Talking Hats Part Three

Powerladies, installation, Renée Koldewijn 2017

Central in the installation Powerladies are five Angisa, traditional Surinam scarfs. The colour of the scarfs is blue/white and the pattern is chequered. Colour and pattern refer to the mourning of a loved one. The angisa are folded playfully and are worn by pots Bonne Maman which are filled with sugar.

Angisa and sugar refer directly to the colonial slavery history. With the specific foldings of the scarf women could express their feelings. They sent eachother messages that outsiders could not understand: ‘I’ll wait for you at the corner’, ‘Follow me!’, ‘I want to make love with you’ or ‘Let them talk!’. The angisa in this installation, which were folded by Renée Koldewijn refer to the classic folding of ‘Let them talk’. By this message you can show that you are not touched by gossip or bad vibes.

The work of art Powerladies consists of more intrinsic levels of signification. Koldewijn’s form and folding of the angisa are reminders of streamlined birds. As soon as there is an opening in the curtain, the birds will fly away from oppression into freedom.

Africans in the diaspora dreamt of flying back to Africa. An illusion! In stead they developed a winti culture, gods as the god of the Air, the god of the Wood, and the god of the Water. They were able to awake them anytime they needed them. Powerladies is a strong ode to the god of the Air Kromanti. Women, spread your wings!

Aspha Bijnaar PhD, researcher in Social Sciences and author of many books. She covers the fields of colonial history and its legacy. For more information check her website