De zoon van de opperman ontmoet de Granman.*

The son of a Hodman* from Amsterdam meets the Granman (of the Saramaca – Sipiliwini district.)

the 21th augustus 2012.

Almost 3 months I have lived and worked in Botopasi a village in Suriname founded by Marons, runaway Slaves of this Former Colony of the Netherlands in those good-old-days of the VOC……

…..and yo-ho-hoooo and a bottle of rum…!!

Some people have a hard time finding this country even with google-maps because it is sqeezed in between Brits Guiana and French Guiana…..

Paramaribo is the Capital and Fort Zeelandia is “smack” in the middle of the Government Buildings..

The political situation in this Land is not so good at the moment, the international reputation of (former) President Bouterse is harmful for the education of its people and their children’s children and for generations to come.

The war between village against village still carries the scars on its children…..

Fort Zeelandia…..carries a heavy burden from the past

..het Suriname Museum, where would go to make an installation inside this Fort, Founded by the British,,,,, taken over by the Dutch, traded it a long time ago. For New York even!!)…In this fort that has been the home of ancient and recently tragedies…… Wim Vonk and two other artists; Marja van Putten and Isidoor Wens would showed their artwork made in the jungle, ….in Botopasi…..

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I like to live dangerously…..people around me know that very well…..butt I had my daughts about going there on forehand and for such a long time…!!!!

Three months was a long time to be away from ones home and family…..being poisoned by an unknown glowing insect, or bug…survived swimming in the river…and actually worked and lived in the house of Niels, close by the parents of Isidoor….his mother has become 80 when we arrived…

We celebrated her birthday ….and we survived by staying in the good hands of Isidoor Wens….the former of ARTCEB……….

Wow …..this is a long way to come back to the beginning:

The son of a hodman* who is now grown up to be an (early)retired professor at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.was sitting in the house of the Granman not as a tourist but as a teacher in Art and also being an Artist himself.

We didn’t speak any word together, it all was in Saramacaans……a difficult language and we had to do it with Isidoor’s translation.

While I was sitting there………I thought about my father and mother and that they also had followed a dream on time…….they came back however as disappointed emigrants to Australia in the early sixties……..

My own father hardly knew how to read and write…..and was in his twenties when he made me.

World War II just ended I was born on 12-4-1950. in de Polanenstraat in Amsterdam ….

My own childhood in Australia made have triggered my career as an artist and in a strange way also how I become a self-made teacher in Art……going for it…to follow your dreams.

If you have a dream….don’t hesitate…go for it …..beware however that dreams don’t come through….no matter what you do or how hard you try…..but …..the travel is the dream comes alive,

The present is part of that dream…..

All this and more I was thinking about , sitting there, getting pretty warm…….but I felt honoured in a way also not only to sit with the GranMan but also being ME….

And Although I am just as that insect that bit me…….

just trying to survive, trying to live my life…… following my dream, playing with it in every way I can …..an artist is a man or a female of all trades…that’s why they can adept rather good in any habitat,

…..Artists all over the world are struggling to survive,,,, other artists are partying in Heaven …

….or the Urban Jungle where we live in…..here in Den Bosch or ….in

Amsterdam…….my home town ….and the home of the newly opened Stedelijk Museum….7 years it has been closed……that’s a child lifetime…!!!!

Not being able to show and teach the children of Amsterdam about Contemporary Art is a crime and will carry its scars for generations to come……I am not so proud of my hometown anymore as I use to be I am sad to say ……

Off course I felt honoured that I could show our Queen the Graduation show in the RAI when the GRA celebrated its 80th birthday…. and I blushed when she recognized me at the Palace on the Dam the next year at the Royal Painters Price, that was won by a student of mine Marja van der Heijden……and the wife of Jan Starken ….also student….but that’s an other story….

We go back to Paramaribo, after our stay in Botopasi to do an art show in the Suriname Museum in Paramaribo…..and a big article in the newspaper……with fat-printed letters “ * NORMEN EN WAARDEN WEG UIT BOTOPASI…..

Normen en waarden! Wormen en Maden zul je bedoelen….But I don’t know if you can say that out loud in Den Bosch….s-Hertogenbosch the home of Isidoor Wens and Artots….A project space where I have done a show in 2007? .. and now in October of this year.

Isidoor blames me sometimes, that I gave him the idea of setting up the artist in residency in Botopasi.

 

It will be the first time I will meet most of the people that participated ARTCEB program last year,

I have still no idea of what I will bring or show, …it depends if the work will arrive on time coming over by ship…..

I am also curious to meet the other artists and hear about the effect it had on their work to stay in Botopasi one year ago.

 

Intermezzo:

De tentoonstelling in Fort Zeelandia heeft bij mij tal van lastige vragen opgeroepen…..waar ik niet zo een twee drie een antwoord op heb….maarrrr op een van die vragen had ik op voorhand direct een antwoord: Nee…!!!

Ik ga mijn werk niet tentoonstellen in het Suriname Museum als Mijnheer Bouterse het overneemt, (zie artikel in de Volkskrant) die mijnheer dreigde het museum op te eisen i.v.m. en andere bestemming. Tijdens ons gesprek met de directeur van het museum Laddy van Putten kwam dit artikel ook ter sprake.  Voordat we naar Botopasi vertrokken, was er niets vernomen over de bovengenoemde plannen, en in drie maanden kan er veel gebeuren….                    Ik vond het een bijzondere ervaring om daar te exposeren, laat daar geen misverstand over bestaan, maar de spanning die er momenteel heerst is voelbaar.          Hoe de hr. L.van Putten en zijn bewonderenswaardige secretaresse het Suriname Museum vormgeven is zeer prijzenswaardig en ik ben er trots op er mijn steentje toe hebben bijgedragen maar ondanks de persoonlijke felicitaties van de directeur van de Nola Hatterman Academie voor mijn tekeningen voorzie ik grote problemen als er niet meer samenwerking komt, niet alleen van de hier bovengenoemde gerenommeerde instituten, maar ook met wel of niet gesubsidieerde Kunstenaarsinitiatieven.     Het doet me denken aan het eilandenrijk wat de Gerrit Rietveld Academie was en nog steeds is.             Samenwerking en overleg zijn absoluut noodzakelijk voor het behoud van Kunst en Cultuur en dienen geen partijpolitiek.  Een voorbeeld uit de praktijk? ……..Tijdens de inrichting raakte ik in gesprek met de Mevrouw die in FortZeelandia de planten water geeft….haar naam is me even ontschoten., maar zij heeft ook in het grijze verleden de GRA doorlopen, (toentertijd Instituut voor Kunst Nijverheid) en vertelde mij dat Tijmen van Grootheest de huidige directeur van de GRA “kind aan huis was” …..mijn mond viel open van verbazing, omdat ik voordien niet eerder van zowel het Suriname Museum als van de Nola Hatterman Academie had gehoord…..(Er blijkt nog een officiële Kunst Academie in Paramaribo te bestaan)….but thats an other story….

We go back a year ago:

That was a very difficult time for me because I was in “conflict” with the GRA about my “retirement” It still took till 1-01-20012 to came to a settlement by law(ers). After 27 years being pushed aside like this is not a very social thing to do.

(“For Whom the Bell Tolls “ een boek van Hemmingway voor het eerst gepubliceerd in 1940)

This title comes to mind when I start talking about the GRA, for the last 8 or 9 years ago former colleagues and the director have made it impossible for me to continue teaching there. The last Tekenlab. I did was in cooperation with Het Harde Potlood (a drawings collective) in 2011

I am still working on a project I started in 2008, 27 books about my time teaching at the GRA.

This Artproject that will be completed in 2015 when I became 65 and can enjoy my pension….

My time in Suriname and the “aftermath” of this event will find its place and form in those 27 books

GRAIK= the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and Me……….
GRAman= GRAIK