Tuesday, March 25, many people in Suriname, especially in the field of art & culture, were shocked to hear of the sudden and unexpected death of Thea Valk. A mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, owner of Falcon Advertising, cultural icon, painter, Rotarian: a very multifaceted and colorful woman.
It was at the end of January 2010. There was a big art event coming up: Paramaribo SPAN. On the occasion of its 145th anniversary, De Surinaamsche Bank N.V. offered its former directors residence, situated in the backyard of its head office in Paramaribo, Suriname, as a platform for 29 artists from Suriname and from the Netherlands, from February 27th to March 14th. It would turn out to be a horizon broadening experience!
This was such an unprecedented large-scale event that in order to make it succeed, many people would have to work together. And that’s when I worked with Thea Valk closely and witnessed firsthand what a wonderful and truly unique person she was.
She always wore bright colors, fashionable clothes, and those heels … High as high heels gets! But what I found out was that she was there too, behind the scenes, in the middle of the night – or early morning, when people were busy working very hard to get the job done. She would be there, with a kind word, a helping hand, a hearty laugh!
When I think back, I can’t remember her complaining about anything, or anyone. Probably she did complain, but not ever in the open. She was very hands on, very positive, lifting the atmosphere. If there was something which was not to her liking she would be very decisive and pragmatic. The result was truly amazing.
Also, she could share. When we were preparing a guest list for this event and I suggested that we would combine our address lists, she didn’t hesitate even one second. That seems such a simple gesture, but that was an unprecedented gesture too. To me it showed that she had that magic trait, to make more than the sum of separate parts.
The photographs were taken during our preparation visit of the Paramaribo SPAN site. I think back and smile when I think of Thea. You will be missed girl!
TEXT Marieke Visser, March 2014