Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Dineke Blom – Dutch/Surinamese – and her affection for Dutch paintings from the 17th century


What took me by surprise back then, and what I tried to articulate in my answer, is that I was surprised that someone would be surprised that someone “with my background”, angry with and personally hurt by colonialism and slavery, could have an affectionate relationship with Dutch paintings from the 17th century. And yet, I feel at home with Pieter de Hooch’s The Country Cottage. I also feel at home at Paramaribo’s Waterkant. Both places pull me in with equal intensity, as if by teleportation. Both emotions: affection and anger towards two opposite phenomenons from one and the same historical period do not rule each other out, they coexist. Inside me there is no opposition. There is no true opposition.

Artist Dineke Blom tries to answer the question how an artist with a Surinamese background can have an affectionate relationship with Dutch art from the 17th century.
Landscape, 2003

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Mental Health in Black Art

Redefining Mental Illness

Being able to express oneself without words is a powerful tool in making wellbeing accessible for those without the confidence to voice how they feel. Experiencing emotions vicariously through other’s work, whether they are your own emotions reflected or new ways to empathise with others, is a priceless gift. And in the economics of health, art is a valuable currency which has an international value.

Christabel Johanson on Mental Health in Black Art
Tsoku Maela, redifining mental illness

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Girmachew Getnet


I come from a country, Ethiopia, that was never colonized. I want to pass on my love and respect to my companions who went to war against colonization and defeated Italy. Today I am proud of these people and being Ethiopian, but I have never forgotten that I am also African. And the rest of Africa was colonized. People in the colonized countries lost their original name, tradition, culture, language and religion. All this has been changed by Western cultures.

Girmachew Getnet in conversation with Rob Perrée

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The ‘Man, Mask and Myth’ project of Solomon Ona Irein Wangboje


Man is the centre of the universe. His endless struggle for security and survival has created room for myths about life and death as well as other unforeseen circumstances that control his existence. These myths have resulted in practices in traditional African societies where the mask is believed to have magico-religious powers and can be used to ward off evil spirits. The traditional artist is thus motivated to create the appropriate mask to serve the desired functions in his society.

Frank A. O. Ugiomoh on the ‘Man, Mask and Myth’ project of Solomon Ona Irein Wangboje

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Portrait of a Friendship 5: Langston Hughes and Gilbert Price


This is the 5th article in a series of articles on the friendship between ‘two’ African American artists, a “friendship beyond understanding”. In every article The Harlem Renaissance is the context of the story. This article is about the friendship between the poet Langston Hughes and the opera singer Gilbert Price.

Rob Perrée tries to answer the questions the friendship evokes.
Langston Hughes (photographer unknown)

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Summer edition (July/August), 2020

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