In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an 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 week he talks about ‘Afaka Libi III’, mixed media on canvas, 145 cm wide x 86 cm high, 2011, by Marcel Pinas.
It is well known that with his art, Marcel Pinas (1971) tries to revive the culture of his birth district Marowijne. The war in the interior has harshly and relentlessly undermined that culture. “There is nothing left of the place where I grew up.”
He does this in several ways. By giving youngsters in Moengo and surroundings the opportunity to develop their talents and creative ideas in different ways and in various forms. And by making art works that conjure up memories of the rich Maroon culture, and by exhibiting them internationally.
This work from 2011 is a good example thereof.
At first sight it is a colorful collection of characters, painted on the canvas in a loose style and in seemingly random fashion. That the whole presents a powerful image, is because Pinas has forged the loose elements of the work into a lively whole through an effective use of color and surface. Moreover, due to the play of contrasts, the colors look wonderfully enticing. They know how to lure the viewer in quite aptly. The large dimensions of the painting strengthen that experience.
But Pinas digs deeper. The characters are letters from the Afaka, a syllable script that was made in 1910 for the Ndyuka language, by Afáka Atumisi. The colors refer to the colorful decorations of the Maroons as seen in for example the traditional cloths and in the adornments on houses, boats, utensils, etc. The colors also represent happy, joyful, and uncomplicated childhood memories.
Marcel Pinas could possibly be called a romantic. He goes back to the past, hoping to thus improve the present. You could pass this off as ‘casual’. A dreamer with a can of paint and a brush. That is not what he is. He is trying to make his dream come true by actually intervening in the daily lives of the Maroons by offering them real facilities – the Tembe Art Studio, a museum (CAMM), a store. And by making strategic use of other influential opportunities such as organizing festivals that attract the attention of all Surinamese and by accepting the Directors position of the Nola Hatterman Art Academy, so that that institution can regain prestige and status.
A romantic, sure, but one with influence, persuasion and a sense of reality.
Want to see this and other work of Marcel Pinas ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Marcel Pinas please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/marcelpinas.
Also in the Readytex Art Gallery shop:
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on November 5, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on November 5, 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.