Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Vincent Van Velsen

text: email

Arts in Suriname: The Moengo Triennial

RaviRajcoomar (2)

In this article art historian Vincent van Velzen writes about the arts in Moengo, the former mining city of Suriname, mainly populated by Maroons. He paints the context for and reviews the second Moengo Triennial, with the work of 23 international artists.
Read more »

Dutch Pavilion in the Venice Biennial


Van Oldenborgh’s Cinema Olanda – and actually her entire oeuvre – could be read as an aphasia-countering therapeutic session of a nation partially in denial, and partially unaware – such as the art critics so tellingly demonstrated.  An endeavour that contributes to the birth of a new generation wanting and willing to finally come to terms with (post-) colonial melancholia and related repressive structures. These are the people who will be the forefront of a collective future: the unquestionable stars of a new generation.

Vincent van Velsen on Cinema Olanda of Wendelien van Oldenborgh in the Dutch Pavilion in Venice.

Read more »

Sara Blokland


“Some gestures and poses are made exclusively in front of a camera. That makes the camera a unique piece of equipment. I think it is very interesting that one is able to see relationships between people take form, or surface when a camera is involved. Furthermore, posing for the camera has a unique history which is highly intertwined with technical concerns. In the past one had to sit still for a long time, due to technical requirements. People nowadays still take similar poses while modern day techniques do not ask for sitting still as long as it used to be.”

Vincent van Velsen in conversation with Sara Blokland.
Home, 2004 (detail)

Read more »

Was the EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial, a failure?

EVA16_Kemang Wa Lehulere_Teeth Are The Only Bones That Show_Photo by Miriam o'Connor_Courtesy the Artist, STEVENSON and EVA International_19

Overall, Koyo Kouoh constructed an artistic Frankenstein. Unfortunately the star curator proved unable to supply the body with the necessary lightning. The limbs were sourced in South-East Asia, its intestants in Europe; the head came from Africa, while the torso was imported from the extensive American continent. So, even though having ticked all boxes of global presence, the spark did not cave in: the overall connections and ideas did not make the exhibition come to life.

Vincent van Velsen on the EVA International 2016, Ireland’s Biennial.
Kemang Wa Lehulere, Teeth are the only bones that show, 2015.

Read more »

Enwezor’s Venice Biennial

venice bienniallogo

Via his metals, markets and connections mister Carnegie gave back by contributing to the constructing of four buildings dedicated to knowledge and peace – of which the Peace Palace in The Hague is one. However his philanthropy is much appreciated, it was not enough to steer the future towards peace and prosperity for all. Still his example is a nobel one. Alike Enwezor he strived to make the world more multiplicit and inclusive by showing beauty in the rubble, making statements in between motives and provide wealth in multitude.

Vincent van Velsen on Enwezor’s Venice Biennial.

Read more »