Ducks in London

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with someone from London. While we talked I suddenly started to hear ducks in the background.
      “Are you outside?” I asked her surprised. In the end it was still February and I am familiar with the harsh winters in London. Continue Reading →

Be what people say you are

Often people try to compare themselves and others with animals. According to my girlfriend for example, I am a beluga whale. I at first was not familiar with the beluga whale, but since seeing some pictures, I completely agree. The resemblance is uncanny.
      But more interesting I think it gets when you compare people with objects. I found that out on a Brussels’ terrace last summer when I compared a friend of mine with a pallet. A comparison that the other people at the table – to my own surprise – wholeheartedly agreed with.
      I also found out then that you have to be careful when making comparisons with objects. When I compared another friend with a flypaper, she did not seem to like that. Apparently flypaper is anything but a compliment.

Since last weekend I also know what kind of object I myself can be compared with. While I was waiting on the train station of Antwerp a man came standing next to me who was on the phone with a friend. That friend was also somewhere in the station but they had trouble finding each other. In an attempt to accurately describe where he was, he suddenly noticed me.
      “I’m standing next to a man with red hair.” He said.
      It took his friend another three minutes to find us. Just at the moment my train rolled in the station. I actually wanted to use those three minutes to get a coffee, but I decided to stay put. Because it’s sometimes better to be what people think you are. And in my case that is apparently a meeting point.

 
Photo: Lev Ilizirov
 

An empty toolbox

When I’m building something in my studio I’m always a bit careless with my tools. Whenever I’m done with a particular tool, I leave it on the floor next to me. Only seldom do I put the tools back where they belong. Continue Reading →

Pièce de résistance

In 2013 Lev and me built these stairs. We renovated and built a lot of things in his house, but these stairs are the pièce de résistance. Continue Reading →

Immediate proof

When my girlfriend saw me do the dishes for the first time she was horrified. Because I wash the dishes like most Dutch people do. I scrub them with a sponge in a tub of hot soapy water. And then I dry them off with a towel. Without ever rinsing them. Continue Reading →

Eight pens

A lot of people make doodles when they’re waiting for something. My father for example is an excellent doodler. He has a notepad next to his phone that he tells me is for writing down appointments. In reality however it’s full of silly drawings. Continue Reading →

A hundred reasons

When I was little and it was the night before my birthday, I would always go to bed early. Because I figured that the sooner I would go to sleep, the sooner it would be tomorrow. Continue Reading →

What to do when you lack certain skills

The man on this picture uses his right hand to feed his child, while he uses his left hand to steer a boat.
      This man is multitasking. Continue Reading →

A large forehead

A while ago I was waiting in front of a traffic light with my bike when a young woman stopped next to me. She was on the phone with a friend and she was talking about a date she’d had the night before.
      “He was really nice.” I heard her say. “I really had the feeling we hit it off. Until he suddenly told me that I had a very large forehead.” Continue Reading →

A life of luxury

These are apparently things that Lev doesn’t really need. They are situated in the back of the top shelf in his kitchen. They were so far in the back, that Lev had to make a picture to be able to see what was actually down there. Continue Reading →

One Week

On the 21st of May the first Museum Night in the history of Moengo took place. After a performance by the 4 Messengers and a screening by Basta Digital, I showed One Week, a slapstick film by my favorite filmmaker of all time, Buster Keaton. Continue Reading →

Priorities

Two weeks ago I rented a car in Suriname for a few days. At first I was a bit anxious, because they drive on the left here and I had never done that before. But in the end it all went fine. If the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, you automatically also drive on the other side of the road. Continue Reading →

A small request

On this picture you can see Francois Abionie, a young filmmaker and photographer from Moengo, shooting a scene from his film Life in Moengo; A Teenage Pregnancy. I helped him with a bit of color correction and I’ve therefor watched the film numerous times. Continue Reading →

Not to be a nuisance

When you want to build a house on the same lot of land as your old home, you could of course demolish that home. But where then do you live in the meantime? Building a house can sometimes take years in Suriname. What you can also do is build the new house next to the old house. Continue Reading →

Leftovers

Even before I left for Suriname, people warned me: Be careful with your expectations. First it was my friend Steven who did that. He had spent three months in Moengo himself in 2012. After that Marcel Pinas, the founder of Tembe Art Studio, told me the exact same.
      Apparently expectations and Suriname are no great match.

That also became apparent last month when I attended a meeting in the district’s building in Moengo, behind the doors on this picture. There were more than forty chairs set up in the little meeting hall. The organizer of the meeting, Donovan Pramy, expected around twenty people to attend. In the end however only six of them showed up. Obviously Donovan was very disappointed.
      But too be honest, I was not. Because I also experienced the advantages of too high expectations. Because although only six people showed up, they had bought snacks for the expected twenty people. And I was one of the lucky ones who got to get home with the many leftovers.

      

Everybody is important

Two weeks ago I met a woman who works at the district’s office in Moengo. She wore a khaki uniform. I asked her if everyone who works for the district has to wear an uniform like that. She told me only officials do and then she showed me the insignia on her shoulder and explained me her rank. Continue Reading →

“Fa Aigo”

Since arriving in Moengo, I’ve met complete strangers on the street who knew my name. “Feiko!” They shouted at me while I was passing by on my bike. I was very surprised about that. Moengo may be a very small city and I may be the only white person here, but I did not expect for so many people to know my name that fast. Continue Reading →

Two Romeo’s

Not far from my studio a small group of construction workers are renovating a building. They’re all from Paramaribo. Two of them are called Romeo. When I ask if that’s not confusing, they tell me that they simple call each other by their last name. And their last names are not the same. Continue Reading →

Rihanna

When I looked out from the window of the airplane when we were flying over Suriname, all I saw was forest. As if the whole country was covered with a thick, green blanket. Continue Reading →

Overturned cars

These are the front pages of the Times of Suriname on two consecutive days. Nevertheless they look very alike. That’s of course because of the two similar photographs. Continue Reading →