Looking Back – Martha Tjoe Ny’s Colorful Art in Rural Saramacca

Out of all places one could choose to exhibit, artist Martha Tjoe Ny on Sunday July 10th, 2011, chose Plantation Misgunst in District Saramacca, Suriname. But the hour-and-a-half drive westward from Paramaribo didn’t deter her invitees.  “Almost 50 people came. The Director of Culture, Mr. Stanley Sidoel spoke and so did the District Commissioner of Saramacca. Children recited poems and so did I,” Tjoe Ny said. After the opening, patrons could bid for the artwork on display.

Martha Tjoe Ny / PHOTO Wim Verboven, 2011


Tjoe Ny has produced works of art since the eighties. “I make acrylic and silk screen paintings and I also write poetry,” she said. The one-day expo on her family’s land at Plantation Misgunst is the first time she holds a solo-exhibition. “Looking at the work, I am surprised myself of how colorful my work is,” she laughed.

She explained that she took her patrons all the way to Saramacca, because she enjoys being there herself. “My father lives here. It’s a great place to be,” she said about the large parcel of land on which coconut and other fruit trees grow. The paintings brightened up the terrace of her family’s house that’s perched atop the spacious green grass yard. Art in rural Saramacca turned out a great idea, it seemed.

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Tjoe Ny welcomed her guests clad in a beautiful white and pink koto. She was happy with how her one-day exhibition “Na Mi M.I.T.”  (It’s me, Martha I. Tjoe Ny) went. Apparently there have already been requests to extend the event with a few days, and bring some life to the quiet, laid back neighborhood; but the artists was looking beyond that, already thinking of probably inviting other artists to join in next year. “I see growth potential.”

TEXT Marvin A. Hokstam, previously published on the website of DevSur, on  this page.

PHOTOS Ruth San A Jong & Wim Verboven


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