by Rose-Marie Maître
With a bit of help from others, a little push, or just some good advice, an individual can break through or get out of a difficult situation.
Whatever the case may be, when we help each other, we can achieve more than we can on our own. And because of that ‘a little thank you’ is always appropriate. The artist Dhiradj Ramsamoedj knows that very well. On Thursday June 6th, he opened his solo exhibition titled Little Thank You in Readytex Art Gallery (RAG) at the Steenbakkerijstraat 30, Paramaribo, Suriname. He has been an artist for 15 years now. He carried out the opening of his exhibition with a special gesture. He first gave hostess Monique NouhChaia SookdewSing a flower accompanied by the words “jij bent mooi” [you are beautiful], which she, after thanking him, passed on to the next person in the same fashion. This repeated itself until the flower came back to Ramsamoedj. He was delighted with the spontaneous participation of all of the guests!
His exhibition showcases a variety of works, which can be divided in three categories. Sculptures on pedestals, fully painted books, and works on the wall. What the sculptures on pedestals and the painted books have in common, is that both are made with books, perhaps from the artist’s own collection? The sculptures are named for the titles of specific books included in the work. Ramsamoedj turned the books into objects, or simply a stack of titles with on top of it, a figure made from metal chips.
The painted books have been painted from cover to cover; each page contains an artwork. The paintings are mostly abstract and tell stories on the pages all over again, but now from Ramsamoedj’s point of view. Sieta Raghoenath from Readytex Art Gallery assisted the visitors by turning the pages of these fragile works of art.
VIDEO Michael Hermelijn, 2019
The works on the wall are made from textile, thread, wood glue, wire and canvas. The central theme of these constructions is ‘the editor’, who is depicted as a figure made from pangi-textile or, depending on the subject, portrayed on canvas. What is striking is that ‘the editor’ is not just an object added to the works, but in some of the pieces it is also the subject.
That the artist is socially engaged, can be seen in the interaction between his subjects on canvas and also in the scribbled thoughts in one of his books with newspaper clippings of articles about immigration, incest, poverty, and other social issues.
Very different is the pastel yellow painting, divided into square sections, with in each section a self-portrait of the artist from a specific period, starting from his early youth. It is titled ‘The last picture adjie saw’. This work gets the viewers thinking. At the same time, it makes you curious about what the artist means with it. And the artist, he would actually really like to know how the viewer interprets the work.
The exhibition is open until Saturday June 27th 2019. Opening hours: Monday thru Friday, 08:00-16:30 hrs. and on Saturdays, 08:30-13:30 hrs. Also open in the evenings on Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th of June from 19:00-2100 hrs.
TEXT Rose-Marie Maître
Rose-Marie Maître is a freelance writer and likes to visit art and culture events. In the past ten years, she has primarily produced news items for television, newspapers, websites and also radio. She also writes poems and now also creative texts for Sranan Art Exposed.
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
PHOTOGRAPHY Ada Korbee ©Readytex Art Gallery, unless stated otherwise