Visual artist Soeki Irodikromo has much to celebrate. In June he had his 70th birthday, he is a happy family man, father and grandfather, and he has up till now, a career of approximately 50 years and an impressive oeuvre to look back upon. Furthermore, after many months of intense work, he has just completed a fascinating new collection of art works. It is indeed the perfect occasion to once again place this master artist, one from the first generation of renowned Surinamese visual artists, in the limelight in a large solo exhibition. This special exhibition in celebration of Soeki Irodikromo, very appropriately named Bigiyari, will be held in Readytex Art Gallery from the 24th of July until August 1st.
The work of Soeki Irodikromo in Bigiyari is surprising. His previous work consists primarily of bold, multifaceted abstract compositions created with a pallet knife, in which the theme is artfully incorporated. The most recent pieces in this new collection however, communicate his theme in a more direct, more realistic way, with brushstrokes applied more deliberately onto the canvas. This new development does not mean that the expressive, signature ‘Soeki-style’ has been completely replaced. A significant part of the collection still shows the impulsive, abstract compositions that we are used to seeing from Soeki, but as the date for his exhibition drew near, the artist gave in to a strong urge to portray his subjects more realistically.
The result is a fascinating series of artworks in which a subtle tension can be felt between the familiar fierce strokes and the new more controlled technique.
Colorful traditional clothing, graceful dance movements and beautiful faces, characterize the last works of the new collection. The graceful dancers do also bring back memories of his earlier batik works. Ceramics are also part of this special presentation and the passion and skill of the artist are strongly displayed through this medium as well.
In each work of art it is Soeki’s love for Suriname that clearly takes central stage. His admiration for the beauty of the various cultural expressions, in form, color, detail and movement, are indeed the most important source of inspiration in all that he creates. His passionate dedication to all the beauty and special qualities that unite us as a nation, and his explicit need to share this and his knowledge with others, make him so special as a person, an artist and as a Surinamese national. His mission remains unchanged: “I am fascinated with all the beautiful things of our different cultures. We must realize that all of us, regardless of background or culture, are first and foremost Surinamese. Of course you need to value and preserve your culture, but I for example don’t consider myself in the first place Javanese. I am Surinamese. I admire everything from Suriname and that is what I show with my work.” And indeed, in Bigiyari the artist very clearly celebrates his pride to be Surinamese. That pride, the joy and the strength that the artist and his work exude, are contagious. Everyone is invited to come experience this.
Bigiyari is open until Saturday August 1st in Readytex Art Gallery at the Steenbakkerijstraat 30.
Opening hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm