BIGI SPIKRI – Reflecting on the cultural and social significance of head coverings

BIGI SPIKRI – Reflecting on the cultural and social significance of head coverings

In October, Readytex Art Gallery presents yet another fascinating and new group exhibition. It is the last in the series of three for which Sri Irodikromo has been assigned the role of curator. In BIGI SPIKRI (large mirror) Sri highlights as she always does, our various cultures and traditions, but this time she places the emphasis on how they are manifested through different types of head coverings.

In Sri’s search for a theme for her last curatorial task within the ALAKONDRE: A Space in Time project, the focus on the subject of headdress, took shape gradually. An important factor was the work of visual artist Reinier Asmoredjo, whom she had already chosen as ‘Local Master’. In his compositions, women with headscarves or angisa often play a key role, after all. Guest artists Peter Holman and Sarojini Lewis indicated very early on, and independently of each other, that they wanted to present works of art about respectively the angisa and the traditional orhni (veil) of Hindustani women. Thus, the choice for the main theme quickly became clear. In her own art, Sri herself often incorporates graceful head pieces from the Javanese Wajang, Indigenous people with their beautiful headdress and also quite regularly, women in colorful koto and angisa. Another consideration that cannot be ignored nowadays, is the personal, cultural or traditional meaning that is attached to head coverings and the social discussion this leads to in certain communities around the world. In this exhibition for example, the politically and socially critical artist Kurt Nahar shows work that specifically reacts to this issue.

The third guest artist in BIGI SPIKRI is Clerence Ranoesetiko. In addition to Reinier Asmoredjo, Kurt Nahar and Sri Irodikromo herself, other Readytex Art Gallery artists included in the exhibition are: John Lie A Fo, Kenneth Flijders, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi, Leonnie van Eert, Miguel Keerveld, René Tosari, Rinaldo Klas, Shaundell Horton and Wilgo Vijfhoven. Their work attests of the important role that artists play in critical dialogues and in the visual documentation and preservation of cultural aspects and elements that are in danger of slowly being lost. It is in that regard, also quite fitting that Sri took her inspiration for the title of the exhibition BIGI SPIKRI from a passage in the beautiful book Angisa Tori by Christine van Russel-Henar. It describes a fashion show in the late 60s, initiated by the nationalist poet DOBRU to stimulate appreciation for the traditional creole dress, the koto. Dobru, a word artist who also stood at the basis of the concept of Alakondre, presented the show under the name Bigi Spikri. “This was a significant reference to the Saramacca Street, the neighborhood that was known by this name around 1900. Bigi spikri, large mirror, took its name from the custom of the women who lived in the backyards there, to often sit outside by the street in the afternoons, to critically appraise all passers-by and then frankly comment on their appearance.” In addition to this wonderful piece of history, for Sri the title also carries a message of self-reflection. “Look at yourself first, before speaking about or judging others.” Because in the BIGI SPIKRI of an Alakondre community, everyone is free to show him or herself as he or she wants, with or without hat, cap, scarf or veil. And how relevant is that message elsewhere in our world today …

You are most welcome at the opening of BIGI SPIKRI in Readytex Art Gallery on Thursday October 6, between 7:00 and 9:00 pm. After this, the exhibition can then be visited from Friday October 7 – Saturday October 29, during the regular opening hours of the gallery, from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm and on Saturday from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm.

We look forward to your visit.

Team Readytex Art Gallery