Exposed – ‘Da mi wan maun’ by Danasion ‘Dona’ Akobe

Readytex Crafts is proud to present the first ever solo exhibition of one of her key contemporary craft artists and expert in the field of maroon woodcarving (Tembe): Danasion Akobe better known as ‘Dona’.

Danasion Akobe, also known as Dona / PHOTO Readytex Crafts/William Tsang, 2011

In De Hal at the Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo, the large collection of Dona, with among other things wooden bowls, panels, benches, chairs, mirrors, boats and oars big and small, will be displayed in an artistic, contemporary way. The product line by Dona is called ‘Malohkoh’. Handcrafted maroon art from Surinamese wood, based upon the culture of the Saramaccan people, and named after the ancestral matriarch who had the courage to escape slavery and map out her own course for the future. Occasionally, and mainly in the painted details, influences from the culture of the Aucan people are also visible. The title Dona chose for his exhibition is Da mi wan maun [da m’wan mauw], give me a hand. This is how during his work, he regularly seeks out the help of friends and family for certain tasks he can impossibly complete all by himself. And either consciously or subconsciously, the title also reflects his wish; his wish that more people from his community, his family and his culture, will choose to join him in the craft of Tembe so that he can ultimately produce much more than he is currently capable of.

A Malohkoh piece, by Dona / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2012
Dona / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2012

Dona, who in the past concentrated mainly on crafting furniture with elaborate antique detailing, entered the craft department of Readytex for the first time in 1994. The ‘Hati dendoe’, a beautifully carved hand mirror which he presented there that day, was the beginning of a new career for the maroon artisan and a solid, creative and productive partnership for all involved. For over 18 years now, Dona is the steady supplier of the extensive ‘Malohkoh’ line at Readytex Crafts. The wooden objects from Dona often have a traditional look, but many also incorporate a modern twist. His woodcarvings, the patterns sometimes clean-lined and abstract, sometimes flowing and intricately curved, are masterful and precise, just like the painted details he adds every now and again. He uses the ‘Tembe’ traditions from his ancestors as point of departure and indeed also studies these traditions meticulously, but Dona aspires to take the skill of woodcarving to new heights. Thus he develops either by himself, sometimes with Readytex and sometimes on commission by others, new products and designs that never cease to fascinate the public. He also assigns a unique name to every piece.

The making of 'Da mi wan maun' / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2012

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Because of his expertise in the field of woodcarving, Dona also contributes to the art projects of several visual artists who require his skills, such as Marcel Pinas and recently also Remy Jungerman. In 2010 for the exhibition SURE Suriname! in The Hague, he crafted a modern line of products which were designed by the makers of the exhibition.

After the opening on March 20, 2012, the exhibition Da mi wan maun is open to the public from Wednesday March 21 thru Sunday March 25, 19:00-21:00 hrs. During a ‘meet the artist’ event on Saturday March 24, Dona will elaborate further on his work.

For more information and/or photographs please contact Readytex Crafts by telephone on ++ (597) 421750 or e-mail at


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