Fabrics

2021

Vrouwen van VOS

Patricia Kaersenhout’s textile works Vrouwen van VOS (2019) is the third series she produced, after Food for Thought (2018) and Objects of Love and Desire (2019), to depict Black women in action. In this series they are all active in the Dutch association ‘Vereniging Ons Suriname’ (VOS) and rendered in Kaersenhout’s distinctive mode of digitally and traditionally printed fabrics, both hand- and machine-embroidered, with highlights of fine bead-work and appliqué. These women are again heroically shown, but based on Communist propaganda posters. Each banner is framed with printed cottons that the artist has collected from the African continent. She choosed for each work two women of different generations to show that every generation of activists is standing on the shoulders of their predecessors. The work was commissioned on the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of VOS and the accompanyng exhibition to celebrate this.

Vrouwen van VOS, 2019
Mrs. Weels & Camille Parker
190 x 130 cm, unique
Collage of textiles, photographic print on cotton, beads, African fabric, felt, wooden dowel

Vrouwen van VOS, 2019
Naomi Pieter & Twi Tjoa
200 x 140 cm, unique
Collage of textiles, photographic print on cotton, beads, African fabric, felt

Vrouwen van VOS, 2019
Jessica de Abreu & Polly Levens
190 x 130 cm, unique
Collage of textiles, photographic print on cotton, beads, African fabric, felt

Objects of Love and desire

Patricia Kaersenhout’s textile works Objects of Love and Desire (2019) depict women in action. Portraits of Una Marson, Solange Fitte-Duval, Eslande Robeson and Amy Garvey are rendered in Kaersenhout’s distinctive mode of digitally and traditionally printed fabrics, both hand- and machine-embroidered, with highlights of fine bead-work and appliqué.

Kaersenhout’s selection of these four important black scholars, journalists, poets, activists hinges on their commonalities: all of Caribbean descent, but influential world-wide; all part of communist, Pan-Africanist, and transnational feminist movements; all active in the second half of the 20th century, though largely forgotten or erased from popular memory. Each of these women used her lifetime to fight racism, poverty and general inequality.

Kaersenhout shows these women as heroic figures, based on Chinese propaganda posters that express the glorification of the proletariat. Each banner is framed with printed cottons that the artist has collected from the African continent. Intricate bead-work highlights their features. The poems of Una Marson accomany three of the portraits, over-printed with the powerfully symbolic okra flower; and botanical illustrations by Maria Sibylla Merian, a 17th Century German-born naturalist who studied the insects of Suriname.

Objects of Love and desire, 2019

Digital print on cotton felt, African Fabric embroidered with beads, wooden dowel

Photos: Tor Jonsson
Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam