Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Suriname Chronicles: Part VIII

My first seven posts regarding Suriname really only show the behind-the-scenes happenings for Terry Rathje and me.  There were actually a ton of other artists who all had their own unpredictable adventures and strange misfortunes while trying to make their contribution to the Moengo Festival of Visual Arts happen.

Before I show work from the other artists, I want to introduce you to Marcel Pinas.  After Suriname's civil war, the Eastern portion of the country -where Moengo is located, was a shell of its former self.  Marcel, who was originally from a village not far from Moengo, returned to the area after completing art school elsewhere and found that even though the fighting had stopped, there was ongoing damage to the collective psyche of the locals.

Marcel decided that he needed to help change the course of Moengo, and its people, towards a direction that is more healthy, positive, and productive.  His 'only' tool(s) for accomplishing this was art and art-making.  I put quotes around 'only' in the last sentence because art-making wasn't Marcel's only tool.  He is a charming person with a keen intellect and a warm personality who recognizes the the power and value of the arts, and who isn't afraid to work hard at at task until its done.

Art is culture, and culture has the power to move people.

Marcel started by setting up some artist residencies, where an artist (or group of artists) would stay in Moengo for an extended period of time and create art that would stay in the community.  These residencies expanded into the Moengo Festival.

Terry Rathje and I participated in the 3rd annual Moengo Festival (which focused on the visual arts).

Below are some examples of Marcel's artwork which I saw at the Readytex Gallery in Paramaribo.

A picture of Marcel chatting while busily getting last minute preparations for the festival organized.

Part of Marel's team for pulling off the festival were Rob Perree, Remy Jungerman, Ada Korbee, and Lih-Lan Wong. They all did an amazing job putting together the exhibition -which included more than 40 artists from around the globe.  With the heat and humidity, I know how difficult it was for Terry and I to focus on the physical tasks of making Colloquy, I can't even begin to imagine how to tough it was for them to try to concentrate on writing, curating, and hanging the show.  Believe it or not, I find that it is easier to perform physical labor in sultry conditions than it is to stay focused on something mentally.

A great shot of Rob Perree and Remy Jungerman (photo courtesy of Rob Perree).  You can check out Remy Jungerman's Facebook page by clicking this link:!

The Moengo Festival of Visual Arts was chocked full of Surinamese artists along with a gaggle of artists from several countries across the globe.  Here are some images of the artwork we saw.

I wish I knew the name of the artist who made these because I think they are fantastically cool.  I even helped load them into the back of a truck, but my inability to speak any of the local languages prevented me from being able to ask questions.

A panoramic shot outside of the Tembe Art Studio before the festival officially kicked off.

Melissa Quartell from the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo saying a few words (in Dutch!) as part of the opening ceremonies.  If I've only mentioned a dozen times how instrumental she was to making this whole expedition happen, I need to say it roughly 988 times more to actually convey the truth.

The drum corps lead us into the festival.

All of the artists who participated in the Moengo Visual Arts Festival signed their name to the wall outside of the Tembe Art Studio.  Here is my signature up close, good luck finding it on the larger image below.

The collaborative work of Kurt Nahar, Andre Sontosoemarto, and Hesde Mertowirijo.

The ever-cheerful, Bart Stuart providing a quick pose in the mid-morning heat.

The large, and stunning, photowork of Dany Leriche and Jean-Michel Fickinger set the tone for the exhibition AND set the bar quite high, artistically speaking, for the rest of us.  These images were powerful and captivating -full of empathy and humanity.  You must check out more of their work by visiting their website by clicking this link:  In addition to great artwork, they are extremely warm and charming people.  I enjoyed my conversations with them.

I wish I took better notes of which artists made which pieces so I could give proper credit where credit is due.  But I'd rather show the amazing work I saw in Suriname without credit, than to totally omit pieces whose creator's names I don't remember.  Fortunately, Rob Perree was gracious enough to share his insights on which artists made which pieces. Thank you, Rob!!!!  I can't promise 100% accuracy, but with Rob's help, I'm willing to guess we are around 99% accurate for the following pieces.....

Check out the artwork of Percy Tijn.

I'm a big fan of the line work in these next two pieces by Sheena Rose.  You can (and should) check out her website by clicking HERE.  Highly cool.

I'm also a big fan of layering images to create the overall piece.

Miguel Tumpi Flow, Ada, Ravi and Shaundell.


Sunil Puljhun.

David Linga.  Check out a video about David (posted by Wouter Klein Velderman).  David is an amazing woodcarver.

Amazing drawings by Iris Kensmil.

One of the names I remembered (without assistance) was Steven Jouwersma, and his cool assemblage of cars which are used to make the stage near the Tembe Arts Center.  I can't recommend enough checking out Steven's website by clicking this link (

Rasia Barsatie.  Rasia shows up several times in my Suriname posts, and for good reason.  She is a powerhouse artists and an amazingly gracious human being.

Danasion Akobe.

Charl Landvreugd's beautiful and compelling work was under glass, and therefore my little point-and-shoot camera was not up to the task of capturing his pieces.  I looked at this one shot and just knew I was doing an injustice to his work by trying to document it with inferior equipment.  A superior option for viewing Charl's work is to go to his website and check it out!  Here is a link (  Charl is a fantastically cool guy.  I had several great conversations with him during the course of the festival.

This next one is one of the six pieces I shipped down for the festival.

The work Ravi Rajcoomar!  His website is a treasure trove of imagery.  You can see it by clicking this link (  Be sure to click both the 'Gallery' heading and the 'Recent Works' heading when you go to his website.

The work of Rene Tosari.  Here is a link to a review of Rene Tosari's work by Rob Perree (click HERE)

Awini Dimpay (affiliated with Moma Bobi)

These paintings by Robbert Enfield blew me away.  Here's a link to his Facebook page (click HERE) and here is a link to another site that showcases his work.  Check it out:  (

A few detail shots of Robbert's work..

Remond Mangoensemito's artwork.

Kenneth Flijders.  Check out a review by Rob Perree regarding Kenneth's work by clicking this LINK.

I can't even begin to say enough good things about the work of  Shaundell Horton.

One of Terry Rathje's two pieces in the show.

Dakaya Lenz.

Some of the cool artwork of the boundlessly prolific Ken Doorson!  His website is a must see/visit (

You'll have to visit the website of multi-talented/multi-disciplinary Remy Jungerman in order to even start to understand how much work this artist has made.  Remy is an extremely prolific artist and also a really nice guy.  Check out his website by clicking HERE.

A whole bunch of impressive work from students.

Some more student work.

A close up of the work of Dany Leriche and Jean-Michel Fickinger.

Some more images of artwork in the festival.

Dakaya Lenz and students on the left and Ravi Rajcoomar on the right.

More student works.

These pieces are works that had been created during different projects by various artists prior to the 2015 Moengo Festival for Visual Art.  They are on permanent display in Moengo.  If 4 or 5 pieces (sculptures/installations) get created each year.  In 10 years time, Moengo will have 40 to 50 pieces.  That kind of critical mass of sculpture/artwork is exactly the kind of thing that attracts visitors/tourists.  Tourists spend money.  Money makes economies thrive.

This next piece is a an aluminum sculpture created by Charl Landvreugd. The use of aluminum helps tie the piece to SURALCO and the proud bauxite mining history of the region.

These next two images are from a piece called 'Something What Seems Far Away Is Actually Nearby', by Razia Barsatie.  Razia is a dynamo artist. You should check out some more examples of her work by clicking this link:

I was blown away with how generous Razia was with her time during the festival.  Terry and I stayed a little ways away from the Tembe Art Center, so it was difficult for us to attend meal times on time.  Razia graciously brought us meals and was absolutely instrumental in helping us secure many of the supplies we needed to fabricate Colliquy.  Please bear in mind that anytime Razia was helping Terry and I with logistics and supplies, was time directly taken from her creating her own studio work for the festival.  So many many thanks to Razia for her time and sacrifices!

More to come on The 2015 Moengo Festival of Visual Arts!

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