Students in Santa Fe are collaborating with their Moengo, Suriname, counterparts on a monumental work that artist Marcel Pinas, a native of the small Suriname village of Pelgrimkondre, hopes will “make people become aware of their identities and where they fit in the world.” The piece, SITElab6: Marcel Pinas/Kukuu, amounts to a replication — though the materials used are kept local — of a similarly titled installation Pinas is creating with students in Moengo. Formerly an off-site part of SITE Santa Fe’s SITElines 2014: Unsettled Landscapes series, which officially ended earlier this month, it is now in the museum’s SITElab gallery, located in the lobby. “We have been working with 750 children already, and it is an ongoing project until the end of this year,” Pinas said. “This art piece will attract people from all over to see it in Moengo, and that will lead to economical empowerment of the community.”
The internationally known artist makes his works in order to call attention to Suriname’s minority group of Maroon peoples — the descendants of escaped African slaves — and to create platforms for the continued preservation and development of that culture. Kukuu, which was inspired by a piece of traditional Maroon furniture used to store spoons, plates, tea kettles, and other kitchen supplies, employs made, found, and bought materials that are relevant to the Santa Fe community but that also reference global trade routes.
The exhibition at SITE (1606 Paseo de Peralta) reflects collaboration from many educational partners, including Santa Fe University of Art and Design; Wood Gormley Elementary School; Capital High School; New Mexico School for the Arts; SFPS’ Adelante Program, which helps homeless students and their families; SFPS’ Transitional Education Program, which assists students serving long-term school suspensions; and Santa Fe County’s Youth Development Program.
The 5:30 p.m. opening reception takes place on Friday, Jan. 23; the exhibit is up through Feb. 15. Entrance is by museum admission (no charge on Fridays). Call 505-989-1199 for information.
SITElab6: Marcel Pinas/Kukuu, 2014, mixed media; courtesy of the artist