The story of a 17-year-old boy: Kishan Graanoogst – Giving a little bit of himself to the world

The fascination for this young artist began at Kishan Graanoogst’s (Paramaribo, July 19 2002) first solo exhibition in August 2019: Mind Pictures. An exhibition of his drawings inspired by fiction, dreams and classical artists. His inspiration goes beyond that however, and is also rooted in the fields of physics, chemistry and biology. Still he chose to complete his schooling in Suriname at the havo instead of the vwo, since drawing is his main passion and the specific subject matter of mathematics and physics did not appeal to him. In and of themselves these subjects do interest him, but for someone with a free mind like Kishan, drawing offers a lot more freedom. The name Mind Pictures is simple and intriguing at the same time; an introduction to a local artist who is driven by his rich imagination and his love for nature.

Horses of darkness and light
Kishan Graanoogst, Horses of darkness and light. One is filled with gloom in broad daylight while the other is filled with joy during darkness. And so the white horse gives courage in times of desperation. Paper format 60x40cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist

Kishan works primarily with pen and pencil, and for this exhibition he experimented with coloured pencils. Paint doesn’t adequately enable Kishan to express his imagination as well as he is able to do with his drawings. There the emotions are clearly visible. The fine details and the strong compositions are hard to create with paint. Kishan still calls himself versatile and is fully committed in everything that he does: Kishan is his work and vice versa. He also works with clay and he writes fictional stories as well. The urge to sculpt is spurred by the moment. The moment to work with clay nów. When it comes to choosing between all of his interests, the choice is quickly made, even though it did seem difficult for Kishan to answer that question during our interview. Kishan’s choices are drawing and writing stories. These two complement each other well. They go together so well, that I also became fully absorbed by one specific drawing hanging among the many others on the wall in Kishan’s parental home. From all the paintings on the walls I read emotions and a conflict between the darker and the lighter hues. As if that were not enough, his drawings come to life, just like in a movie I once saw in TBL Cinemas. It’s surreal; images that seem to be alive just as if they really exist, which – according to physics – is impossible, explains the young artist. Indeed, the work does invoke an abstraction, and a focus to see more than that which has been drawn. While he does not incorporate Suriname his drawings, aspects of Surinamese nature are present in the drawing that so strongly appealed to me.

Kishan Graanoogst / PHOTO Courtesy artist

Kishan lives in Lake Village, close to a lake that was created approximately 30 years ago by sand and shell excavations. In the mornings he often goes to the lake, where there is a floating island of roots and ferns. Because it is peaceful and cool, Kishan lays there dreaming and creates his own world.  A world in which he is a ‘water creature’, surrounded by various plants, where everything is interconnected including even the smallest molecules that make up all matter and on which the cosmos has influence. This image has been conjured up and etched in his mind so often and so strongly, that it finds its way back on his paper. Not just dreams and thoughts, but emotions and inner conflicts also find their way into Kishan’s drawings.

Kishan Graanoogst, The trees on earth, our mothers. We have been ungrateful towards the trees. Instead of treasuring them we destroy them. The trees have blessed us with fruits, oxygen and shelter. So a mother can feed her child. Paper format 45x55cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist

To be so gifted and to be able to develop yourself; this is only possible with the support of your loved ones. Kishan’s parents, Lloyd and Wilma Graanoogst, have stood by him from the moment they discovered his talent. They are very basic, down to earth, patient, and friendly people. They were present during the entire interview, filled in once every now and then, but never interrupted him. Kishan is his own person. His father was heavily involved in his son’s art development. When Kishan was five and in kindergarten, he noticed that his son played with Legos very differently than the other kids did. The self-made creations, which were not based on anything he’d seen, the precision, the strife for perfection and the creativity that they involved… What Kishan needed was good training with some general education.  That is how he ended up at the Nola Hatterman Art Academy. Afterwards he started taking lessons from Stanny Handigman and later he also received lessons from Anand Binda.

Kishan Graanoogst, Frost blossom. In the cold and bitter beauty blooms. Paper format 45x60cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist

Parents often want children to follow in their footsteps, or to choose an education/or job that offers security. With the productivity, the drive and the uniqueness that Kishan shows in his drawings, his father is secure in the belief that all will turn out well for his son.  A certain level of parental support remains necessary, because initially Kishan was interested in architecture, in which he thought that he would have been able to express his talent well. But rather quickly he realized that that would add extra years to his studies, during which his love for drawing would become compromised.

Kishan Graanoogst, Dance of water nymphs. Paper format 60x45cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist

Kishan is currently enrolled in his final year at the havo scholengemeenschap Kwatta and will, upon graduation, continue his art education at the Willem de Koning Kunstacademie in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He has already plotted out his entire art career and will follow up accordingly. Kishan is no copycat, is not pressured by his peers, has always sought out like-minded people, and always stood his own amongst his peers. He turned the harassment that he experienced into therapy. You can see that in his stories and in his drawings. According to his father, Kishan freely expresses whatever is in his heart.

Kishan Graanoogst, Avatar descending from the sky. Once in every while greatness descends upon us to bring enlightenment. Paper format A1 / PHOTO Courtesy artist

The exhibition Mind Pictures was set up after Anand Binda convinced him to do so. It required quite a lot of preparation however. From looking for the right frames, to installing the exhibition and the lighting. Thanks to the help of friends, acquaintances and family, there was a three-day exhibition in August of 2019 that included 37 drawings and one sculpture, and which was visited by about 100 guests. During the exhibition Kishan sold four of his drawings.▪SAX 11 logo

Kishan Graanoogst, Loneliness. Loneliness is like being pinned down, helpless in a pit as it almost seems like crows peck away your bliss till there is none. Paper format 60x40cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist
Kishan Graanoogst, Ascoldrien. The symbol of all. Peace, balance and chaos. Paper format 60x50cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist
Kishan Graanoogst, Horoscope. Paper format 45x60cm / PHOTO Courtesy artist

For information about the works shown, send an email to Sranan Art Xposed at We will then bring you into contact with the artist.


Kishan Graanoogst also participated in the group exhibition Kala ka Anubhava, in the Lalla Rookh building in 2016. (Suriname Nieuws, 07 augustus 2016)

At the time of his solo exhibition Mind Pictures, in 2019, two articles appeared in de Ware Tijd. (de Ware Tijd, 18 augustus 2019 & de Ware Tijd, 22 augustus 2019)


TEXT Xaviera L. Arnhem

PHOTOS Courtesy artist

Xaviera L. Arnhem is a versatile woman with a passion for journalism. She creates fun and creative productions on multimedia platforms. In 2017 she was the first video journalist to graduate from the AHKCO.

Fun fact: de pronunciation of her name is Shèvera. There is an interesting story behind it, because the name is a creation of her mother. In order to ‘include’ her biological father Xaviera added the L. to her name.

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