In an upcoming solo exhibition, Dutch-Surinamese visual artist patricia kaersenhout (1966) continues her exciting journey into the forgotten stories of women of colour.
Firstly, there is Le Retour Des Femmes Colibri, a new film featuring the histories of Josephine Baker, Suzanne Césaire, Christiane Diop, Frida Kahlo and Paulette and Jeanne Nardal. Most of these women are far from forgotten but less well remembered are their crucial roles within the Négritude movement, an important organisation of black emancipation.
At the legendary four-day First International Congress of Black Writers and Artists in 1956 in the Amphithéatre Descartes at the Sorbonne University, no women are documented among the attendees. The congress was one of the most important gatherings of black intellectuals in the 20th century, but women were missing, even though they played a role in its organisation. Why has their presence not been recorded? To correct that omission, kaersenhout performs the characters of these women while clothed in men's suits made of Vlisco fabric, a reference to the Dutch colonial past.
A summary of the exhibition
The film is shown in a separate room in a former office at Hettenheuvelweg 8 in Amstel III. A large retrospective exhibition of kaersenhout’s work is presented in an adjoining room, consisting of a selection of about sixty works of art from eleven different series. Its content ties in with the larger theme of the film, making visible black women who have been systematically ignored, belittled or passed over in Western historiography.
The Third Dimension by patricia kaersenhout is the second solo exhibition organised by CBK in collaboration with an artist. In 2019 - before the pandemic - it was Charl Landvreugd who set art world tongues wagging with his installation Movt. no. 10: Ososma.
About the artist
In her work, patricia kaersenhout explores how her Surinamese background relates to her upbringing in Western European culture. She shows how the African diaspora and colonialism led to the invisibility of certain groups of people. With her projects, she gives a voice, strength and dignity to those who have been forgotten.
kaersenhout now exhibits around the world in museums and art institutions and on cultural platforms.
The exhibition will be opened by Simion Blom on Friday 7 October at 17h30. More information here.