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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.
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Godfried Donkor


I’m really fascinated by the fact that we think that history is truth, but it is not. History is what someone said was the truth at the time. Art is not the truth, but art can be truth; it can also be the fantasy of the truth, an exaggeration of the truth, or it could be simply beautiful or simply horrific. (…) The work that I make is part of English history, is not just of black history. It is reciprocal. Histories are entwined.

The artist Godfried Donkor – born in Ghana, London based – in conversation with Raquel Villar-Pérez
The First Day of the Yam Custom, 1817, 2017. Source: Gallery 1957

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Sabelo Mlangeni’s Umlindelo Wamakholwa


The failures of this show are not immediately in the works, but how the curators chose to conceive it. The short-circuiting and catch-phrasing stunts that have come to typify curatorial practice are slowly leading towards sterility. But if we look beyond the show’s slightly unimaginative presentation, Mlangeni’s images intimately and charmingly indicate a complexity in the Zion church, a complexity only a caring artist has.

Athi Mongezeleli Joja on the South African photographer Sabelo Mlangeni

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Stacey Gillian Abe


Research is pivotal in my opinion to creating a strong body of work and also to have different viewpoints of a specific topic of interest. It must however be of significance to the researcher or artist. How it is perceived and of what relevance it holds to anyone besides the artist is relative. My concepts are more or less birthed from a personal context and then blown out of proportion, shrunk, distorted or disintegrated from which possible meaning and interpretations are shifted.

Matt Kayem, Ugandan artist and art critic, interviews Stacey Gillian Abe
Enya Sa I, 2017

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Jabulani Dhlamini: iXesha

JabuSeriesKwa Qawekazi, Orlando West, 2018

Dhlamini utilised the concept of time as historic through the fleeting moment of the camera lens to examine social ills in contemporary South Africa.

The South African critic Themba Tsotsi on the photographer Jabulani Dhlamini
Kwa Qawekazi Orlando West, 2018

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