Patricia Kaersenhout
(Den Header, Netherlands, 1966)

Of Palimpsests and Erasure, 2021

Digital prints on Hahnemühle paper
50 x 111 cm
It is number 4/8 of the edition of 5/5 of an edition consisting of 8 different digital prints with a print run of 5 + 1 AP
[Photo: Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio, © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy Pascale Marthine Tayou and GALLERIA CONTINUA, by SIAE 2021]

Born in the Netherlands from Surinamese parents (Suriname is an independent state of South America), Patricia Kaersenhout investigates her Surinamese background in relation to her upbringing in a West European culture. The thread in her work raises questions about the African Diaspora’s movements and it’s relation to feminism, sexuality, racism and the history of slavery. By revealing forgotten histories she tries to regain dignity and create transformative justice. 

Of Palimpsests and Erasure (2021) was inspired by the volume Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705) by Maria Sybilla Merian, who, in June 1699, separated from her husband, traveled from Amsterdam to Suriname to develop studies on insects and plants, later published in the volume mentioned above. Merian is remembered as a sublime female scientist who, admittedly, has produced beautifully illustrated books; however, less well known is the fact that, to carry out her studies about plants and insects, she was completely dependent on enslaved original female inhabitants of Suriname and African women. The bodies of Black women included in Of Palimpsests and Erasure prints claim a place in a history that has erased them. 

Patricia Kaersenhout lives and works in Amsterdam. Since 2009 her work has been presented at the biennials of Venice, Beijing, Australia and Dakar. In 2011-2012 she had a solo show in C&H ArtSpace in Amsterdam. Followed up by two shows in New York. Together with artist Jeannette Ehlers she was commissioned for the opening film of the Black Magic Woman Festival 2012. Cinema Zuid commissioned her to develop a short film about the political meaning of skin color, which had it’s premiere in EYE, Amsterdam. In 2013 the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam commissioned her to give an artistic installation to the show Black & White. Together with Dr. Temi Odemosu, in 2014 in Copenaghen she initiated a show about the Black female body with the participation of 12 female artists of color.