On the move

Surinamese visual art is on the move. There is so much going on and exhibitions, presentations and events follow each other up at rapid speed. From the time when art was looked upon as a collection of traditional two-dimensional paintings, we have suddenly entered an era in which surprising installations, interdisciplinary projects and art in public spaces are no longer foreign concepts.

For many, the last grand and comprehensive Surinamese art event was the exhibition (including publication) Twenty years of visual art in Suriname 1975-1995. Subsequently, a reproduction of this book by Chandra van Binnendijk en Paul Faber appeared Beeldende kunst in Suriname. De twintigste eeuw / Visual art in Suriname. The Twentieth Century in which a number of new developments were included such as the possibility for young Surinamese artists to continue their art studies in Jamaica at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts.

A definite highlight of the past years was the initiative taken by De Surinaamsche Bank to exhibit her collection and subsequently create a lasting record of it in a beautiful publication: Zichtbaar (Visible), in 2005. Several years later the Central Bank of Suriname followed with their exhibition and publication Talent, in 2007.

Another development is the increase in exchange projects and collaborative initiatives through which many more artists get the opportunity to gain experiences abroad. Vermont Studio Center, the Rietveld Academie, the CBK (Centre for Visual Art in Rotterdam) which is the motor behind the ArtRoPa-project, the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam: all institutes with which regular contact currently exists. The Edna Manley College in Jamaica as well, is still an institute where artists from our country prefer to continue their art education.

This year started with the presentation of the oneminutes, the exhibition Wakaman drawing lines – connecting dots in Fort Zeelandia, a solo-exhibition from Wilgo Vijfhoven in Readytex Art Gallery, a solo-exhibition from sculptor Roy Brielle in Royal House of Art, the opening of the Volksacademie voor Kunst & Cultuur (Folk academy for Art & Culture), the appointment of Ron Flu as honorary member of the FVAS (Federation for Visual Artists in Suriname) … It is simply too much to sum up. There was also the opening of Fernandes Klip at which for the first time a clear connection was made between art and living. (Although last year the Best Western Elegance Hotel also manifested their conviction that art and hospitality are a synergetic combination). There is even a fabulous mural by John Djojo in Burgerking (Djojo was part of the Waka Tjopu-collective in the 80’s and last year he constructed a statue in commemoration of the Javanese immigration at Mariënburg).

Mural in Burger King, Parmaribo, by John Djojo
Mural in Burger King, Parmaribo, by John Djojo

The SAB has placed a quite spectacular leaded glass window by Jules Brand-Flu on the street side of her company building.

Leaded glass by Jules Brand-Flu
Leaded glass by Jules Brand-Flu

The press also devotes more and more attention to Surinamese art: especially the daily newspaper de Ware Tijd makes an important contribution with local (Meredith Helstone) and international (Stuart Rahan) reports. Furthermore, Carla Tuinfort has an interesting feature on art and culture which is broadcast on Radio 10 (FM 88.1) every two weeks on Thursday afternoons at 15:30. The number of exhibitions by Surinamese artists in the Netherlands is increasing significantly.

This trend is steadily continued. De Taal van mijn Penseel (The language of my brush), the solo-exhibition of Rinaldo Klas drew so much visitors that the Readytex-building was practically bursting at the seams. The same was true for the exhibition (ánd film presentation, ánd book presentation!) of Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, The strength of women, in the brand-new VAT-building. Barely completed and already the building seemed too small, so large was the attendance! In cooperation with Royal House of Art, Royal Torarica presented a group exhibition named Royal Art Experience, and a solo-exhibition by artist Robbert Enfield The Time. And week after week all throughout the next couple of month’s things will get even more interesting for art lovers. Kenneth Flijders will have a solo-exhibition in the Readytex Art Gallery, Kurt Nahar will show the work created during his stay at the Rijksacademie, from George Struikelblok we will get to see something as well…

And now, now there is Sranan Art Xposed, twice a year your guide in “art land” in United Magazine and four times a year delivered digitally to your inbox if you sign up at srananart@gmail.com. Get on board, get on board…

Text: Marieke Visser

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