Coming up – ‘Goudkoorts’ [Gold rush]

What: Goudkoorts [Gold rush], a solo exhibition by Rinaldo Klas

When: July 3, 2012, Opening night starting 19:30 hrs and July 4-July 8, 2012, open: 19:00-21:00 hrs

Where: De Hal, Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo, Suriname

Invitation

On Tuesday the 3rd of July, Readytex Art Gallery opens a new and fascinating art exhibition in De Hal. The focus for this exhibition will be on the most recent works of art from well known visual artist Rinaldo Klas. The title of his exhibition is ‘Goudkoorts’, meaning Gold rush or when literally translated Gold fever. Either way, gold is a current theme in present-day Surinamese society which, despite its allure and economic potential, also has a more negative side to it. Because although the gold sector in Suriname is flourishing –a development which Rinaldo Klas does not disapprove of- the economic growth as a result of this industry, does regrettably have some dire consequences  for nature and the environment. Rinaldo Klas, who as a person and as an artist is always involved with issues regarding nature,  is deeply concerned about the negative effects of this highly infectious ‘Gold fever’, for the rainforests of Suriname and its inhabitants. In his exhibition the artist uses striking yet subtle imagery to share his concerns and his message with the public.

‘Goudkoorts 1’ / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/Ada Korbee, 2012

What immediately catches the eye in the paintings, are the striking contrasts in the landscape which are representative of that which Klas actually witnessed during his visits to the goldmines. For his research he goes on excursions to the gold concessions of Nana Resources in the southeast of Suriname and to that of multinational IAMGOLD in the Brokopondo region. Along the way he also comes across the mining sites of small ‘porknokkers’. Although Klas is truly impressed by the professionalism and the more responsible methods employed by the large gold mining companies, it is quite evident in his artwork that the extensive cleared areas, devoid of any vegetation, make a much larger impression on the artist. But Rinaldo is even more concerned about the irresponsible methods used by independent ‘porknokkers’, who seem to be unaware of the amount of damage they are doing to their surroundings, to others and to themselves. Driven by the urge to immediately document his first impressions, Rinaldo Klas uses the wet orange-red soil all around him to create a number of preliminary sketches on paper.

‘Goudkoorts 3’ / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/Ada Korbee, 2012

With deceptively simple compositions in strong colors and contrasts, he makes a potent statement with the larger paintings of the collection. “It is not my intention to paint a realistic or negative picture for my public, but instead I use imagery that will draw in the public and that will inspire thought.” The collection consists of more than 30 paintings, large and small, in acrylics on canvas. His color palette is inspired by observations made in the gold mines. The orange-red of the excavated  bauxite soil, the uninterrupted view of the clear blue sky which was previously hardly discernible through the dense foliage of the forest, the bright yellow color of the alluring gold, but also of the sun, still shining down on man’s work with warmth and hope. And then there is the contrast, mostly in the background, or in small detail, of the green of the continuously receding forest. Realistically painted men, with sober facial expressions, set the tone in a number of paintings. Working in the gold sector is hard, and the toll on man and the environment is not to be underestimated.

But also the more typical ‘Klas’ profiles and Surinamese animals are trying to find their place in the collection against the background of their drastically changing habitats in nature. Thus the artist stimulates the awareness of his public. In his own creative way, Rinaldo Klas uses his exhibition ‘Goudkoorts’ to contribute to the discussion on this complex and comprehensive theme.

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