Wendelien van Oldenborgh — Cinema Olanda: Platform

Witte de With transforms into an adaptable platform for groups and individuals who have informed Cinema Olanda, artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter’s presentation in the Dutch pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale 2017. A series of changing presentations and six weeks of public events will be programmed by Quinsy Gario (Artist, Poet), Charl Landvreugd (Artist, Curator, Writer), Patricia Pisters and Esther Peeren (ASCA, University of Amsterdam), New Urban Collective (Jessica de Abreu, Mitchell Esajas), and First Things First (Katayoun Arian; Curator, Researcher, Writer, Louise Autar; Activist, Organiser, Max de Ploeg, Activist, Cultural & Political Programmer).

Cinema Olanda: Platform is an ever-evolving exhibition incorporating a six-week long dedicated program of live events that extends Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter’s presentation at the 57th Venice Biennale. It forms the most extensive manifestation of their wider collaborative project that ‘brings home’ the exhibition’s questions surrounding the Netherlands’ (inter)national image vis-à-vis current transformations in the Dutch cultural and political landscape. Cinema Olanda: Platform at Witte de With not only brings Van Oldenborgh and Cotter’s presentation in Venice to a full circle, it is also a homecoming for the Rotterdam-based artist.

Artists and activists who appear in Van Oldenborgh’s new films for Venice are among those invited to guest-program a six weeks series of events at Witte de With. Cinema Olanda: Platform includes special live broadcasts of ‘Roet in Het Eten’, Quinsy Gario’s talk show, film screenings and talks curated by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), and an ongoing archive-making endeavor for The Black Archives by New Urban Collective, alongside contributions from Tessa Boerman (Film Director), and Wayne Modest (Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen). Participating groups and individuals are invited to use the institution as a further site of production for existing projects, which are presented together with film installations by Van Oldenborgh in an exhibition scenography designed to adapt and mutate dependent on the needs of each activity.


Opening Weekend (16th – 18th June)

An opening evening on Friday 16 June will host a performance by the band Addiction. Saturday 17 June, join us for talks, performances, and screenings, including of Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s Prologue: Squat / Anti-Squat (2016) and of archival footage by Cineclub Vrijheidfilms with discussions between van Oldenborgh, Andre Reeder (Film Maker) and Juanita Lalji (Educator, Activist), (in Dutch). Finally, a panel discussion on ‘conditions for criticality’ is moderated and introduced by curator Lucy Cotter, with Amandla Awethu! (writer, community organizer, associated with ‘First Things First’), Charl Landvreugd (Artist, Curator, Writer), David Dibosa (Writer, Curator), and a contribution by Patricia Kaersenhout (Artist). We end the weekend with an architectural bike tour on Sunday 18 June of Pendrecht by OMI and with van Oldenborgh.

The Black Archives on Tour: Hidden Stories of Black Resistance in the Netherlands (19th – 25th June)

A week of talks, screenings and dialogues programmed by New Urban Collective (Jessica de Abreu, Mitchell Esajas) including a sessions on the ‘Zwarte Piet’ issue (20 June), and hidden histories of black resistance and radical black intellectuals (24 June) with a talk by Dr Kehinde Andrews (Associate Professor in Sociology, Birmingham University), and exploration of Surinamese black emancipation movements such as LOSON/SAWO by Andre Reeder (Film Maker) and Ernestine Comvalius (Director, Bijlmerparktheater and Theater Crater). A live archiving of a major new acqui- sition will be included in the exhibition.

Roet in het Eten (26th June – 2nd July)

Through the format of the talkshow, Quinsy Gario (Artist, Poet) aims to provide insights and perspectives with which to enrich the public debate in the Netherlands. Initiated in 2012 as a show on the multicultural Amsterdam-based radio station MART Radio, two years later it became a television talkshow on the Caribbean and South American centered cable channel RTV-7 and YouTube. The talkshow has been recorded at the Hugo Olijfveldhuis, which is owned by the Society Our Suriname. For Cinema Olanda: Platform, Gario will record new episodes of Roet in het Eten on Tuesday 27 June and Saturday 1 July. Previous episodes will be screened in the exhibition.

Black Figures, Black Voices (3rd – 9th July)

Programmed by participants at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam, chaired by Patricia Pisters and Esther Peeren. The first session (4 July) focuses on the documentary Zwart Belicht (2008) by Tessa Boerman, which zooms in on black figures in (pre) 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings. In response to Zwart Belicht, Valika Smeulders (researcher at KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) will discuss with Boerman issues of representation, colonial history and art historical canons. Performer Naomi Veldwijk will read from Robin Coste Lewis’ collection of poems, Voyage of the Sable Venus (2015). A second session (6 July) will focus on the work of the Surinam-Dutch poet and author Edgar Cairo, with a discussion led by Charl Landvreugd (Artist, Curator, Writer) on the importance of Cairo’s work, alongside the screening of parts of Cindy Kerseborn’s documentary Edgar Cairo: Ik ga dood om jullie hoofd (2011).

Decolonial Options; The futurity of decolonial practice with First Things First (10th – 16th July)

A week-long program by First Things First that aims to critically investigate and discuss the coloniality of Dutch Society and beyond. During this week, we will approach this vast subject through five stages of awareness, as formulated by the artists and writer Grada Kilomba in her book Plantation Memories (2008). Through her art and writing, Kilomba uses the concepts of Denial, Guilt, Shame, Recognition and Reparation as tools to understand and overcome the different, and simultaneously existing, dimensions of colonial power structures. By adopting these stages of awareness in our community-led program, we aspire to bridge the gap between different groups and communities for building solidarity, strength, empowerment and raising consciousness and awareness. Decolonial Options: The Futurity of Decolonial Practice operates as an invitation to consider the ways in which we can break out of the colonial mould of being, knowledge and power. The program will be concluded with the performance ILLUSIONS, by Grada Kilomba herself. First Things First consists of Katayoun Arian (Researcher, Independent Curator, Writer), Louise Autar (Activist, Organizer) and Max de Ploeg (Political and Cultural Programmer).

Holland Mijn Mars (17th – 23rd July)

An audiovisual installation based on four stories from Suriname, Haïti, Quebec and the Netherlands, along with a performance to review migration across the axis of sexuality, by Charl Landvreugd (Artist, Curator, Writer). The first story that makes up the basis for this installation and performance is Kon Hesi Baka (1976) by Henk Barnard, which deals with migra- tion from the perspective of a young girl in Suriname around the time of the country’s independence. The second is Koewatra Djodjo (1979) by Edgar Cairo, which gives an insight into a young man’s arrival in the city. How to make love to a negro without getting tired (1987) by Dany Laferrière speaks about trying to settle in the metropolis. Wan Pipel (1976) by Pim de la Parra delves into disillu- sionment, loyalty and belonging. The com- bined texts create a narrative of migration, and show the timelessness of the subject. The costume design for this performance is by Marga Weimans.


The exhibition also features previous filmic works by Van Oldenborgh, including The Basis for a Song (2005), Maurits Script (2006), Instruction (2009), and Supposing I love you. And you also love me (2011). Each variously explores the clashes, confrontations and histories of legitimated forms of social control such as colonialism and nationalism, and the interpersonal relationships between those grappling with and contesting these edifices.

The Black Archives

Cinema Olanda: Platform will temporarily house part of The Black Archives, sharing its process of archiving of a major new acquisition with a wider public. The Black Archives contains several collections of books, manuscripts and ephemera that collectively document black history and culture in and beyond the Netherlands. This archive formed a source of inspiration for Van Oldenborgh’s two new films for the pavilion: Cinema Olanda (2017), which was shot on location in the Rotterdam district of Pendrecht, and interweaves the story of Suriname-born political activist Otto Huiswoud, regarded as one of the first black members of the American Communist Movement, and Prologue: Squat/Anti-Squat (2016), which centers around a large squatting action in Amsterdam in the 1970s by a Dutch Caribbean group, and features people from various squatting movements ranging from the 1960s until now. Prologue: Squat/Anti-Squat (2016) will have a special screening at Witte de With during the course of the exhibition.

About Cinema Olanda

Cinema Olanda: Platform is conceived and co-organized by artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter, together with Witte de With Director Defne Ayas, and Curator Natasha Hoare, as well as the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam. Cinema Olanda is the Dutch representation at the 57th Venice Biennale, commissioned and financed by the Mondriaan Fund, a publicly financed foundation for visual arts and cultural heritage. Cinema Olanda is partnered by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam; Akademie van Kunsten (KNAW); Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam; and Nuova Icona, Venice. De Groene Amsterdammer is the media partner for the Cinema Olanda public program. For further information about the Dutch entry please visit:



Supported By

Cinema Olanda: Platform is supported by Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), Gemeente Rotterdam, Goethe Institut and Mondriaan Fund.

Related Items