Readytex Art Gallery welcomes you at ‘Kumbat’tey’, an exhibition of visual artist John Lie A Fo. It is after 35 years that this artist who lives and works in French Guyana since 1983, once again has a solo exhibition in Suriname, his country of birth. He is eager and ready for it! Because this is after all the country his heart belongs to. It is the country where his ‘Kumbat’tey’ (umbilical cord) lies buried, and the culture, the rituals and the traditions of Suriname have always remained his main sources of inspiration. Lie A Fo left Suriname for the Netherlands when he was just 15 years old. As an adventurer, a musician and an artist, he traveled, lived and worked through and in Europe for many years. When he left Europe for good in the late seventies, because the desire to return to his tropical roots could no longer be ignored, he spent several years living in Suriname. In the early 80’s however, he chose to leave Suriname once again. In 1983 he finally settled in French Guyana, not too far away from home.
His work is exhibited regularly in French-Guyana, in Europe and the Caribbean, and the last few months were spent enthusiastically working on the new works of art for his exhibition here in Suriname. And as usual, that enthusiasm can easily be read from his canvases. The explosions of color, the bold imagery and the uncurtailed expressiveness in the work of this artist will hold the attention and fuel the imagination of viewers for quite some time to come. The short multi-lingual texts or words that Lie A Fo adds to his images have a profound effect as well. They are either enlightening or they raise questions. This makes the work even more fascinating, oftentimes adding a hint of mystery. Lie A Fo is driven entirely by his feelings and by his passion for the culture, the traditions and the rituals of his country. Rituals and symbols of the Maroons, the Indigenous and the Javanese are all represented in this collection. In one painting he also pays specific attention to Chinese culture. And although the cultural elements will undoubtedly be recognizable for some, his work is not a literal portrayal of those cultures.
His imagery, just like his own personality, is characterized by exuberant, free and unrestrained expression. He is in no way constrained by reality, but gives free reign to his creativity and his imagination, which often results in compositions containing elements that are somewhat playful, surprising and even a bit unexpected. And in addition to culture, the collection also deals with other subjects that Lie A Fo is interested in or concerned with. His paintings include birds, free in nature, the disabled children that he works with in French Guyana and the painful subject of the child-slaves in Haiti. As the artist says: “Everything I do, is where I live, is who I am, and what I am. But I do it in my own way!”
Team Readytex Art Gallery and artist John Lie A Fo wish you much viewing pleasure at the exhibition ‘Kumbat’tey’.
‘Kumbat’tey’ is on display in Readytex Art Gallery at the Steenbakkerijstraat 30, from Friday the 7th until Saturday the 15th of April, on Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm and on Saturday from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm. Extra opening hours in the evenings on Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th of April from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.