Diary: a visit to Moengo

Monday, January 18, 2010

Outside the Masanga Restaurant in Moengo, where the Paramaribo SPAN artists met over lunch; photo by Christopher Cozier.

On Tuesday 15 December, 2009, members of the Paramaribo SPAN team — curator Christopher Cozier, writers Chandra van Binnendijk and Marieke Visser, and coordinator Ann Hermelijn — accompanied by a group of Paramaribo-based artists, made a day-trip to the town of Moengo and the nearby village of Moiwana, a couple hours’ drive east of the capital. Moengo is the site of a cultural centre which artist Marcel Pinas is working to establish — long-term plans include a residency programme for visiting artists to work with members of the community. Moengo will also be a satellite site for the Paramaribo SPAN exhibition, opening in February 2010.

A group of artists walking through Moengo; photo by Hedwig de la Fuente

Ellen Ligteringen was one of the artists on the trip. A few days later, she wrote the following note:

“The trip to Moengo and especially the meeting and interacting was really cool (Chris’s word). Listening and responding in a very open way, just the artists’ projects. The meeting felt fertile, like the soil of Suriname. Moengo was a perfect location for this meeting, created by Marcel. We became a part of his project.

“Even on the drive back in the bus we did not stop discussing the projects; we shaped them further, their content and their appearance. Ken Doorson’s project, looking at the red-light area in Paramaribo, was discussed very widely from the men’s point of view, with a lot of jokes. The jokes are a common way to discuss issues, like satire on television in other parts of the world. I’ve never experienced such laughing from the heart in any art programme.”

Bicycle at the side of the road, Moengo; photo by Christopher Cozier

Group shot of the Paramaribo SPAN team and artists; photo by Hedwig de la Fuente

Marcel Pinas at the Moiwana Monument, which he designed to commemorate members of the community killed in the 1986 Moiwana Massacre; photo by Christopher Cozier