The Kibi wi totem art installation
The totem poles from artist Marcel Pinas have been created with the purpose of contributing to the cause of protecting the Surinamese interior from negative outside influences. It is usually these outside influences which destroy the communities within our interior, and we need to be careful in guarding ourselves against them.
The totem installation consists of 25 totem poles fabricated from metal barrels.
The totem poles are embellished with texts out of the traditional AFAKA script, symbols
originating from the wood engraving tradition of the maroons, and motives from Indian culture. These texts and symbols have been cut out of aluminum plates and are attached to the metal barrels.
The AFAKA script was created by a man from the maroon tribe of the Aucaners in the Tapanahony area in the beginning of the twentieth century, and was meant as a way of secret communication for the members of his tribe.
The totem poles have a length of 5 meters and a diameter of 90 cm and are secured into the ground with pins/pegs through their base. The 25 totem poles will be temporarily positioned in a specific composition throughout the lawn of the Fort Zeelandia Museum.
The purpose of this art object is multi faceted, and can be summarized as follows:
1 Increase the exposure of the community to modern art in a different way then only in drawings and paintings.
2 Display art, instead of in museums and galleries alone, in such a way so that every
average person in Suriname can enjoy it.
3 Increase the sense of responsibility within the community with regards to the environment and our interior, which is part of the valuable Amazon Rainforest. Furthermore the people in our interior such as the maroons and the native Indians need to be regarded with the same respect as every other inhabitant of the country. They have after all, the same right as everybody else to a healthy living environment.
4 Appreciation for own culture and self respect.
5 Cultural education.
6 Initiate a process of awareness.
7 Fight against crime.
The totems all have their own unique message, some of which are: preservation of the tropical rainforest, preservation of our cultural heritage, better educational possibilities, adequate infrastructure, equal rights, property rights, healthy drinking water, adequate housing, employment, etc.
These are the plights and the problems the inhabitants in the interior of Suriname
are confronted with daily.
After the initial period of exhibition at the Fort Zeelandia Museum, the totem poles will be permanently placed at five important entrance points to the interior of Suriname. The chosen locations are, Albina, Moengo, Para, Nickerie and Coppename point. There they will stand to symbolically protect the interior of our country against all negative outside influences. This initiative originates from the maroon tradition of placing totem poles at the village entrance to protect it against all incoming evil.
With this project the artist hopes to contribute to the aesthetic value of the different districts and he also hopes to gain the attention of the public for the multitude of problems facing our rainforest and the inhabitants of the interior.