wo weeks ago I went back to
Moengo [in the northeast] to
see where I grew up. It is one
of two towns Alcoa, the
American aluminum company,
developed. The other town is Paranam
on the Suriname River. They came for
the bauxite, the ore for aluminum. The
company is now a joint venture called
Suralco. They built housing for the
employees and their families, and free
My mother worked as a nurse. My
father was a welder, and they lived there
for 60 years until they both got their
pensions and moved to Paramaribo. I
went to Holland to study and work.
When I got my pension, I started work-
In Moengo there were as many
races, religions and cultures as here in
Paramaribo: Javanese, Creole, Indi-
ans, Marrons, etc. They married each
other. That’s why there can be no
war between Muslims, Christians,
Hindu or any groups. I’m sure inter-
marriage is a secret for peace.
ART I S T
n the beginning the colors in my
paintings were very dull. In ’97 I
got a scholarship to study in
Jamaica. I learned there you have
to paint from the heart and not
for others. A tourist wants to buy a
picture of Suriname, and that was where
I was focused.
In Jamaica I started with a theme
about death. I grew up without a father.
He died before I was born. Now, as a
father, I’ve got three kids, and I am expe-
riencing what I missed.
My mother was poor. It was hard for
a single mother. I was the oldest. What I
wanted I never got. I made a lot of pictures
about my life and my mother while trying
to imagine the future. My life is now col-
orful. A wife and kids, nice people around
me. Bright colors reflect my life now.
I’m working now for 23 years. Finally
have an atelier and am a full-time artist.
I do social projects as well. Not having
a father, I’ve concentrated on kids that
live in orphanages. I wanted to show
them you can create something simple
about themselves. I managed to get 800
wooden blocks and worked with 12
orphanages and organized an exhibition.
The kids were at the exhibition, and they
sold half their painted blocks. An expe-
rience in itself for the kids. The money
went to the orphanages.
Then I made a chicken run with 200
eggs that hatched about the same time.