In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed a new, informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This time the art work ‘Hebi’, mixed media on canvas, 157 cm wide x 152 cm high, 2013, by Sri Irodikromo.
The head of a woman. In profile. From very close up. Of indefinable age. It is impossible to tell what is going on in her head. She does not appear to be looking at anything. Her look seems to be somewhere in between despondent and sad. She has been painted in loose strokes. Detailed, but the paint seems to hardly touch the canvas. That ‘careful’ way of painting lends a high degree vulnerability to the portrait.
White, yellow, orange and red are the main colors. The woman is traditionally clothed. Surrounding her head, underneath the paint, several symbols are visible. Decorations that refer to the maroon culture. They seem to swirl. The red paint stains on her face have a dramatizing effect. Right above her lips is a line of stitching. Does the work really consist of two sewn together pieces, or is it a matter of suggestion? In either case it serves to underline the vulnerability of the whole.
Sri Irodikromo is born in Schiedam in 1972. Her artistic education however, begins at the Nola Hatterman Institute in Suriname. She now lives and works in Suriname as well, following a period of several years when she studied at the ‘Vrije Kunst Academie’ in The Hague. Her work can be viewed as symbolic for the country. She repeatedly incorporates signs and symbols from every ethnic group in the country. As though she wants to prove that a multi-cultural population can also form a unity. Even though the backgrounds and the cultures are different, in day to day life they do come together.
That unifying factor is also translated by Sri in the way she works. She combines (sometimes in one work) various techniques: she does batik, she paints, she draws, she sews, she stencils. She is equally generous in her choice of size. This work – ‘Hebi’ from 2013 – measures 157 x 152 cm. The batik work ‘Ingiwinti’ that Sri contributed to Paramaribo SPAN in 2010, was monumental in size. It hung many meters down.
Women are usually the subject of her work. Though multi-cultural Suriname may live together harmoniously, it is often women who determine how that cohabitation is actually arranged in practice. They are the dominant factor. The same applies to the work of Sri Irodikromo.
TEXT Rob Perrée, New York, April 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to take a closer, personal look at this work? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Sri Irodikromo please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/sri/.
A blog post was written about this work of art by Sri, for the Paramaribo SPAN-blog.
More work by Sri Irodikromo:
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on April 23, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on April 23, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.