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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-

ing for



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.


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.