Fellow 2018/2019

Patricia Kaersenhout

Born in the Netherlands but a descendant from Surinamese parents, visual artist, activist, and womanist Patricia Kaersenhout developed an artistic journey in which she investigates her Surinamese background in relation to her upbringing in a west European culture. Her work raises questions about the African Diaspora’s movements and its relations to feminism, sexuality, racism, and the history of slavery. She considers her art practice to be a social one. With her projects, she empowers (young) men and women of color and supports undocumented refugee women. She is a regular lecturer at the Decolonial Summer School, Middelburg; Black Europe Summer School, Amsterdam; and at B.E.B.O.P (Black Europe Body Politics). Kaersenhout recently finished a community project with AGA LAB, GildeLab, BYBROWN, and WOW Amsterdam, all Amsterdam, titled Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too?, 2018, quoting Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, only this time black women and women of color who are erased and forgotten by west European history are honored. By revealing forgotten histories, she tries to regain dignity. She has participated in: Manifesta 12, Palermo, 2018; Prospects 4, the New Orleans Biennial, New Orleans, 2017; among others. Her work is represented by gallery Wilfried Lentz in Rotterdam.

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Visual artist, activist, and womanist Patricia Kaersenhout’s research focuses on women during the first International Congress of Black Writers and Artists in 1956 in Paris, the role of women in the Negritude movement in general, Black women’s historic use of the body in protest, and contemporary young Black women’s activism. Key to this inquiry are the bondage of solidarity between Black women, despite being erased from and ignored in History, and looking toward parallels within and connections to the current younger generation of Black female activists. With this in mind, Kaersenhout asks: To what extent can people still be inspired by or find new sources of inspiration in the ideas and thoughts of Negritude? Furthermore, how can Black female aesthetics contribute to dismantling dominant views of masculinity without losing its authenticity? And what seemingly innocent acts can convey key contestations of violence and epistemic disobedience? This research inquires into different strategies, speaks with young activists, and reclaims intellectual property of Black women.