Readytex Art Gallery is proud to participate in the Atlantic World Art Fair 2022. Our collection, curated from the concept ‘magic in visual conversation,’ continues to explore the diverse and inclusive narratives that Surinamese visual artists so naturally engage in.
Press release (Scroll down to read curator’s essay)
Readytex Art Gallery eagerly enters into this new and important collaboration with again a group of ambitious creatives from the greater Caribbean region. After the valuable experience gained at last year’s Atlantic World Art Fair (AWAF) on Artsy, the largest global online art marketplace, we recognize more than ever the strength and potential impact of our combined efforts on behalf of Caribbean art and artists. Once again under the meticulous direction of Lisa Howie from Black Pony Gallery in Bermuda, and with the support of lead sponsor Butterfield, AWAF 2022 presents 12 galleries and art projects focused on talented contemporary artists from the Caribbean, the Atlantic islands and the region’s wider diasporas. Please read the full AWAF press release here.
Readytex Art Gallery’s curatorial concept takes its cue from the current year-long project executed at the gallery in collaboration with curator-in-residence Miguel Keerveld, called: ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time. As the lead curator for Readytex Art Gallery’s presentation at AWAF 2022, Keerveld requested that the participating artists have a conversation with their artistic intention framed as ‘An Other’. In his curatorial essay which you can read below (scroll down to read complete essay), he states for example that “As Caribbean, we are civic nationalists in an unterritorial ‘place’: a space in which all are ‘Others’. Where ‘The Other’ in European imagination pressures to choose either liberalism or nationalism, in the Caribbean we are both at the same time”. Summarizing his concept as ‘magic in visual conversation’ he thus challenges artist and viewer alike, to give deliberate and thoughtful consideration to their interpretations of ‘An Other’ and to open themselves up to conversations that intersect the human and the other-than-human.
As a result, Readytex Art Gallery’s booth presents an eye catching and diverse collection of 30 artworks by these 16 visual artists: Reinier Asmoredjo, Paul Chang, Leonnie van Eert, Sri Irodikromo, Kenneth Flijders, Shaundell Horton, Kurt Nahar, Miguel Keerveld, Rinaldo Klas, John Lie A Fo, Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, Xavier Robles de Medina, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, René Tosari, Steven Towirjo, and Wilgo Vijfhoven.
We proudly present these talented creatives from Suriname alongside all the other artists united in the Atlantic World Art Fair. AWAF 2022 is available on Artsy from April 20 – May 5, 2022. Please enjoy, and let us know how we may serve you!
Team Readytex Art Gallery
Complexity isn’t just a 21st century thing. The entanglement of culture and nature within human has always been complex. Where ‘modern’ people may experience life as biological, ‘primitive’ people acknowledged life in conversation beyond bodies. I think they understood correlations such as biological-spiritual and geological-cosmological, in which notions of knowing and unknowing are in both art and technology. To what extent is postmodernity willing to find life beyond chemical reactions, and acknowledge alchemical forms of life? In pursuit of an earth based desire that I refer to as ‘deeep blue’, I am in conversation with artists from Readytex Art Gallery. I sense existence beyond the body because “spirituality is the ability to interpret and integrate meaning and life through non-sensory events and experiences occurring with the aid of intuition in harmonious collaboration with other dimensions” (Van der Maesen, 2010).
TEXT Miguel E. Keerveld, Curator-in-Residence for the project ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time in collaboration with Readytex Art Gallery (RAG).
Performing magic in visual conversation
A desire that drives man to seek something beyond his pain, anxiety, and sorrow is magic. What we describe as magic is something nameless and beyond alleged quality and time (Neslo, 1998). In exploring alakondre, Alida Neslo argues: “while moving from the comfort zone to new context, you can meet or bring about remarkable things due to astonishment, almost in a religious sense”, considering her use of the word religious in etymological sense. Re-ligare: to reconnect and recreate possibilities. She knows that this effort requires to learn each other’s vocabulary, and uses one of her students’ quotes: “You don’t have to feel admiration for the religion or political point of view of another person, not even appreciation; only understanding is necessary to get down to business. That is simply the only way to go in a free society where EVERYONE has equal rights.”
In the pursuit of naming our artistic desires, at RAG we refer to alakondre-fasi. Alakondre, consisting of natural and cultural phenomena,is not translatable; fasi islingua franca in Suriname for method. This all-inclusive space “borrows from Native American shamanism, Hindu, and other traditions with many incorporating Kabbalistic practices, chakras etc”. In this plurality of beliefs “we see ourselves, in part, as Gods and Goddesses” (Oringderff & Schaefer, 2001). Even though alakondre originates from winti (a hybridbelief in Suriname based on African, Native American, and European systems), we specifically focus on alakondre beyond winti because we rather perform it as art-place relation in a ‘socio-natural collective’ context (De la Cadena, 2015): a network that includes mankind and beyond.
How anthropology uses time, it constitutes its own object –the savage, the primitive, The Other. But there is no knowledge of uses of The Other, which are also temporal, historical, and political. The anthropological use of time recounts a story whose conclusion is open-ended, contrary, and oppressive. Different degrees of this universalization of time are achieved in the Renaissance. But“universal appears to have two connotations”: totality and generality. In totality, “universal designates the whole world at all times”, and generality is “that which is applicable to many instances” (Fabian, 2014). Does the ambiguous alakondre consist of both connotations of ‘universal time’? In alakondre, we do not understand ‘universal time’ since it relates to the Enlightenment genre of ‘Philosophical History’ (Fabian, 2014). Our focus of time relates to mamio, quilting in Suriname,as ahistorical space and it conjures a capability that allows material, object, and meaning to exist beyond the canon of art history. We experience spatialization of Other in alakondre; a technology for futuristic political practice.
As Caribbean, we are civic nationalists in an unterritorial ‘place’: a space in which all are Others. Where The Other in European imagination pressures to choose either liberalism or nationalism, in the Caribbean we are both at the same time. Opposite to this agency, the European agent e.g., is fixed with ‘race nationalist’ fantasies (Harari, 2021). To perform citizenship beyond this agent we encounter each other all as An Other and as ‘art of seduction’, because “alakondre is not ‘the holy place’ that brings about miracles, but the ‘journey towards it” (Neslo, 1998). Our understanding of Other is beyond anthropology, since anthropology has failed to come to a clearly defined Other (Fabian, 2014). Therefore, the project ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time aims at conversations that intersect the human and the other-than-human.
Other-than-human beings, such as earth-beings, are diverse. In the Andes these entities are known as apu. They participate in the lives of those who call themselves runakanu, people (usually monolingual Quechua speakers) who actively partake in modern institutions that cannot know, let alone recognize, tirakanu (a composite noun made of tierra, the Spanish word for ‘earth’, and pluralized with the Quechua suffix kuna) and apukuna –the plural of apu (De la Cadena, 2015). I also find other-than-human beings in nation-states, corporations, artificial intelligence, and artworks among others. Wondering if these manmade ‘bodies’ could function as spatiality to house entities, I requested artists participating in the Atlantic World Art Fair 2022 (AWAF-22) for RAG to have a conversation with their artistic intention framed as An Other; in fact, to name something that is nameless. I also think of wicca for this process.
As earth-based religion, wicca is a Neo-Pagan mystery: ‘Witchcraft’ (magic). The modern interpretation of this ancient tribal concept of Northern Europe is based on remnants of an earlier religion before the takeover of Christianity. Wicca’s Latin roots refer to ‘wise one’ or ‘wisdom’ and its German roots mean ‘to bend’, ‘change’ or ‘alter’; it implies creating change by wise people, in our lives and in the universe. “Wiccans see the Devine Reality as at once a unity of masculine and feminine entities that define a transcendental Divinity and as polar masculine and feminine aspects that define all things and all phenomena and can be experienced immanently” (Oringderff & Schaefer, 2001). In a similar manner, I feel that apu and alakondre are desires within earth’s auric space. For earth’s auric space, I refer to deeep blue and I acknowledge this ecology as intersection of anthropology, geology/biology, and cosmology.
For AWAF-22, we pursue conversations within the context of deeep blue. Therefore, artists from RAG are welcoming a diverse ecology of Others. These Others are: My Alter-ego on A Journey, Nighttime Glory, Charles, Re-manifestation of Code Noir, Our Environment, My Grandmother, Suriname, Untold Immigrant Stories, Another Identity, The Canvas, The Moon, The Surinamese Women, Ancestor Honoring, My Unity in Diversity, and Capitalist Industrialization Rooted in Colonization.
- Van der Maesen R., Terugkeer van de ziel; naar een vierdimensionaal mensbeeld
- Neslo A., Alakondre: A journey to the Invisible
- Oringderff D. & Schaefer R., Spiritual Philosophy and Practice of Wicca in the U.S. Military
- De la Cadena M., Earth Beings: ecologies of practices across Andean Worlds
- Fabian J., Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object
- Harari Y., The War in Ukraine & the Future of the World