Paramaribo SPAN is a conversation about contemporary art and visual culture in Suriname: “It examines the work of a range of contemporary artists, but also maps the whole creative space in which they work— images and sounds of contemporary Suriname, the urban topography of Paramaribo, literary perspectives, intersections with the wider Caribbean region.” This project “seeks to start a creative dialogue about individual artists’ imaginative sovereignty, about public space and vernacular forms, about new media, about artists’ slippery negotiations with the local and the global, and about possible future directions.” This ambitious project will conclude with an exhibition in Paramaribo in February 2010, accompanied by a book published in three language editions. The project is, in part, a culmination of the ArtRoPa initiative, a four-year series of exchanges between artists based in Paramaribo and Rotterdam, intended to promote creative dialogue between these very different locations which are nonetheless linked by elements of history, culture, and language.
The Paramaribo SPAN blog offers a wealth of striking images (photography, painting, and other visual artwork) and excellent writing (review essays, interviews, diary entries, musings) that come together to offer an intricate collage of Suriname’s rich and diverse artistic production and urban landscape. This blog “is at once a journal, an archive, and an independent creative undertaking. It will run for approximately eight months, from July 2009 until the end of the Paramaribo SPAN exhibition in March 2010, and thereafter become an online archive of the project.”
The creative Paramaribo SPAN crew—curators Christopher Cozier and Thomas Meijer zu Schlochtern, contributing writers Chandra van Binnendijk, Marieke Visser, project coordinator Ann Hermelijn, and blog editor Nicholas Laughlin— come from Suriname, the Netherlands, and Trinidad. Their title, Paramaribo SPAN, is an extraordinary choice, but I will let the readers discover this on their own (remember to check out the various definitions of the word “span” in Dutch, English, and Sranan).
See Paramaribo SPAN (also on our list of links) at http://paramaribospan.blogspot.com/
Photo by Nicholas Laughlin: Wolly’s ice cart, decorated with portraits of Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela (corner of Domineestraat and Steenbakkerijstraat, outside the Hotel Krasnapolsky).