Mars 28-12-76 - Srefidensi - Research Center for Material Culture
29 June 2017

Srefidensi and (in)visibilized indigenous protest

Symposium | 29 Jun 2017 | Tropenmuseum

To mark 40 years of Surinamese independence, artist and researcher Sara Blokland together with FOTODOK initiated the project Srefidensi, Sranantongo for independence. Srefidensi uses photography to reflect on a number of well-known and lesser known events from colonial history leading up to Surinam’s independence from the Netherlands on 25 November 1975.


Blokland looked for and analysed photos that visualise the resistance and emancipation of the Surinamese people. The project focuses on images in which text and symbolism play an important role. Over the course of a year, Sara Blokland explored a number of visual and theoretical research avenues and invite contemporary artists and thinkers to respond to her findings.

Supported by the Tholenaar van Raalte Fellowship, Sara Blokland carried out extensive research into the Tropenmuseum's historical photography collections. The outcomes of this research have been presented in the week-long exhibition Srefidensi at the Tropenmuseum. By combining both historical and autonomous research, Srefidensi explored new connections between photography and Surinamese history and identity, and the archives and collections in which these are found. While the main focus is the political and social context, the exhibition also examined the birth and evolution of the photo itself.

As a concluding event, Sara Blokland and RCMC jointly organized the symposium Srefidensi and (in)visibilized indigenous protest. This symposium focused on indigenous resistance, photography and emancipation in Surinamese histories.