities that I run into here have somehow to do with this. But how the country was, and how it will become is quite unclear to me, as a visitor. What I do notice, is that there is hope for progress.
Mickey Mouse, the popular Disney character, counts as a symbol for a certain kind of progress – the progress of Western society. A progress to which I suspect that not every Surinamer is willing to conform. But even so, I choose to put down a Mickey in Moengo. At least in form, because for the most part the details will be done in a unique way by the people from Moengo and children from the surrounding villages. I’m asking inhabitants of Moengo, and the children from the villages, to think along with me about techniques, materials and to add (woodcarving) elements to the sculpture of Mickey. I also get a great deal of daily help from my very gifted assistant, woodcarver and musician Ras2. The children from the surrounding villages Ofia Olo, Dantapu and Ricanau Mofo are currently busy creating woodcarvings that will be added to the jacket of Mickey. Ultimately Mickey’s legs will be carved into two large totem poles with a chainsaw. Thus Mickey Mouse becomes a structure, completely infused with elements referring to the local culture; a customized symbol for progress. The result: Monument for Transition.
TEXT Wouter Klein Velderman (Deventer, 1979) is a visual artist who lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 2006 artist and art advisor Gijs Frieling had the following to say about him: “The sculptures and installations by Wouter Klein Velderman have the intuitive straightforwardness that for me reveals the true artist at work. He talks about his work in terms of what it is and how he is going to make it, never about what it should communicate.” Klein Velderman has a website and a blog.
Woodcarver David Linga explains what he did and why he did it. / MOVIE Wouter Klein Velderman, 2011
The Tembe Art Studio project in Moengo, Marowijne district, Suriname, is an initiative of visual artist Marcel Pinas, who wants to share his experience and knowledge with the Surinamese community. In this way Pinas wants to motivate and stimulate especially the youth, to develop their talents.
One of the pillars of this project is the Artist in Residence-program which is discussed on the Sranan Art-blog in the contributions from Charl Landvreugd and Wouter Klein Velderman. Today Charl Landvreugd shares his “amazing experience” with you.
When Marcel Pinas spoke to me about the Tembe Art Studio project two years ago he was so exited that his enthusiasm jumped out to me. As I came to understand it, the idea was to engage national and international interest for the area and it’s inhabitants through dialogue with the Caribbean and the rest of the world. The vehicle through which all of this was to happen was an Artist in Residence program in the mining city of Moengo. Aside from the experiences the artists would bring back home, the dialogue involved getting together with the children in the surrounding villages in a creative exchange. This exchange is mutably beneficial because knowledge is being shared on a variety of levels. Part of his plans was to create an art park in the Marowijne District in Surinam where Moengo is located. The invitation to be part of that great project was too good to miss. So two years later, there I was, ready to be a part of Marcel’s vision.
The Kibii Foundation, which is the overarching body that oversees the Tembe Art residency, acquired a two story house in the center of Moengo. It is here where there is space for seven artists to live together and work. During my time there (January-February, 2011) we were the first batch of four artists to actually live in the house. Particularly the balcony, with view on the primary school opposite the house, became the sanctuary after a hot day in the sun.
I usually started working around 08:00am. This is not because I am such an early bird, but by 2:30pm it really is too hot to do anything. You only find out about this after trying to work through the heat once or twice, at least when you work outside. In my case the idea of ‘studio’ moved from an enclosed space to the vastness of the Moengo landscape. On rainy and stormy days this meant having compulsory breaks due to heavy rainfall. The good thing about that was that those days were cool enough to work until 05:00pm. Another thing is that coming from the West, trying to materialize something in a country like Suriname is a whole different ball game. The idea that any thing you want may be ordered online, or the thought that the hardware store actually has everything you need must be abandoned straight away. In Suriname, all depends on knowing who you know to get what you need. Any preconceived idea of what to make will crack under the newness of the situation. Not only is the environment totally different, but you are forced to rethink your attitudes in relation to the pace, space and the people.
Initially the intention was to make a large ceramic sculpture to be placed in the public space. However, this proved to be unfeasible in the amount of time that was available unless I made it in Paramaribo. The form of the intended piece stayed intact, but the execution needed to be altered in such a way that physical and mental attachment to and involvement with Moengo was maximized. The idea came up to make it out of aluminum. Seeing that Moengo is the bauxite city that provided the raw material for aluminum since the beginning of last century, this idea did not seem bad at all. Having felt the sweeping view of the surroundings there was no other choice but to go much larger then I am accustomed to. I shall spare you the details of the intensity concerning the physical and mental exertion involved. But to give you an idea, after finishing the sculpture it took my hands a week to stop hurting.
While making the sculpture there was time to visit Offia Ollo, Ricanau Mofo and Dantapu to work with the kids between 3 and 14 years old. The deal is that on a set day in the week one of us goes to the village and gives an art class. So every week they meet a different person with different interests. Due to this construction the kid’s idea of what art is, or could be, expands and they get to meet people from all over the world. In my class we picked a leaf, made a drawing of it, colored it (including other colors than green) and then I sewed the whole thing together making a wind sculpture. The whole class only lasted an hour but encouraged the kids to have a closer look at the leaves and colors and show that a drawing could become something else.
Besides that we had the opportunity to give a presentation at the local high schools. Through these presentations the local teenagers got to know that we are in town and gave them a look behind the realization of the objects that are placed in their environment.
All in all, being part of this program has been an amazing experience that I would not have wanted to miss. I think that with this program, Tembe Art Studio is one step closer to putting Moengo, Marowijne and Suriname on the regional and international art map. I am happy to have been invited to be part of this great becoming.
TEXT Charl Landvreugd is a visual artist of Surinamese descent, who grew up in the Netherlands and who presently lives in New York. In 2009 he participated in the Wakaman drawing lines – connecting dots project. Charl used a blog to share his residency in Moengo. And of course there is his website for additional information.
Recently the Tembe Art Studio in Moengo celebrated its first birthday. The project is an initiative of visual artist Marcel Pinas, who wants to share his experience and knowledge with the Surinamese community, starting in Moengo, in his birth district Marowijne. In this way Pinas wants to motivate and stimulate especially the youth, to develop their talents.
The TAS-project has a very broad set up and contains among other things art-, dance- and music lessons in the Tembe Art Studio. A lot of work was done in 2010 to complete the Afaka Guesthouse, restaurant Masanga and a training facility at Ofia Olo. Furthermore there were also national en international art- and educational exchange programs amongst which a photography project with Maartje Jaquet from the Netherlands.
The Artist in Residence-program which is discussed on this blog in the contributions from Charl Landvreugd and Wouter Klein Velderman, is a key segment of the TAS-project. This project has been developed to be much more than a fun and informative period for the artist in residence. There is close and intense contact with the children and adults on site, and an art installation is created and left behind in Moengo. It is the intention that a real bond is forged. From the TAS-press release: “The TAS stands for ultimate creation: the creation of works of art in totally different surroundings and circumstances, but also to learn more about oneself, how to deal with situations and how to react to them.”
The first Surinamese Artist in Residence (AiR) was visual artist Jhunry Udenhout. The firts artist from abroad was Pieter Kemink, ceramics-instructor from Amsterdam. The first group to actually reside in the AiR-accommodation were Jakup Ferri and Wouter Klein Velderman from the Netherlands, Sheena Rose from Barbados and Charl Landvreugd from New York, USA. On the Sranan Art-blog we will include regular reports in word as well as image on the Artists in Residence.
TEXT Marieke Visser
TRANSLATION (to English) Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
Members of the Association for Visual Artists in Suriname (Associatie van Beeldende Kunstenaars in Suriname), ABKS, will be presenting a new show Crossroads of Life in De Hal from April 15 thru 16, 2011. The opening night is on April 14, from 19:00 to 21:00 hours. Participating artists: Anand Binda, Ardi Setropawiro, Dani Djojoatmo, Jhunry Udenhout, Kim Sontosoemarto, Leo Wong Loi Sing, Pierre Bong A Jan, Ron Flu, Soeki Irodikromo and Sri Irodikromo.
Visit the Sranan Art Flickr account to see some pictures.
Opening hours: 09:00 to 12:00 and 18:00 to 21:00 hours
Venue: De Hal, Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo, Suriname