Encounter (2022)


Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Education Project at Readytex Art Gallery (RAG)

Together with Rinaldo Klas and Kurt Nahar, I was involved in encountering group 9 students from four schools. The schools were: Mathoora school in Saramacca, Marinus van Doorn Mulo in Wanica, Imaam Abu Hanifa school in Paramaribo and VOJ Debi Sahaiweg in Saramacca. Even though each artist was linked to a school, we went hand in hand with each other throughout the entire process. The themes were: unMASKing: what’s behind your mask? MAMIO: connection with your inner child, innocence, fantasy. The role of grandmothers in your life. Environment in relation to Staatsolie. Rinaldo Klas kicked off and each school visited RAG during a week. Because it was so much fun, at least two of the artists were always present.

So coincidental!

It turned out to be 17 enthusiastic days at RAG. After that, a workshop was held at each school. The artist associated with the school was the main facilitator of the groups and supported the others. It was fun, and two videos from Americans for the Arts (a memory from participating in IVLP) were shown to the kids.

But not only the children are so enthusiastic. The artists, the project leaders, two beginning artists who are supporting, the staff of RAG, the teachers and school principals… all dare to express their childish enthusiasm. The impact is great, and the output is as follows: the result is partly used to build a work of art in each school and the rest becomes a joint document that can be seen in RAG during the month of April.

I was once at the school I was assigned to. I wasn’t nice then. The project offered me the opportunity to make amends with that school, which went like this: with the students connected from our inner child, we imagined the heart of the school in an installation of almost 120 wooden and concrete cubes; decorated with words and images. It didn’t just feel good. I also thought “this is really a liberation”. I also quietly knew that there were other schools where I was not a kind student.