March 31, 2015

Art Blogger of the Week: Marieke Visser in Paramaribo, Suriname

Marieke Visser in front of a painting by René Tosari. Photo: Jeenah Hermelijn

This week's Art Blogger, Marieke Visser, is based in Paramaribo, Suriname. We met on google +. This way I got to know Srananart's BlogWe connected more on Twitter. Then we started following each other on Facebook. We also befriended on Instagram. Do we art bloggers spend a lot of time online? Yes, we do! 

Art scene
"We are at a dynamic and fascinating point in time when it comes to art in Suriname. Until recently our focus was always: the Netherlands. But now we are looking at the Caribbean, and it seems doors and windows have been opened and suddenly our focus has shifted, we seem to have grown very fast. I firmly believe that our 'well' from which we get our inspiration is extremely rich in Suriname, because its contents originate from all corners of the world. We are the illustration of Stuart Hall's famous quote about 'routes rather than roots'. At this moment our artists go deeper into that 'well' of inspiration: we understand now that our heritage stems from far before colonial (=Dutch) times. Another development is that our art world has become much more visible on the internet."

Blog 
"I started with the blog in 2009 because the original plan, to make a glossy magazine about visual art in Suriname, was just not feasible. We have a population of half a million people: that is just not enough people to make any hard copy magazine a realistic project. So I started a digital art magazine and a blog on WordPress. And almost immediately started to see the great benefits of digital communication. You reach an audience much faster, you can enlarge your audience by sharing, and you reach people all over the world. Your writing becomes more spontaneous, when blogging you are much more too the point than when writing for something that will be printed. On the other hand: I do feel that the great benefit of writing for print is that you reflect more, become more analytic, dig deeper. I am in contact with other bloggers like Rob Perree in the Netherlands/USA, Africanah Black Girl Gone, The Belle JarKunstkiekenNo Black Pete, Processed LivesDona DulcineaAirform Archives, and Remco de BlaaijPeople I follow on Facebook and/or Twitter: Danny Simmons, Amma Asante, Anne Patterson, Harriet Duurvoort, Kno'Ledge Cesare, Zihni Özdil, Rose-Marie Maitre, Teju Cole, Uncooked CultureRonny Edry Pushpin, Proud Rebels, Arturo Desimone, Sunny Bergman."

Expertise
"I have studied Literature and Linguistics, and Journalism. I started specializing in travel writing, about travels to the interior of Suriname, in which I also reflected on my own inner journeys. But when I became a mother when I was 38 I stopped traveling and started writing about things closer to home, like art. I feel that I can give a voice to Surinamese artists and I feel I can connect individuals and projects all over the world. In this century we shouldn't be held down by geographical boundaries. (Nor other boundaries ...). 
What has influenced me most is that I have a Dutch father, a German mother and I grew up in Saudi Arabia, Burundi, Thailand, Suriname and in between in the Netherlands. That has given me a wider scope and probably deeper understanding of cultures and identities.I am a writer, mostly about art, but also about other culture related subjects. My 'other' writing work is what pays the bills and enables me to keep on writing about art. But also: it keeps my scope wide and my mind open."   

Money
"The Sranan Art Xposed platform is very forutunate to have a sponsor who makes it possible to pay our writers a small fee for commissioned articles and/or blog posts. We have two editions of the digital magazine every year and everybody gets paid for that: from graphic designer to chief editor to translator. The rest of the social media exposure is more or less done free of charge but I am happy to have some people surrounding me who do more than their share. Our sponsor is Suriname's biggest (in fact only) art gallery Readytex Art Gallery, who doesn't ask for anything in return. We are now looking in to find more sponsors like Readytex Art Gallery because we want to do more and our writers and photographers should be able to earn more. It is very important that we stay independent, autonomous. But at the same time, it is very important too that Suriname gives people like us (art writers, art promotors, event organizers) the resources to develop our thinking about art, and to get projects done. Art writing is not something that is easily done as something "on the side", which is the way we have to do it now. Of course it has other value, that is why we keep on doing it. Sometimes there are free books or tickets, sometimes you get an art work. But most of all: it has brought me so much on a personal level: wisdom, colour, encouragement, hope, anger, peace, solace. Art, and writing about it, enriches my life."

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