From the 20th until the 24th of December, 2012, Miguel Keerveld had a solo exhibition in De Hal at de Grote Combéweg, Paramaribo, Suriname. His exhibition was called SHEMACHO – I CHALLENGE I. SAX-contributor Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld had a look.
Upon entering the venue it was immediately quite clear. Miguel, also known as ‘EdKe’, went to work in a different way. Hanging by the entrance were masks painted on cardboard and standing upright was a black casket. In it, a small TV monitor on which a film about the artist was playing and on which visitors could place their signatures or comments, thus serving as a creative, albeit surprising and unconventional alternative to the customary guest book. In the spacious exhibition hall the atmosphere is also different. The work is for a large part abstract and much darker than usual, mood enhancing music is playing softly in the background, the lighting has been adjusted, and a black bed frame hangs suspended from the ceiling in the left back corner. Beneath it, the silhouette of a man is drawn on the floor. It is surrounded by ashes and at one end a small tomb-like structure has been constructed. There is no denying it; the artist’s obvious preoccupation with the subject of death is subtly permeating the space. The effect is slightly morbid yet at the same time enticing and fascinating. One of the many contradictions the exhibition poses.
On the walls there are texts such as: “Our visions are strong and weak since we are in struggle and in believe”. Under it, the artist places his artist name ‘EdKe’ as well as the name of his alter ego ‘ΣzinomraH’.
This saying basically says it all, and the booklet presented at the exhibition reinforces this as well: Miguel Keerveld is deeply philosophizing. About life, about contradictions, about the two sides to everything, in struggle, in harmony, … Good and bad, all around him and within him … I could indeed sense a type of struggle in some of the works, but then again I tasted victory in others through the symbolism of the phoenix he chose to incorporate within. Because the artist is (consciously) absent at the opening of his exhibition, the viewers are in fact left to their own devices when it comes to interpreting this new work. Well, maybe not completely … In the small entry hall there is already a copy on display of the small booklet in which several of the philosophical ‘brainwaves’ of the artist are recorded next to photographs of his work. But just like the work itself, the texts it contains are deeply mysterious, and I at least prefer to look for interpretation in the images themselves.
In a unique move, in a large part inspired by the SURE Suriname exhibition in De Hal a few weeks before, Keerveld involves a number of fellow artists in the creation of his exhibition. In the end they each contribute to the exhibition with a cube that they painted in their own styles while at the same time also in keeping with the theme of the exhibition. The intrigue, the story of contradictions is continued in this colorful installation that is formed by their collective display.
On Sunday the 23rd of December Keerveld was present at the exhibition for a special meet the artist event in which he did share the motivation behind his new works of art with his public. I was not present on that occasion, but if truth be told, it matters not… For I don’t mind to once in awhile be puzzled, to be challenged, to see what I want to see, left to my own interpretation and my imagination, triggered by the visual intricacies of the artist’s creative expressions. SHEMACHO was to me a mysterious, very interesting exhibition which in fact did to me, exactly the same thing the artist was apparently doing throughout it all. On the opening night as I stood there taking it all in, I couldn’t help but philosophize, analyze …. Ahh EdKe, as a matter of fact I still haven’t figured it all out….., but fascinate me, it sure did!
Some more photo impressions of the exhibition:
TEXT Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld is a freelance writer. Aside from her work for Sranan Art Xposed, she writes primarily for the Readytex Art Gallery http://www.readytexartgallery.com in Paramaribo, Suriname. She writes press releases, website texts and takes care of the publicity materials surrounding the exhibitions and other activities of the gallery.
PHOTOS Ada Korbee, 2012