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'Kotomisi, the power of traditional costume', in the Klederdrachtmuseum, Amsterdam

The Klederdrachtmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has joined forces with The Koto Museum in Paramaribo, Suriname. From December 13th, 2019 to June 1st, 2020, the Klederdrachtmuseum will present an exhibition focusing on the Surinamese koto.

The Klederdrachtmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has joined forces with The Koto Museum in Paramaribo, Suriname. From December 13th, 2019 to June 1st, 2020, the Klederdrachtmuseum will present an exhibition focusing on the Surinamese koto.

Photo IMoesan Multimedia, graphic design Stephanie Veen

The koto is the traditional costume of Afro-Surinamese women in Suriname. In addition to the photos, various angisas are shown also. These headscarves can be tied in various meaningful ways and form an important part of the traditional dress. Through a versatile collection of photos, a series of filmed portraits and workshops, the visitor is introduced to the kotomisi (the wearers) and the history of this traditional costume. Christine van Russel-Henar, Director of The Koto Museum in Paramaribo, is the curator of the exhibition.

NAKS Nederland at the opening of the exhibition / Photo Paul Enkelaar

Photo Unknown

The joint past of the Netherlands and Suriname has often been highlighted, but never before has the kotomisi played the leading role in the impressive stories. The first elements of the koto appeared towards the end of the slavery era and the traditional costume has subsequently developed in its own unique way. This makes the koto and angisa a special Surinamese cultural asset.

Maritha Baarn Kitaman / Photo Patricia van der Does

The Klederdrachtmuseum, which originated from a private initiative by Jolanda van den Berg, was opened in July 2016. The museum shows the history of the various Dutch national costumes.

 

Winning ‘koto’ from the design contest. Design: Cheyenne Nelson / Photo Rob Bolscher

Video made during the opening of the exhibition Kotomisi, de kracht van klederdracht. / Courtesy Klederdrachtmuseum:

This text was published previously in Sabaku 62, februari-april 2020.

Text: Marieke Visser

Translation: Peggyta Bruinhart

Photos: Courtesy Klederdrachtmuseum

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In Sabaku 59 mei-juli 2019 a great article about the koto with this illustration. Text: Euritha Tjan A Way, based on information from the EUFRIE Documentation Center for the Afro-Surinamese culture, from the organization for community work NAKS.

Photo IMoesan Multimedia, graphic design: Carlito’s Design/Carlos Reyes Rios

Download the pdf with the article by Euritha Tjan A Way in Sabaku 59: Sabaku 59 koto.