The third issue of Town engages with the Paramaribo SPAN project, a survey of contemporary art and visual culture in Suriname.
Perched on the shoulder of the South American continent, Suriname is in the zone of intersection between the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and Latin America. It is home to the descendants of indigenous Amerindians, Dutch and English colonisers, enslaved Africans and free Maroons, indentured Indians and Javanese, and immigrants from China, Portugal, and the Middle East. The cultural collisions and collusions of all these peoples have been often fruitful, sometimes anxious, and occasionally violent.
Co-curated by Trinidadian artist Christopher Cozier and Dutch curator Thomas Meijer zu Schlochtern, Paramaribo SPAN is conceived as a bridge: between histories, social groups, countries, cultures; between realities and aspirations.
This issue of Town is also a sort of bridge, or the fragments of a possible bridge of imagination and understanding. It connects poems by a writer from Guyana, Suriname’s neighbour to the west; images by a Dutch artist of Surinamese ancestry, which reflect on the ironies of colonial history; a self-portrait by a young Surinamese artist, a work of both self-representation and self-assertion; and a deliberately mysterious photograph of the monument memorialising one of the most tragic events in Suriname’s recent history. The three Afaka characters atop the Moiwana Monument spell out “Kibii Wi”: Sranan for “Protect Us”: a hope, a wish, a lamentation, a charm, a song.
The broadsides for this issue will be posted first in Paramaribo, later in Port of Spain — making another bridge, this time between two cities.
Follow the links below to read the contents of Town 3 online, and to download PDFs of this issue’s six broadsides.
3:1….Call Me the Need for Rain, by Mahadai Das
3:2….Lucky, by Mahadai Das
3:3….The Dream of a Thousand Shipwrecks #33 of 144 (2009), by Patricia Kaersenhout
3:4….The Dream of a Thousand Shipwrecks #40 of 144 (2009), by Patricia Kaersenhout
3:5….Self-Portrait (2009), by Dhiradj Ramsamoedj
3:6….Kibii Wi (“Protect Us”), based on a photograph by Christopher Cozier of the Moiwana Monument, designed by Marcel Pinas