Exhibition: 8 December – 19 January 2019
With the exhibition Tembe Afaka, artist Marcel Pinas sheds new light on the theme of Kibri a Kulturu (protect our culture), to which he has been dedicated for years. At Hotel Maria Kapel [HMK] he brings together a combination of new and existing work, such as the Boipilijewelry line and large sculptures made of glass and metal, in a monumental installation in which the Afaka script and the culture of the Ndyuka have a prominent role.
Pinas comes from the Ndyuka, a group of Surinamese Maroons. In the seventeenth century these people were brought by slave ships from Africa to Suriname to work on the plantations. There they liberated themselves from slavery and settled in the jungle. Like much of Pinas’s work, the Tembe Afaka project is part of a larger plan to revive the Surinamese district of Marowijne (where the Ndyuka have been established since) after the domestic war in the eighties, by means of art and cultural projects. Central to Pinas’s work is his ancestry, the preservation of a culture that is in danger of being lost and making a valuable contribution to the future of it.
Pinas is known for the use of recurring form elements in his work. These forms are derived from the wood carving motifs of the Ndyuka, which were handed down from generation to generation by Maroon craftsmen (tembe), and the Afaka script. This script consists of 56 symbols and was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century for the language Ndyuká, the Creole variant of English, spoken by some 25,000 people in the east of Suriname and the west of French Guiana.