For 4 months, Wooko Makandie has been planning an exhibition in Grand Santi, a small town located along the shore of the Marowijne River in French Guiana, mainly populated by Ndjuka. It was important for us to bring this work among its people, and that would be the first time the exhibition travel so far. As the town celebrated its 30-year anniversary as a commune on December 8th, they kindly invited us to expose our work during their event. After a long trip, not much sleep and not really knowing what to expect, the result was indeed worth it.
Remembrance, discovery, learning, everyone found a little something in this exhibition. While adults felt proud, nostalgic or simply curious about these old photographs, children approached this exhibition with a lot of candor identifying parts of their own culture, testing their knowledge and trying to understand what was in front of them: ‘those are your ancestors’, I said. When I explained it took a week by boat to navigate from here to the coast (today it takes about 6 hours), one of them spontaneously said: ‘OMG, I’m so glad I wasn’t born during that period!’
But most of all, emotions is what everyone found while visiting this exhibition: the pride of seeing their culture dignified, the joy of seeing familiar faces and familiar places, the gratitude when remembering those who came before us and the knowledge they passed down. This is a first step for us and there is a lot of work to do still.
Our collaboration with Grand-Santi is just beginning: we will hold this exhibition at the town’s junior high school this year and as we move forward, other projects may emerge from this partnership in the upcoming years. We take care of our communities and culture. Because that is what we do!
For 4 months, Wooko Makandie has been planning an exhibition in Grand Santi, a small town located along the shore of the Marowijne River in