Readytex Art Gallery is pleased to invite you to come see and above all experience a special new art installation by visual artist Kurt Nahar. In the room sized installation put together on the second floor of the gallery, the artist pays tribute to the victims of the turbulent history of slavery. He bases his installation, titled The Nene Rituals, on a very tragic and impactful event from the history of slavery in Suriname. With calabashes and other traditional and symbolic objects he commemorates the victims of the tragedy of the slave ship Leusden, which slowly sank off the mouth of the Marowijne River in Suriname, in 1738. The ship was loaded full with captured Africans, of whom 664 drowned after they were deliberately locked in the hold before the ship sank. In addition to the ship’s crew, 16 African captives who had remained abovedeck survived the disaster.
With the title The Nene Rituals, Nahar refers to the Nene, which is how the enslaved woman who took care of the small children of the other enslaved, was called. With his installation the artist aims to draw attention to the great injustice done to all our enslaved ancestors. And since bringing an ode to the ancestors involves various Surinamese Winti traditions that originate from authentic African culture, these have an important place in the installation as well. But he also includes broader and other related visual inquiries about Caribbean descent, identity, skin color, language and religion – issues he has been increasingly occupied with in recent years – in the installation. He invites visitors to write their own special message or ode to the ancestors on the pieces of paper supplied by the gallery, which may then be placed in any calabash in the installation.
The installation The Nene Rituals was formally opened on April 9th with a poignant performance by spoken word artist Obed Kanapé and short speeches by author Cynthia McLeod and the assistant director of the department of Culture Clifton Braam. Kurt Nahar was able to create this installation thanks in part to the funds within the 2021 DVCAI Catalyst Award that he received late last year from Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI), in Miami.
The artwork will remain on display until May 29th 2021, during the regular opening hours of the gallery: Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm and on Saturday from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm. For your safety as well as ours, Readytex Art Gallery observes the necessary COVID-19 measures. We hope that you will soon make the time to come experience this striking art installation.