Mini-feature John Lie A Fo
January 28 – February 10, 2010
Opening on the 28 of January in the Readytex Art Gallery is the First mini-feature for this new year of 2010. In this feature the gallery presents a wonderful selection of recent and some older Works of art by artist John Lie A Fo. Lie A Fo is well known in various European and American countries for his expressive, culturally and spiritually oriented art based upon the traditions of the indigenous and maroon population in his homeland of Suriname.
As a teenager John Lie A Fo leaves Suriname for the Netherlands and spends the next several years travelling and working in several countries in Europe. In the late sixties he is introduced to the art world and he soon decides that this is where his own future lies. He starts his formal art education in Belgium at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten - Royal Academy for Fine Arts and later continuous his education at the Vrije Academie – Free Academy in the Hague in the Netherlands. The draw to the tropics however, becomes increasingly strong. He moves back to Suriname, but shortly thereafter when the political situation in the country becomes turbulent in the eighties, he moves back to the Netherlands. Still longing for the tropics, the artist ultimately decides to move to our neighboring country French Guyana where he still currently lives.
Lie A Fo is particularly interested in the traditional cultures of the indigenous peoples and the maroons and has in fact done quite a bit of research on the subject. In his art he incorporates several elements from these traditional cultures, but he is especially fascinated by the unique balance that exists within these traditional communities between the natural and the spiritual World. Rituals and all related traditional implements and artifacts from the Indigenous - and the Maroon tribes are the main theme in the majority of his art. The style is usually abstract and the execution impulsive, sometimes even appearing almost childlike, but the compositions always have a profound and powerful effect.
In this mini-feature the artist paints on canvas and on paper with acrylic paint and other multimedia techniques, primarily of the spiritual rites of the maroon communities in the interior of Suriname. Bottles, snakes, sculptures and other spiritual objects and artifacts, tell the magical stories of a World where natural and the spiritual aspects are undeniably interwoven.
Not only the traditional cultures of his tropical surroundings keep John Lie A Fo occupied however, but also its beautiful nature has his special attention. The precarious relationship between man and nature is also clearly portrayed in his art. In this mini-feature it is the threat formed by man and society to the endangered sea turtle species who lay their eggs on the tropical beaches, that is portrayed. A poacher in the process of robbing a nest from its recently laid sea turtle eggs and an ill and weakened sea turtle washed ashore, all tangled up in the nets of an irresponsible fisherman together with human garbage. The typical style of Lie A Fo is equally recognizable, but these pieces are painted more realistically. The emotions are easily read from the realistic facial expressions and the theme is clear and easily understood by all.
The Works of art in this mini-feature by John Lie A Fo are bound to make the local viewer more aware and conscious of the wealth in cultural and natural heritage present in our tropical homeland. The work inspires respect and admiration for both and spreads the important message that we as humans should cherish and protect all of this that is so uniquely our own.