October 23, 2018

Suriname: Moengo youngsters document their daily lives and heritage through photography

(c) Roosje Verschoor

The ‘Double Heritage’ project aims to depict public life in Moengo, which in addition to the culture of its inhabitants is partly determined by its colonial buildings and spaces.

Collecting the past
In this project, youngsters in Moengo will make a series of photos about their daily lives, which will result in exhibitions and a book, to be published in Suriname. These past weeks, photographer and initiator Roosje Verschoor researched the construction of the town of Moengo in the National Archives to find interesting stories: ‘Finding the right archives isn’t that easy. I often had to browse through the archives of a complete year. Eventually I found the most information in historical reports about the mining industry in Suriname. This sometimes included uncomfortable descriptions of the different races of the miners.’ Furthermore, Verschoor interviewed former inhabitants who shared their personal experiences concerning the town’s history of segregation.

Documenting the present
The workshops with the youngsters will start in a few weeks. Verschoor decided to begin with a workshop on cultural heritage, in order to discuss exactly what that entails and what it means for each of the participants. After that, they will start their own photography work, which will be partly based on specific exercises, but will also include a lot of free photography. Verschoor: ‘With free photography, I’ve noticed that young people surprise you the most with their talents.’ Interviews with these young inhabitants are also part of the project. The exhibitions and book are scheduled to be realized by the end of 2018.

This project is supported by DutchCulture’s Shared Cultural Heritage Matching Fund.