What: Thursday-Night-Feature, presentation by René Tosari about his fascination with syuru, also known as sorrel
When: Thursday January 05, 2017, 19:00 hrs (doors open 19:00 hrs, start presentation 19:30 hrs)
Where: Readytex Art Gallery, Steenbakkerijstraat 30, Paramaribo, Suriname
René Tosari, ‘The Beauty’, mixed media on canvas, 120x100cm, 2016
At Readytex Art Gallery the new year brings with it new possibilities and new challenges, and of course also a new series of Thursday-Night-Features to look forward to! Eager to kick things off for us in 2017 is Surinamese visual artist René Tosari. On January 5th, the first Thursday of the year, Tosari presents a new collection of artworks inspired by an interesting, somewhat unexpected theme. His new artwork has everything to do with a specific plant that the artist is currently fascinated with: sjoeroe or sorrel as the plant is called in the Caribbean.
Over a year ago René Tosari became interested in the fruit of the sorrel plant through a friend who is originally from Trinidad, David Michael. When the artist discovers that it is a very sturdy plant that multiplies easily and rapidly, and from which delicious and healthy tea or juice can be made, ideas start brewing in his artistic brain. David’s stories about the use of sorrel in traditional Caribbean culture as well as Tosari’s own childhood memories about the use of sorrel in Suriname strengthen his interest. The engagement shown in the earlier work of Tosari, especially in the 80’s with regards to socio-political and also agricultural subjects, seems to resurface as a result of his interest in sorrel.
The artist currently has plenty of sorrel plants growing in his garden and his home is always well stocked with sorrel tea. He eagerly hands out plants and fruit and his fascination with the plant has inevitably grown into a new art project. He has entered into a new phase in his art. In some of his new works the inspiration can be read from the canvas literally, but there are also a number of interesting abstract pieces in which the link with sorrel is not so obviously present.
Why and how Tosari became so interested in sorrel and how it has influenced his art, will be explained by the artist at the TNF on Thursday January 5th. He will be assisted in his presentation by David Michael who will briefly talk about the history and the use of sorrel in the Caribbean.
Eline Visser is in her first year of DIY Textile School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For her modules Contrast & Form, she does research and experiments collage techniques with paper and textile, during her stay in Boxel, Wanica, Suriname in December 2016-January 2017. Here is a Sranan Art Xposed Flickr album with the Project Syuru Sorrel Sjoeroe.
From Wikipedia: “In the Caribbean, sorrel drink is made from sepals of the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). In Mexico, ‘agua de Flor de Jamaica’ (water flavored with roselle) frequently called ‘agua de Jamaica’ is most often homemade. It is prepared by boiling dried sepals and calyces of the sorrel/flower of Jamaica plant in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. It is often served chilled. This is also done in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago where it is called ‘sorrel’. (In Jamaica, it was introduced by Akan slaves in the late 1600s.) The drink is one of several inexpensive beverages (aguas frescas) commonly consumed in Mexico and Central America; they are typically made from fresh fruits, juices or extracts. Something similar is done in Jamaica but flavor is added by brewing the tea with ginger and adding rum, making a popular drink at Christmas time. It is also very popular in Trinidad and Tobago where cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves are preferred to ginger.”