Photography Exhibition: “Wedding Portraits 1868–1950, Lobi fu têgo”

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“Wedding Portraits 1868–1950, Lobi fu têgo” is an exhibition focusing on photos of Surinamese couples taken between 1868 and 1950. Curated by Lucia Nankoe, these photos show the cultural diversity of Suriname. Nankoe is also the editor (with Gerard Sweep and Jean Jacques Vrij) of the book Trouwportretten. Surinaamse voorouders in beeld, Album 1846-1950 [Wedding Portraits. Surinamese ancestors in photographs, Album 1846-1950]. Selections of these photos are on view in eight branches of De Surinaamsche Bank in Paramaribo, Lelydorp, and Nickerie (Suriname) through November 26, 2019. Here are excerpts from the press release:

An exhibition with photos of Surinamese couples, sometimes with a mixed background, made on a special day in their lives. The couples come from different tiers of the population and parts of the world. The photos give a striking picture of the period in which the marriages were concluded. Usually the bride and groom are in the picture together, in some cases alone, because they are married by proxy. Often the newlyweds are surrounded by family members, friends, bridesmaids, and flower girls. They are at home, in the yard or in a studio, in western or traditional clothing and usually with lots of flowers around them.

The oldest photo of the exhibition dates from 1868. The bride and groom were still born in the slavery period. The last photos are from 1950, when the Surinamese population had become even more diverse due to immigration. The photos also show the important role of emigration. Even before the Second World War, Surinamese traveled to all corners of the world. For example, the relationship with the Netherlands, the Caribbean islands and the former Dutch East Indies is clearly visible.

The people who made the photos available for the exhibition often knew a lot about the parents and grandparents in the photos. The short stories can be read with the photos. In more than a quarter of these stories, the lovers encountered objections from the community / family to marriage because of differences in origin or religion. They did not yield to the pressure and followed the path of their heart.

Even more photos and the more extensive stories of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can be read in the book that was recently published. Thanks to their willing cooperation, the exhibition and the book were realized.

Lucia Nankoe, initiator and curator: “The exhibition shows the cultural diversity of Suriname and also the unity that manifests itself through a commitment between loved ones. In this way, it can contribute to a new political climate, in which the focus on differences will gradually shift to the emphasis on what binds us.” [. . .]

For more information you can mail to Lucia Nankoe:

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