A sneak preview in more than one way … Within two weeks, the new edition of Sranan Art Xposed will be distributed, the digital art magazine about what’s going on in the field of visual art in Suriname. In this fourth edition you’ll find this behind the scenes peek by Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld of the making of Lob’ mi tu tamara. Enjoy!
In the weeks preceding his new solo exhibition I visit George Struikelblok in his studio on several occasions. He has great plans for his exhibition Lob’ mi tu tamara and his work space is a hustle and bustle of activities. The floor is strewn with canvases in various stages, with bottles and buckets filled with paint and supplies. Dispersed throughout the space are the beginnings of numerous spatial works which have me intrigued and curious about the final product. Outside in his garage there are huge 3D-replica’s of the figures in his paintings. And not to forget, the dancers! Every Saturday they come in to rehearse choreography of graceful movements against the backdrop of large paintings.
The art installations you are creating are destined in part for De Hal and in part for public locations. Why is this?
Art in public spaces has always interested me. I have therefore also studied the subject during my two last ‘artist in residence’-periods in The Netherlands and managed to learn a great deal about suitable materials. Suriname has so many beautiful locations that would be ideal for public art installations, but regrettably that capability is greatly underutilized. What we encounter here for the most part, are busts and ‘men on pedestals’, but public art is so much more than that and that is something I would like to show during my exhibition. Art, especially abstract art, can trigger something in people, put them to thinking and stimulate discussions. With art in public spaces you also reach ‘the average man’. That is why part of my work is intended for public places. Sadly enough it is not easy to get this done in Suriname. Requesting and ultimately receiving permission is a long and arduous process, because the government is not sufficiently aware of all that art can mean in a society. Much that I manage to do in this regard (for example my ‘I love Su’ -installation), is done with my own private means. I hope these initiatives can serve as a stimulus to the government, the business community and other artists, so that art in public spaces will have a much stronger presence in Suriname in the future.
‘Lob’ mi tu tamara’, is a continuation of your previous theme ‘Lob’ makandra’. What has inspired this development?
Just like then, the focus in much of my installation art is directed on the fate of children in foster homes. These children who already have to do without so much, First and foremost need, just like everybody else, love and attention. Here I symbolically portray that this need does not only apply to today. We have to keep supporting these children now and into the future. Then there are also parents who leave their children behind in foster homes and subsequently seem to forget about them, while the kids keep yearning for love and attention from their parents. That is sad. With my installations I mostly make reference to the needs and desires of these lonely children.
You also have a special performance planned; what can tell us about that?
I always try to add new elements to my exhibitions. On the opening night as well as the last day of the exhibition dancers (from the Soeki Irodikromo Volksacademie voor Kunst en Cultuur) which I have body painted, will perform a special choreography against a backdrop of large painted canvases. Their movements will lead up to several image stills, at which time man and canvas become one in a three-dimensional painting. The paintings on dancer and canvas flow beautifully into one another. This new experiment is a fascinating challenge for me as well as for the dancers and we hope to present something very special to the public.
George Struikelblok also has his own website.
Text: Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
Lob’ mi tu tamara | Solo-exhibition George Struikelblok
Where: De Hal, Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo
When: March 29-April 03, 2011
Opening hours: 19:00-21:00 hrs
On Thursday March 31st the artist gives an informal and interactive presentation on his work. On Saturday April 2nd there is a festive finissage at which time the dancers will once again perform the presentation of 3D painting.