‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / ‘The Carriers of the Image’ – 1 – Introduction

June 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm (Been there, Exposed) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

De Dragers van het Beeld, in English: The Carriers of the Image, is an art exhibition that was held in the foyer of Theatre Thalia, from April 28 until May 7, 2017. It was part of the celebration of 180 years Theatre Thalia. Eight visual artists worked with the theme of death, and more: resurrection from death, new life …

Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi wrote a series of columns that we will be sharing on the SAX-blog. Today part 1. Please find the Dutch text under the English text. 

Dragers van het beeld

A Sparkling New Life

Alakondre [literally meaning: of all countries] is the word that we should use to brand Suriname’, said Alida Neslo. With that statement she found an immediate ally within me. This alliance would be continued, as I became the coordinator for visual arts of a team dedicated to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Theatre Thalia in a fitting way. The celebration of 180 years Thalia should breathe new and sparkling life into the theatre.

The Theme

In many cultures death is seen as the end of one life and the beginning of another new life. As a team dedicated to the celebration of 180 years Thalia, we initially spoke more about death and the way in which different cultures process death. But almost simultaneously, the discussion started to revolve around what happens after death: reincarnation, the afterlife, rebirth, etc. The most dominant question that came up was: How is this interpreted by different people and by different cultures? The theme for the celebration of Thalia 180 years, started to develop from here. Eros, Thanatos and Phoenix were brought forward as points of departure for the theme of the celebration. Eros as life energy, Thanatos as the non-violent peaceful death and the Phoenix as the symbol of eternal life; a cyclical life of passing and rebirth.

Visual Art

The theme was presented to the eight participating visual artists: Razia Barsatie, Anand Binda, Winston van der Bok, Soeki Irodikromo, Sri Irodikromo, Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, George Struikelblok and Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi. Each artist was inspired by an entirely different aspect of the theme.

The diverse interpretations of the theme are elaborated upon in various short columns, which will help the public to better understand what the works of art displayed in the celebratory exhibition of Theatre Thalia 180 years are actually about. This visual art exhibition was on display from April 28 until May 7, 2017. In addition to the visual art exhibition there also was a Living Art Show, which was presented within the dance program in the weekend of May 5-7, 2017. It was a collaboration between visual artists and performance artists. The artistic concepts, created by the visual artists, were interpreted and performed by the performance artists. The coordination of the Living Art Show was in the hands of Dweight Warsodikromo.

TEXT Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, 2017

Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi is a female visual artist from Suriname. She works and lives in Paramaribo, Suriname, South America. Kit-Ling studied visual art in Suriname and in the Netherlands. In 2005 Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi added the short video-film as a medium to her artwork. Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi makes paintings and drawings, inspired by the tropical rainforest, and the richness of the diverse cultures in Suriname.

Kit-Ling was the featured visual artist at the 13th International Conference of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. This conference, The Caribbean, the Land and the People; Women’s Efforts, Women’s Lives, was held in Suriname, in May 2012. Kit-Ling was the recipient of the Bridget Jones Award for 2013.

TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY Ada Korbee & Marieke Visser, 2017


‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / ‘The Carriers of the Image’ – 1 – Introduction

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 2 –  Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 3 –  Winston van der Bok

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 4 –  Razia Barsatie

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 5 –  Soeki Irodikromo

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 6 –  Dhiradj Ramsamoedj

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 7 –  Sri Irodikromo

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 8 – Anand Binda 

‘De Dragers van het Beeld’ / The Carriers of the Image – 9 –  George Struikelblok


Een sprankelend nieuw leven

Alakondre is het woord waarmee we Suriname moeten branden’, zei Alida Neslo en daarmee had ze in mij een bondgenoot gevonden. Dit bondgenootschap zette zich voort door als coördinator van beeldende kunst plaats te nemen in een team dat zich zou inzetten om 180 jaar Theater Thalia op gepaste wijze te vieren. De viering van 180 jaar Thalia moet Thalia weer nieuw en sprankelend leven inblazen.

Het thema

In veel culturen wordt de dood gezien als het einde van een bepaald leven en het begin van een ander nieuw leven. Als team dat zich wilde inzetten voor de viering van 180 jaar Thalia, spraken we eerst meer over de dood en het verwerken van de dood binnen verschillende culturen. Maar bijna simultaan werd er ook gesproken over wat er na de dood gebeurt: de reïncarnatie, het hiernamaals, de wedergeboorte etc. Daarbij werd vooral de vraag gesteld: Hoe wordt dit gezien door verschillende mensen, verschillende culturen? Van daaruit is het thema rond de viering van Thalia 180 jaar zich verder gaan ontwikkelen. Eros, Thanatos en Phoenix (Feniks) werden als uitgangspunten voor het thema binnen de viering van 180 jaar Thalia naar voren geschoven. Eros als levensenergie, Thanatos als de geweldloze zachte dood en de Phoenix als symbool van een eeuwig leven; een cyclisch leven van heengaan en wedergeboorte.

Beeldende kunst

Het thema werd voorgelegd aan de acht (8) deelnemende beeldende kunstenaars, te weten Razia Barsatie, Anand Binda, Winston van der Bok, Soeki Irodikromo, Sri Irodikromo, Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, George Struikelblok en Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi. Elke kunstenaar werd geïnspireerd door een geheel andere aspect van het thema.

De diverse interpretaties van het thema zijn in verschillende korte columns uiteen gezet en op deze manier kwam het kunstminnend publiek meer te weten over de inhoud van de kunstwerken die in de feestexpositie van Theater Thalia 180 jaar te zien waren. Deze beeldende kunstexpositie was te zien vanaf 28 april tot en met 7 mei 2017. Naast de beeldende kunstexpositie is er ook een Living Art Show gepresenteerd binnen het dansprogramma in het weekend van 5 tot en met 7 mei 2017. Het betrof een samenwerking tussen beeldende kunstenaars en performance artiesten. De kunstconcepten kwamen van de beeldende kunstenaars, maar werden geïnterpreteerd en uitgevoerd door de performance kunstenaars. De coördinatie van de Living Art Show was in handen van Dweight Warsodikromo.



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An Eye for Art: Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Coming together’

October 28, 2015 at 11:30 am (An Eye for Art) (, , , , , )

In collaboration with art critic Rob PerréeReadytex 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 ‘Coming together’, acrylics on canvas, 71 cm wide x 93.5 cm high, 2013, from Soeki Irodikromo.

Soeki Irodikromo, 'Coming together', acrylics on canvas, 71 cm wide x 93.5 cm high, 2013 - USD 1800 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Coming together’, acrylics on canvas, 71 cm wide x 93.5 cm high, 2013 – USD 1800 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

The titles of art works are often too literal. They state that which the viewer sees. They add nothing to the work or to the viewing experience and the creativity of the viewer. In my opinion a title should be suggestive, raise questions, trigger curiosity and be somewhat puzzling.

The title of this work from Soeki Irodikromo (Pieterszorg, Commewijne, 1945) – ‘Coming Together’ – might initially seem literal. Figures coming together. That much is clear. But the title can actually refer to more aspects of the painting. Various colors, shapes, styles and symbols also come together. It is an abundantly filled convergence. The title hides that excessiveness within.

That abundance makes it into an enigmatic work. What exactly is happening here? Who are the figures? Is it a greeting? A planned meeting? A symbolic encounter? A meeting between lovers? It remains unclear. That uncertainty is strengthened because the artist allows the figurative and the abstract to mingle with each other. Furthermore, he works with symbols and characters that represent a language that I can only babble, but can’t speak nor read.

Irodikromo once said that Suriname is a melting pot of cultures. Its inhabitants accept the differences and more importantly, they are willing to share the different aspects of those cultures with each other. Looked at from that perspective, ‘Coming Together’ is a logical painting, an illustration of the country where the artist was born. It is not at all necessary to try to disentangle the elaborately tangled knot that he presents us with. That knot is supposed to be a knot. That knot is Suriname.

I am still inclined however, to link especially the characters, the symbols and the styles, to those different cultures. Perhaps that is a natural human act: a riddle must be solved. I do not get much further than that. I can detect hints of the CoBrA-movement in his imagery (his education in Rotterdam is undoubtedly partially responsible for that), I see symbols that could refer to Javanese mythology, I see a type of expressionism that leans more towards the international than the national, but that is as far as I get. For me many of the riddles remain riddles.

TEXT Rob Perrée, New York, October 2015

TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2015

Want to see this and other work of Soeki Irodikromo ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Steenbakkerijstraat 30, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.comFor more information about Soeki Irodikromo please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/soeki.


More work by Soeki Irodikromo available in Readytex Art Gallery:

Soeki Irodikromo, 'Transformation', acrylics on canvas, 63x77cm, 2015 - USD 1500 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Transformation’, acrylics on canvas, 63x77cm, 2015 – USD 1500 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, 'Duality', acrylics on canvas, 105x148cm, 2005-2015 - USD 2800 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Duality’, acrylics on canvas, 105x148cm, 2005-2015 – USD 2800 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, 'Battle', acrylics on canvas, 75.5x75.5cm, 2012 - USD 1500 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Battle’, acrylics on canvas, 75.5×75.5cm, 2012 – USD 1500 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, 'Owrukuku', acrylics on canvas, 147x119cm, 2009 - USD 3000 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

Soeki Irodikromo, ‘Owrukuku’, acrylics on canvas, 147x119cm, 2009 – USD 3000 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang

LOGO eye for art

This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on Ocober 28, 2015 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on October 28, 2015.

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.

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SURIFESTA FVAS Giant Painting, December 13 & 14, 2014

December 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm (Coming up) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What: SURIFESTA FVAS (also to be found on Facebook) Giant Painting 2014. With: George Struikelblok, Dorette Kuster, Patrick Tjon Jaw Chong, Dakaya Lenz, Erwin de VriesRon FluGlenn Fung LoyRinaldo KlasSoeki IrodikromoAnand Binda, Leo Wong Loi Sing, Jules Brand-Flu, Reinier AsmoredjoAugust Bohé, Ray Daal, Stanny Handigman, Cliff Rasidin, Ardie Setropawiro, Sri Irodikromo, Manuela Tjin A Soe, André Sontosoemarto, Kim Sontosoemarto, Daniel Djojoatmo, Dhiradj RamsamoedjKurt NaharRanjan AkloeLeonnie van EertArti AbhelakhJohan Doelradjak

When: December 13 & 14, 2014, 10:00 hrs till late

Where: Sidewalk Café ‘t Vat, Kleine Waterstraat 1, Paramaribo 



The previous giant painting, made by FVAS members in 1997. Participants: Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, Ron Flu, Glenn Fung Loy, Rinaldo Klas, Soeki Irodikromo, Anand Binda, Reinier Asmoredjo, August Bohé, Ray Daal, Stanny Handigman, Sharda Harkhoe, Cliff Rasidin, Ardie Setropawiro, Micheal Wong Loi Sing, Anita Hartmann — at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport

The previous giant painting, made by FVAS members in 1997. Participants: Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, Ron Flu, Glenn Fung Loy, Rinaldo Klas, Soeki Irodikromo, Anand Binda, Reinier Asmoredjo, August Bohé, Ray Daal, Stanny Handigman, Sharda Harkhoe, Cliff Rasidin, Ardie Setropawiro, Micheal Wong Loi Sing, Anita Hartmann — at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport

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Group exhibition ‘WAT – Working Apart Together’, at De Hal

March 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm (Exposed) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The first vernissage of Readytex Art Gallery in 2014 just opened its doors. Starting from March the 26th, the public could enjoy the group exhibition WAT – Working Apart Together. In De Hal at de Grote Combéweg 45, where 14 artists present their most recent works of art. Though the artists each work independently, their works still contain a surprising amount of elements, turning this into a cohesive presentation. For visitors the exhibition WAT offers the exiting challenge to discover that cohesiveness and perhaps even identify it.



After the positive reactions of the public to the group exhibitions of the past two years, Readytex Art Gallery decided to work according to that same concept  for 2014. This year, instead of two large exhibitions with each time new artworks of just one artist, the gallery will organize two large exhibitions with new works of art by multiple artists. It is a concept that works quite well for the artists, the gallery and for the public as well.

Kurt Nahar and two RAG Team members in front of his installation / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2014

Kurt Nahar and two RAG Team members in front of his installation / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2014

Visitors admiring Sri's work / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2014

Visitors admiring Sri’s work / PHOTO Ada Korbee, 2014

Opening Night / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang, 2014

Opening Night / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang, 2014

The exhibition WAT offers new work by the following artists affiliated to the gallery: Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, George Struikelblok, Hanka Wolterstorff, Kenneth Flijders, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, Kurt Nahar, Reinier Asmoredjo, René Tosari, Rinaldo Klas, Roddney Tjon Poen Gie, Soeki Irodikromo, Sri Irodikromo, Sunil Puljhun and Wilgo Vijfhoven.

The exhibition provides the public with impulses other than those of a solo exhibition. In WAT Readytex Art Gallery presents a variety of art works: paintings, batik, and sculptures from wood and ceramics. Viewers can also enjoy a diversity of styles. Kurt Nahar for example, presents a selection that was inspired by his recent participation in the ‘Bienal de Pintura Mural Internos‘ in Cuba. In his new art Sunil Puljhun returns  to abstraction and color, contrary to the black and white works he’d been previously immersed in. Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi works from a renewed focus: she researches the Surinamese biodiversity, concentrating especially on bird species. Wilgo Vijfhoven shows transitions in his work and uses a somewhat different visual imagery. Dhiradj Ramsamoedj presents research on canvas, which provides insights into a project that he will soon develop into a series of outdoor, public sculptures.  George Struikelblok gives an exciting new twist to his work and with that offers a glimpse into what is to come at a larger presentation next year.

Readytex Art Gallery and her partner artists invite the public to visit the exhibition WAT – Working Apart Together.  Everyone is welcome in De Hal from Wednesday the 26th until Sunday the 30th of March from 19:00 – 21:00 hrs.



TEXT / TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014


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30 years ABKS – Association of Visual Artists in Suriname with exhibition ‘Unleashed’

February 20, 2014 at 8:42 pm (Exposed) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

More than thirty years ago a group of visual artists in Suriname met to exchange thoughts and ideas about the situation of the local visual arts scene. This meeting would signify the birth of the ABKS: Associatie Beeldende Kunstenaars Suriname [Association of Visual Artists in Suriname]. This 30th anniversary of the ABKS in 2014, is the perfect occasion for a festive exhibition: ‘Unleashed’.

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The original membership criteria for the association were clear: one had to have been “continuously and seriously, engaged in the visual arts for many years”.  The number of members was never to exceed ten. And there would be a group exhibition once every two years.

The first exhibition, ‘Identiteit’ [Identity], was held in 1984. Several days before the exhibition, Nola Hatterman, a key figure in the history of art education in Suriname, also an ABKS member and scheduled participant of the exhibition, passed away in an accident. Despite this tragic turn of events this first ABKS exhibition still turned out to be a success. The other participants at that exhibition in 1984 were Ron Flu, Rudi Getrouw (YouTube), Soeki Irodikromo, Ruben Karsters (Sranan Art blog post), Cliff San A Jong (YouTube)and Paul Woei.

The most recent exhibition was Crossroads of Life in De Hal,  from April 14th-16th of 2011. Participating artists at that time: Anand Binda, Pierre Bong A Jan, Dani Djojoatmo, Ron FluSoeki Irodikromo, Sri Irodikromo, Ardie Setropawiro, Kim Sontosoemarto, Jhunry Udenhout and Leo Wong Loi Sing.



Planned for the upcoming anniversary, is the exhibition Unleashed, also in De Hal,  which will be open to the public from February the 22nd until the 27th, from 10:00-13:00 hrs and from 18:00-21:00 hrs. All ABKS-members will participate including the original members Ron Flu and Soeki Irodikromo.

Even after thirty years, the right of existence of the Association remains undisputed. The membership criteria have however, been somewhat expanded. Younger artists now also have the opportunity to join, such as in 2009 Pierre Bong A Jan, Dani Djojoatmo, Sri Irodikromo and Kim Sontosoemarto.

In 1988 Rudi Getrouw writes in the preface to the brochure published to accompany the ABKS exhibition ‘Prospects’ : “In our view – and history gives us in the right to see it that way – the artists do have a role, even a very important one. Due to their sensitivity, mysteriously connected through countless invisible threads with the spiritual life of their time, artists also give direction, by their visual activity. An artist is extremely receptive to the expressive character of the visual reality . In combination with the artist’s abilities as a designer, he helps determine the ‘face’ of his people; he opens our eyes to the visual, he teaches us. A nation without art has no face.”

26 years later, Rudi Getrouw’s words are still true and once again underline the importance of artists and artists’ initiatives , such as the ABKS , for a country to help shape the spiritual life and to give the nation a face and to give it’s people a direction which way to go.

This jubilee year has yet another silver lining, namely the 80th birthday of one of its early members, Ron Flu.

Download the pdf of the exhibition brochure for free here: Brochure ‘Unleashed’.

TEXT Marieke Visser, 2014

TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld

Ron Flu / PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Ron Flu / PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Soeki Irodikromo / PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Soeki Irodikromo / PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Anand Binda | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Anand Binda | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Pierre Bong A Jan | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Pierre Bong A Jan | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS
Dani Djojoatmo | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Dani Djojoatmo | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Sri Irodikromo | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Sri Irodikromo | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Ardie Setropawiro  | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Ardie Setropawiro | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Kim Sontosoemarto | PHOTO Courtesy ABKSKim Sontosoemarto | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Jhunry Udenhout | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Jhunry Udenhout | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Leo Wong Loi Sing | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

Leo Wong Loi Sing | PHOTO Courtesy ABKS

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Leonnie van Eert – “Giving form to something that is unformed”

January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm (A Close Look) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Leonnie van Eert (Leende, Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands, 1961) was once again present at the Nationale Kunstbeurs 2012 [National Art Fair] with her ceramics.  As one of the regular participants of the last few years, hers is a booth that I am always looking forward to. As usual she exhibited a number of special pieces, all in her typical style.  No refined and polished ‘common’ work, but a bit ‘rough’, as though it comes straight from nature. Her theme for the NK 2012 was ‘the snake’. And although the work was quite striking, it did not attract any potential buyers.  Contrary to previous years, the ceramist sold nothing.

Leonnie van Eert, title unknown, 2012 |  PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert, ‘Nyun libi’, 2012 | PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert: “I did get a lot of reactions. A lot of students at the Nationale Kunstbeurs liked my work. That feels good. ‘It’s a bit different, it’s exciting!’ is something I heard for example. A number of colleagues said: ‘You have grown, you are more daring, and the work is nicely finished’. But people did keep asking: ‘Why did you choose for snakes?’”

Leonnie van Eert, title unknown, 2012 |  PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert, ‘Sranan sneki’, 2012 | PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

In Suriname people generally have negative associations when it comes to snakes. Will she take this into account the next time she chooses a new theme? “No. I will stay true to my own process. I am not all of a sudden going to start making things because they sell.  It is what it is. If I had known this in advance, I would still have chosen for this theme. The year before, I had bird-like elements in my work. Working with ceramics is a step by step process. I saw a snakeskin hanging in the branches of a tree in my garden.  That is something I can then look at in pure admiration. It made such an impression me! Or, as I once saw in an obé tree: a snake that was completely encircling the trunk which is covered with leaf stems. The pattern, the shapes … I hold my breath and watch that, mesmerized … I am not afraid. When I saw the snakeskin, I made a sketch. I was also working with bamboo, and you know that snakes love bamboo as well.  That was when the idea was born: snake and bamboo, to combine them. I know that people have such a fear of snakes; snakes are often portrayed so negatively, but a snake can also represent healing, think for instance of the esculaap sign. The playfulness, the flexibility of the snake is what I tried to express: an embrace of snakes, a snake that comes out of a ‘prapi’ [Indian earthenware bowl, MV].”

Leonnie van Eert, title unknown, 2012 |  PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert, ‘Prapi sneki’, 2012 | PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

“I truly make my own thing of it. I don’t know how the viewer looks at it, but I feel as though I’m making forms that can be found in nature or amongst ancient peoples. Take for example that prapi. I give it my own shape. Previous themes were ‘Amazonia’, ‘symbols’, ‘bamboo’, now ‘the snake’ and I don’t know what will come next.”

Leonnie van Eert, title unknown, 2012 |  PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert, ‘Brasa’, 2012 | PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

“I started with ceramics at Soeki in 2008. I have always been involved with creative projects and also followed a course in watercolors for example. Right from the start I liked working with clay. With the earth. To give form to something that is unformed. That is my way of bringing things that live inside of me, to the outside. I think that I like going into depth, that I dare to do so. When you work with clay, it can conjure up a lot. I was working on a piece for the NK and experienced a lot of pleasure from it. If it got sold in October, it would have been too soon. That was Dansi, a relief with a snake in the middle. It was as though I was very close to the spiritual world. That is just about the best thing that I can feel. I even went to Humphrey Tawjoeram to get the colors clearer and better.”

Leonnie van Eert, 'Makandra', 2012 |  PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie van Eert, ‘Makandra’, 2012 | PHOTO Leonnie van Eert, 2012

Leonnie keeps developing herself. “Now I started batik lessons at Sri. Ceramics will stay my main material. I am not finished with it. The clay is just Surinamese clay, which I clean by myself. But I like to also work with other materials, such as raffia.”

Although she was born in the Netherlands, Leonnie has been living in Lelydorp, in the district Wanica, with her family for fifteen years now. “I think that if I had stayed abroad, I would probably be making different work. My work in the indigenous community of Kwamalasamutu, with the people and especially with the children, had a great influence on me. I integrate that into my work. The maroon culture upstream of the Suriname River is also inspiring to me. Or the maluana’s [decorated round disc with symbols, which is placed in the top of the roof of the community hut of Wayana-indians, MV], the symmetry of them, is something that you can recognize in my work.  The shapes of my work are nature shapes. Do you know the term ‘Tribal Art’? That feels a lot like it’s mine”

Leonnie has also been inspired by fellow artists. “Someone like Winston van der Bok, or Rinaldo Klas, the way in which Rinaldo puts his shapes on canvas.  Roberto Tjon A Meeuw, especially the masks. Marcel Pinas, the work that he does in the districts. Sri, and in particular her work for Paramaribo SPAN: Ingiwinti. Ruben Makosi exhibited in 2008 with the work Slangenmoeder [snake mother] at the NK. A work with a strong individualism and which was not per se intended for commerce.  I have to keep feeding myself!”

Ceramics have for now been placed on the backburner, but that is purely for economic reasons. At this moment Leonnie works at the Kangoeroeschool http://www.kangoeroeschool.com/, where she is responsible for the development of creative art-related activities for the after-school care.  She also works as freelance educational coach for a private owned kindergarten in Lelydorp and she also organizes creative art-related activities for Stichting voor het Kind [foundation for the child]. There was previously a post about this on the Sranan Art-blog.

Please feel free to contact Leonnie van Eert to see her work at leonnievaneert  @  yahoo.com (leave out spaces before and after @). A series of small ceramic discs with symbols is available at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. For more work please visit the Sranan Art Flickr Photo Account.

TEXT Marieke Visser, 2013

Marieke Visser (Bennekom, the Netherlands, 1962) studied journalism and language and literature in the Netherlands. As publicist she writes a lot about art, culture, history and tourism from her own news agency Swamp Fish Press. The three most recent large art projects to which she has contributed are: Wakaman Drawing lines, connecting dots, Paramaribo SPAN and Kibii Wi Koni Marcel Pinas The Event. She is currently editor in chief of Sranan Art Xposed.

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Two Exhibitions with Caribbean Art. Missed Opportunities?

September 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm (A Close Look) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

An exhibition preceded by 8 years of research, in which 3 American museums collaborated, that covers over 200 years of Caribbean art and displays 550 works of art, should be expected to deliver a good result.

Rigaud Benoit (Haiti, 1911-1986), Sea Goddess/Sirene, 1962, El Museo del Barrio, Gift | ©El Museo del Barrio, Manhattan, 2012

Why then is Caribbean: Crossroads of the World still a failed project?

It sounds cynical, but for exactly the same reasons that it could have been a good project. A significant part of the 8 years of research got lost due to internal bickering. About assumptions, principles, but also about competencies. The initiating museum, El Museo del Barrio, is simply without the means and the manpower necessary to support such a project.  The Studio Museum is a good, but also stubborn and ambitious museum that knows how it should be done and will not be dictated by others. The Queens Museum is a museum without a face, with a vacillating policy and a visible lack of money. Incidentally, all three museums are located in New York.

Opting for 200 years of Caribbean art is in itself logical – the independence of Haiti in 1804 is a natural point of departure – but it is also an extensive, perhaps too extensive period. And after all, if you decide to show 550 pieces, it is unavoidable that in certain cases the quality will be somewhat under par.

A visitor looking at one of the many works of art | ©El Museo del Barrio, Manhattan, 2012

From the basic principle of Crossroads it is determinable that it is a project of compromises. It endeavors to show work of Caribbean artists, living in their homeland or not. Aside from that it aims to provide a picture of the Caribbean, thus it includes also artworks of Paul Gauguin. The relationship between New York and the Caribbean should be illustrated. That explains the presence of true Americans such as Jacob Lawrence and Chris López. By considering the Caribbean as a ‘flexible’ unit, all other doubtful cases should also be entitled to have their say.

In short: everything is allowed and everything is possible in order to keep all organizers on board. That the public has no understanding whatsoever of such politically motivated assumptions, is apparently of no concern.

The same applies to the selected artists. Those among the somewhat adept, constantly wonder: why her/him and not him/her. Translated to the Surinamese artists: why for example Soeki Irodikromo and not Remy Jungerman, while they should both have been included. A comparable question arises with regards to the selections made within an oeuvre. Why a small photographic work of Patricia Kaersenhout, when she has made much better drawings. Because it could be submitted cheaper, digitally?  Why that particular painting of Marcel Pinas, while he has made better paintings, drawings and installations.  Because it was already part of a collection in New York? Conveniently close by? Such ‘practices’ greatly diminish the level of confidence that the viewer has in the reliability and the expertise of the curators.  That distrust is further reinforced by various careless inconsistencies: in the publication Charles Eyck one page states that he was born in the Netherlands, and yet another page, Curacao; at one drawing the nametag mentions that it was made by the artist 3 years after his death etc. etc.

Patricia Kaersenhout (Netherlands, 1966), The Girl with the Pearl Earring, 2010, photographic print, 36 x 30 cm, courtesy of the artist | ©El Museo del Barrio, Manhattan, 2012

The largest error however, is the presentation. The choice fell on a type of ‘salon décor’. So all the works are close to, above, under and mixed up amongst each other. Nice and full. From the floor up to the ceiling. There is no obvious reason for this. It is however a clear slap in the face to the visitor. Many people are not or hardly informed about Caribbean art. This makes such exhibitions all the more important. It is therefore extremely important to create conditions which allow visitors to look at everything in relative peace, to allow them the opportunity to search for and place links, to compare eras etc. At such a presentation that is absolutely impossible. As a fellow visitor expressed in despair: “It drives you nuts”.

Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, contemporary art from the Caribbean in Kunsthal Kade in Amersfoort, the Netherlands was less ambitiously, but more intelligently, set up. In that (already ended) exhibition they opted for contemporary art from the Caribbean (that part was incidentally largely lacking in New York). In this one there was also a much greater emphasis on quality. Still, also regarding this exhibition some comments can be made. I had hoped for a more surprising selection. I already knew some of the works from other exhibitions (the Havana Biennial, exhibitions in other museums in New York, but also in Amsterdam). Another part was indeed new, in some cases made especially for the occasion, but even then from the obvious names. Why not choose for talents such as Jabu Arnell of St. Maarten? To give a random example. A safe choice is in and of itself no problem, and I occasionally enjoy seeing certain works of art a few times, but my preference goes out to a bit more risk. More confusing was the rather pretentious title of the exhibition. In it a link was suggested with science fiction and surrealism – the title is a quote from writer Junot Diaz – while in the majority of the works this relationship was sorely lacking. What is sci-fi about an animation of Sheena Rose who portrays her daily life in Barbados? What is sci-fi about the work of Renee Cox that deals with the representation of the black (American) woman?  The exhibition did not need any such a slant given to it. The works speak convincingly for themselves; they did not have to speak through a concept imposed upon them by the curator.

Crossroads is a missed opportunity. That project confirms many of the prejudices that the average visitor has concerning Caribbean art. Typical qualifications such as sloppy, traditional and awkward. That lays to blame to the creators. Sci-Fi will stay with me longer. It also gave a good impression of the urgency with which Caribbean art is made and of the high quality of that art.  At both exhibitions by the way, the expectation of large amounts of visitors was far from realized.  Disappointing.

Who More Sci-Fi Than Us was on display from May 26th thru August 26th, 2012, at Kunsthal Kade in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Crossroads is still showing until October 21st, 2012, in the Studio Museum in Harlem, until the 6th of January, 2013, in El Museo del Bario in Manhattan and the Queens Museum in Queens, NY, all in the USA.

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TEXT Rob Perrée, Paris, France, August 2012

TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld

Digital art magazine Sranan Art Xposed appears three to four times a year. Through it SAX aims to increase awareness on Surinamese art, but also tries to keep track of, and add more depth to our dynamic art world. Because our corresponding blog  is in English, important contributions will from time to time also appear in the Surinamese newspaper de Ware Tijd.

Rob Perrée is art historian, freelance writer and exhibition maker, editor of Kunstbeeld and of Sranan Art Xposed. Perrée was also a contributor to the book Marcel Pinas. Artist, more than an artist. He lives and works in Amsterdam and Brooklyn.

Some interesting websites:

Who More Sci-Fi Than Us
















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Revealing our stored treasures

February 6, 2012 at 1:28 am (Been there, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Revealing our stored treasures is the title of the exhibition by Readytex Art Gallery which showcases a prime selection of the gallery’s collection.

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The art scene in Suriname is rapidly changing, and thus the way the work is exhibited has changed too. Readytex Art Gallery, once the only ‘real’ art gallery in Suriname with a continuous exhibition schedule, has proven to become too small for all purposes. De Hal is a very welcome addition. It is very nice to see such a varied but still coherent selection of high quality art.

Lygia Matawi and Ada Korbee selected the work. The work was hanged in groups. The first idea was to fill the walls, to reflect the overflowing storage space of the gallery.  But that proved to be a fun idea but it didn’t work out in reality.

Some of the participating artists on opening night │ PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang, 2012

What: Revealing our stored treasures

Who: Reinier AsmoredjoPaul Chang, Leonnie van Eert, Kenneth Flijders, Soekidjan IrodikromoSri IrodikromoHenry Soekarman KartotaroenoRinaldo Klas, John Lie-A-FoKurt NaharSunil PuljhunDhiradj RamsamoedjGeorge StruikelblokHumphrey Tawjoeram, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian GiRoddney Tjon Poen Gie, René TosariSteven TowirjoWilgo Vijfhoven, Hanka Wolterstorff Ay Xiang. Of these artists it is worth mentioning that Paul Chang, Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, George Struikelblok, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi & René Tosari can be found at other websites as well.

When: February 2, 3, 4 & 5 2012

Where: De Hal, Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo, Suriname

TEXT Marieke Visser, 2012

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Coming up – Soeki Irodikromo People’s Academy of Art and Culture in De Hal, May 12-14 2011

May 9, 2011 at 11:31 am (Coming up) (, , , , , )

From Thursday, May 12, 19:00 hrs the work of the students of the Soeki Irodikromo People’s Academy of Art and Culture will be on display in the exhibition space De Hal, Combéweg 45, Paramaribo, Suriname. For three days the public can see the fruits of the hard work of the People’s College Students – ánd the hard work of their teachers! It’s the creative production of some thirty students of the Visual Arts Department: ceramics, batik, tie & dye, drawing and painting. Some of the work exhibited is offered for sale. During three evenings a demonstration organized by the Performing Arts Department.


Kim Sontosoemarto, president of the Association Memorial Javanese Immigration (VHJI), the institute at the base of educational institute said: “The Volksacademie is designed to develop people’s artistic skills so that their earnings increase. In particular, participants in the Textile class have proven during recnt pasar malams that they can earn quite a bit with their products.”

At the exhibition in De Hal the visitors re will also be informed about the range of courses and workshops of the school.

The popular academy was opened on January16 2009 and since July 14 2010 it is officially called the Soeki Irodikromo People’s Academy of Arts and Culture, in order to honor the main driving force behind the creation of this institute.

The festive opening will take place on Thursday, May 12 at 19:00 hrs. Friday and Saturday, the expo is open from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 18:00 to 21:00 hrs. On Friday and Saturday there are performances scheduled by the Performing Arts Department at 20:00 hrs. The exhibition has been realized thanks to the Association Memorial Javanese Immigration (VHJI) and the Directorate of Culture.

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Been there – Crossroads of Life

April 5, 2011 at 9:36 am (Been there) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Members of the Association for Visual Artists in Suriname (Associatie van Beeldende Kunstenaars in Suriname), ABKS, will be presenting a new show Crossroads of Life in De Hal from April 15 thru 16, 2011.  The opening night is on April 14, from 19:00 to 21:00 hours. Participating artists: Anand Binda, Ardi Setropawiro, Dani Djojoatmo, Jhunry Udenhout, Kim Sontosoemarto, Leo Wong Loi Sing, Pierre Bong A Jan, Ron Flu, Soeki Irodikromo and Sri Irodikromo.

Visit the Sranan Art Flickr account to see some pictures.

Back row: Dani Djojoatmo, Kim Sontosoemarto, Sri Irodikromo, Pierre Bong A Jan, Ardie Setropawiro, Jhunry Udenhout. Front row: Anand Binda, Leo Wong Loi Sing, Soeki Irodikromo, Ron Flu / Photo: Patrick Tjon Jaw Chong, 2011

Opening hours: 09:00 to 12:00 and 18:00 to 21:00 hours

Venue: De Hal, Grote Combéweg  45, Paramaribo, Suriname





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