Pikin Slee

Viviane Sassen

Pikin Slee


Pikin Slee is the second-largest village on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the rainforest of Suriname. Its 4000 inhabitants are mostly members of the Saramacca tribe, their ancestors Maroons who escaped slavery on the Dutch plantations in the 18th century.

The Saramacca are isolated from the outside world, living without running water, electricity, roads or the internet. The only way to access the village is by canoe, a journey of about three hours up-river. They grow their food on small agricultural plots, producing cassava bread, pressed maripa palm oil and dried coconut.

In her first visit to Pikin Slee in the summer of 2012, Sassen was intrigued by the village and its inhabitants; she saw her own history as somehow tied to theirs, in their respective connections to Africa and the Netherlands. Her eye was caught by the overwhelming natural surrounds and the Saramacca's very traditional way of living, combined with the more mundane objects which seemed to seep through daily life. Mainly in black and white and of contained format, Sassen's series of abstract compositions and elusive subjects are an exploration of the beauty of the everyday, an investigation of the sculptural qualities of the ordinary.

Published by Prestel | 2014
Hardcover, 144 pages | ISBN 978-3-7913-4953-4 | Price: R680

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