Kunst na de Emancipatie ?, Dr. van Hinte-Rustwijk & G. van Steenderen-Rustwijk, OSO, nummer 1, April 1997, jaargang 16.
Subject: [Arts] The Period After 1863
The emancipation came in 1863 and seven years later Suriname had a population of 50210 inhabitants of which 40% lived in Paramaribo. In 1873 there were still some 33600 inhabitants under state supervision. When the slaves were set free they were actually not free to go. They were obliged to live and work on the same plantation for another 10 years.
The slave owners received 300 guilders for each slave but the slaves themselves received nothing. Thus these freed slaves had no time for the arts as they were poor and had to survive. The arts in Suriname were not the same as in Western Europe as there was no opportunity for talented artists in Suriname to excel. All artists before 1863 were Europeans who were not born in Suriname. Some were travelers, military or civil servants. When the Javanese, Hindustanis and other Asian immigrants arrived they also did not have the time for the arts.
Only the Europeans could afford the luxury to paint, draw or sketch. Some prominent painters of the period were: Nicolaas Box, he arrived in 1822 and lived inSuriname until his death in 1864. A landscape painting is exhibited in the Rijks museum in Amsterdam. Hendrik Huygens, he worked in Suriname since 1850 where he painted landscapes and townscapes.
Some of the Europeans came to Suriname and worked on the plantation as 'blankofficier' such as: Wilem E. H. Winkels was born in 1818 and arrived in Suriname in 1893. Arnold Borret was born in 1848 and died in 1888 in Suriname. he made water color paintings and pencil/charcoal sketches. This collection of paintings can be seen in the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-Land en Volkenkunde in Leiden. J.E. Loth was born in 1846 in Suriname and left in 1868 to study fine arts in Belgium. He painted portraits and still lifes.
The education of fine arts in Suriname began only at the end of the 19th century. Besides mechanical and line drawing students could now also study fine arts. Students began to draw landscapes and people from photographs and prints. The most prominent studio was that of Rustwijk located on the water front. In 1920 a Greek painter J. Pandellis had a studio on the Watermolen street. He gave lessons in fine arts.
At the same time some French deportees from French Guiana came to Suriname to give lessons such as Coignard, Grimmer and Bernard. They helped with the development of the fine arts in Suriname. It was very difficult for an artist to make a living in Suriname. Thus many exhibited their works in the studios. Visitors paid a visitors ticket and some of the paintings were given away as door prizes or a lottery drawing. Despite the hardships artists were able to develop their own style as Suriname offered them enough inspiration and subjects to paint or draw.
Met dank aan Albert Buys