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Book source: [1] Reis Door Suriname, P.J. Benoit, with Chris Schriks, Dr. Silvia W. De Groot, De Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 1980. ISBN: 906011.306.3 [2] De Muze Met een Missie, Elmer Kolfin, OSO magazine, nummer 1, April 1997, Jaargang 16. [3] Popular Art in Suriname, Paul Faber, OSO magazine, nummer 1, April 1997, jaargang 16.

Subject: [Arts] The Dance of the Slaves in Paintings

Article: Slaves in Paintings

There are many paintings, drawings and sketches about life in Suriname, plants, animals, landscapes, city scapes and slaves. Captain John Gabriel Stedman's drawings contain pictures of gruesome treatment of slaves. On the other hand P.J. Benoit shows

the other side of the coin and his colorful drawing (litho) of the 'dou' or great slave dance (1839) festival caught my interest.

Another nice drawing by Benoit is a native dancing-master instructing a native slave girl and a Creole girl.

One of the first oil paintings of a 'dance of the slaves' was painted in 1707 by Dirck Valkenburg. It can be seen in the Copenhagen, States Museum of art. The foreground contains a large group of slaves and the overall impression is that the painter composed it in such a way to show the life of the slaves in a lively and interesting manner. Dirck Valkenburg came to Suriname in 1706 and stayed in Suriname for two years. He was sent to Suriname by his employer Jonas Witsen (1676-1715). Thus Valkenburg's paintings became property of Jonas Witsen.

A watercolor painting by Z. Wagner in 1641 shows another dance of the slaves. This painting comes under the category of popular art. It is about 20.2 X 33.4 cm and is located in the Dresden, prenten kabinet.


Met dank aan Albert Buys

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