More than ripples – 2 – Miguel E. Keerveld: “I am very grateful”

This text appears as the second installment in the series of blog posts More than ripples. Every month for more than a year you can read about the impact of thirty years of Readytex Art Gallery (RAG). In this episode, Miguel E. Keerveld discusses a very recent project that he carried out together with Readytex Art Gallery, from 2021: ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time. He especially looks at the closing exhibition, which was also the jubilee exhibition for the 30th anniversary of the gallery, ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery. The project ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time is an excellent example of how great the impact of RAG is – and has been. In short: how many ripples RAG has caused.

TEXT Miguel E. Keerveld, Curator-in-Residence for the project ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time in collaboration with Readytex Art Gallery (RAG).

Rinaldo Klas, Our choices determine our inner world, acrylic on canvas, 120×79.3cm, 2017 / PHOTO Courtesy Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)

In December 2022, the project ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time has reached its climax. For this I collaborated with Xavier Robles de Medina as co-curator and Alida Neslo as honorary artist on the experiment Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet. I’m not sure yet whether I want to speak of a depth or a height. Fortunately, I don’t have to find an answer to this yet, because in this article I’m going to address the festive closing of ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time, which coincides with the anniversary of Readytex Art Gallery (RAG).

Bigi yari

On February 8, 2023, Readytex Art Gallery (RAG) turned 30 years old. This bigi yari (crown year) was celebrated with the ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery exhibition curated by Aruna Mungra, Rinaldo Klas, and me. I chose to be involved from a distance and noticed that beautiful things happened. In January 2023, Kurt Nahar kicked off the next phase at RAG with OPO YARI [year opening]: an art manifestation as a step to the next level. But what is that exactly?

In December 2022 we conclude that the time has come for the next phase … A new beginning! Not only at RAG, but especially in Suriname, which has been under the spell of misery for more than too long. Significantly, joy and frustration go hand in hand here. Up close and from a distance we see a roller-coaster ride: up and down, back, and forth. Not only in December 2022 we have experienced this ‘singularity’. It seems almost surreal in Suriname, why especially for me the month of February is dominated by the so typical Surinamese ability, in which frustration and celebration go hand in hand. Thus, truly alakondre-fasi. Also in February 2023, the alakondre climax manifests itself again. How do I feel about this and what do I think about in this regard? First, I relate the February situation to Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet. That’s why I prefer silence. But this particularity and the invisibility behind these manifestations raise more questions for me. Perhaps the current situation wants the opposite: no more silence. Not only do I struggle with a feeling of powerlessness, which means that I can’t give this any place yet, but I’m thrown into emotions beyond frustration… Also, beyond joy and sadness. Then something strikes me: we are involved in a state of thrownness. Man is thrown into a certain environment, according to Martin Heidegger. But man is also ahead of himself in designing his own life, he observes and finds that the sense (or meaning) of ‘being’ is time. For Heidegger, past, present, and future recur on the level of Dasein (being-in-the-world) as “thrownness”, “articulation” and “design” (Gadamer, 2023). I’m quite curious about how this being-in-the-world plays out in our collective consciousness. And above all: what can we do about it ourselves?

Kenneth Flijders, I shall call you Adam, mixed media on hardboard, 55x125cm, 2011 / PHOTO Courtesy Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)

In addition to being one of the curators, Rinaldo Klas is also the honorary artist of the expo in February. He has been an important pillar of RAG from the very beginning. Inspired by a selection from his work, the themes of man/nature, spirituality and abstraction have been established for this event (RAG, 2023). That is why his artistic oeuvre has been used for RAG‘s bigi-yari celebration and his work is the inspiration for the form and content of ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery. Between February 9 and March 4, 2023, visitors have had the opportunity to make a visual journey in art development, along the route man/nature, spirituality, and abstraction. I think those who dared to take a good look at the ecosystem that RAG offers Surinamese art, were able to taste much more. I feel that the intention of ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time, in relation to collective thrownness, takes shape here. According to Heidegger’s model, the question is: What is the meaning of being-in-the-world and how do we gain insight into it?


When I think of the term ecosystem, I think of diversity and coherence, among other things. According to Aruna Mungra, in ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery ecosystem is mainly used for “the interaction and cross-pollination […] of different parties involved” in the whole. This is how Marieke Visser expresses herself at the opening of this expo: “Grateful […] that RAG is here and that we can be part of the alakondre ecosystem that it is now”. This system does not only concern artists, buyers and/or collectors, the public and/or the team that always makes it possible to create space and time for various art manifestations and everything that goes with it. In this ecology also resides the elusive dependence on mysterious stakeholders and the entire Surinamese society because all stakeholders influence our alakondre ecosystem; because all parties interact directly and indirectly, as RAG notes (RAG, 2023).

RAG not only organizes the exhibition to stimulate. The gallery invites us to reflect on the importance of our own art ecology. For director Monique NouhChaia SookdewSing it is good if this system preserves the visual arts in Suriname because artistic criticism, innovation, ethics and pushing boundaries can contribute to sustainability for all. Because as I see it, the ecological whole also forms a home in art. Wikipedia: ecology is the study of the economy of nature. In my experience, this also applies to culture. Ecology mainly looks at systems as part of biology or technology. Interactions between organisms, mechanisms, communities, and the environment are ecosystems according to the Dutch online encyclopia Ensie. RAG shows a diverse picture in its 30-year ecosystem. In her support to the local art environment, she demonstrates her art ecology as artistic interaction of man and everything beyond man. That is why the approach to ecology in ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery is aimed at interaction and cross-pollination that ensures that we can work together, supported by special cultural and natural forces, to make the Surinamese society more sustainable. That is why it is so important to give the climate in Surinamese art the necessary attention, support, and appreciation.

When I think of ecology, I also think of a system that functions based on patterns. The PDCA-cycle is such a pattern. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Act and Check and is a model for operating self-sufficiently because it ensures that a system continuously improves itself. In my work as an assessor of management systems, I always apply this ecological phenomenon. Then the following things play out at all levels. Plan: How do relations with stakeholders determine the networks on which such an organism depends? Do: What are crucial things that function as inputs and outputs within the complexity of that ecology? Check: When should adjustments be made so that the system can continue to exist? Act: Which sustainable actions are needed? In an ideal situation of a well-functioning system, the PDCA cycle runs automatically; both in nature and in culture. Wikipedia states that an ecosystem has the following characteristics:

• Dependent on networks built from various relationships

• Circulation of energy and matter in which output is also input

• A dynamic balance that ensures sustainability

• An open system that is self-healing to absorb disturbances

Focus and composition

ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery showed artworks from three decades. From the ecology of RAG, which has been creating continuous cross-pollination and interaction for 30 years, works of art have been chosen to share its art development with the public. The choice was made based on a selection from the work of Rinaldo Klas, what channeled the focus and composition of this exhibition. “Inspired by this selection, the curators put together a chronologically structured collection consisting of work by all visual artists affiliated with the gallery, arranged according to the interconnected themes.” (RAG, 2023) Although ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery is also a moment of reflection – to give thanks for support over the past thirty years and to reflect on what RAG‘s artistic ecosystem has to offer – the exhibition mainly refuted that which Rinaldo’s art also reminds us of: the balance between the human and the other-than-human. On the surface, the works in the expo showed diversity of people, flora, and fauna that Suriname is rich in, among other things. However, I saw more happening beneath the surface of this manifestation.

As an example I take munayniyuq. Like alakondre-fasi, munayniyuq is a compound term formed from the Quechua concepts: muna which can be translated as “desire” or “love”, and yuq is the “suffix denoting possession, or the place from which something comes”. According to Marisol de la Cadena (2015), the French linguist Cesar Itier translates munayniyuq as “powerful person who gives orders” and she herself translates the concept as “owner of the will”. Looking back at ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time and the relationship between the climax of this process and present-day Suriname makes me think of such a phenomenon. It feels very special, and beyond coincidence, that the circumstances leading up to ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery have made me much more aware of the role and importance of Alida Neslo and Rinaldo Klas as mentors of this journey. Rinaldo is inspired by the relationship between different species in the same environment. In other words: the functioning of ecosystems. Alida pushes us to alakondre-fasi. And I … I’m just convinced of an invisible curator of the alakondre ecosystem in which I am allowed to travel: an owner of the alakondre will.

Miguel Keerveld, Blue experiment 3, mixed media on canvas, 40.5×50.5cm, 2022 / PHOTO Courtesy Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)

ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time was conducted as a case study. When I started it, I was a fellow of cohort 4 of DAS at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. First, I would have participated from 2021 to 2024. The belief to participate in this is that it was a necessity for the long-term project of tumpi flow between 2015 and 2024. But fate decreed otherwise and in July 2022 DAS and I decided to end the relationship; just because of a stupid visa that was not granted to me.

I think I have done my best and already feel almost liberated from this ‘burden’. It is with pleasure and gratitude that I too contributed to the alakondre ecosystem. I am proud of that and happy with the result that has been achieved with the support of Aruna Mungra, Kurt Nahar, Sri Irodikromo and Xavier Robles de Medina and under the guidance of Alida Neslo and Rinaldo Klas. Of course, also satisfied for the cooperation with all artists involved, the RAG team and the DAS ecology. Just as I consider Alida as the mother of contemporary art in Suriname, I see Rinaldo as the artistic father of the process. That is why his work has been the guiding principle for the construction of the bigi yari exhibition, in which “from the three decades of the gallery’s existence, works by this stonfutu [were] selected first”, after which the curators put together a chronologically structured collection consisting of work of all artists affiliated with the gallery. From the depth of my heart, I congratulate RAG and together with tumpi flow I especially thank Monique NouhChaia SookdewSing for giving me the opportunity to carry out the case study on the foundation of 30 years of Readytex Art Gallery.

Leonnie van Eert, Makandra [Together], ceramics, 42x70x6cm, 2013 / PHOTO Courtesy Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)



– Cadena, M. de la, Earth beings: ecologies of practices across Andean worlds, 2015

– Gadamer, H., Filosofie Magazine, article  ‘Das Nichts nichtet’ (The nothing does nothing), 2023

Readytex Art Gallery, press release exhibition ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery, 2023

Readytex Art Gallery, speeches Monique NouhChaia SookdewSing and Marieke Visser, 2023

Readytex Art Gallery, video archive exposition ECOLOGY – 30 years Readytex Art Gallery, 2023



This publication was made possible in part by a grant from the Dr. Silvia W. de Groot Fund.

Read more about the Dr. Silvia W. de Groot Fund here (only in Dutch).

Read more about Dr. Silvia W. de Groot here (only in Dutch).

TEXT Miguel E. Keerveld 

Miguel E. Keerveld (Suriname, 1982) works in conjunction with the brand EdKe and the performance persona Tumpi Flow. Educated in civil technical engineering, ‘he’ operates with focus on visual language and creative writing. As a hybrid-intuitive concept, ‘she’ performs political interventions related to social practice. As researcher ‘it’ is focused on activating performative politics and manifesting rituals, both related to creative counseling and civic engineering of a cyborg feminist project.


PHOTOS Courtesy Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)


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