Nelson González in Landhuis Bloemhof

Nelson González in Landhuis Bloemhof
Location: Landhuis Bloemhof, Curaçao.
Start date: 2013-07-20
End date: 2013-08-16
Time: Tuesday till Saturday: 9 AM - 2 PM.

‘Milk Drops’ is a multi disciplinary art project by visual artist Nelson González. This exhibition marks the start of the year long activities by foundation ‘Arte’99, pa libertad’ (Arte ’99, for freedom) in Curaçao to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch Kingdom.

Nelson González (1979) was born in Venezuela and is living in Aruba since 2003. In 2000 he participated in  the international art project ‘Watamula, the breathing holes’ in Curaçao. His previous exhibition in Curaçao was in Gallery Alma blou in 2012 titled ‘Pyschographic Acts’.

For the current art project Nelson González went to the former plantation Kenepa (Knip) in Curaçao, where now ‘Museo Tula’ is located. This museum is dedicated to Slavery and the slave revolt of 1795 led by Tula, which started at this plantation. In Milk Drops Nelson addresses the importance of family in the community and the fact that slaves were not allowed to form a family themselves. A slave’s child was not her own and nursing female slaves could even be ordered to nurse their master’s baby.

Nelson consideres the nursing of the master’s child by a slave the beginning of integration of the two races. The female slave would feed and care for her master’s child and also pass on her own customs and culture to the infant. Without realizing it, the colonial system in many ways stimulated the integration of the different cultures and races which it meant to segregate.

In this commemorative year of the abolition, Nelson Gonzales invited three women to nurse their own child at the Kenepa plantation (or Knip plantation), to start a healing process: milk drops to make us realize that we are one.

Photographs of this event are now exhibited at Landhuis Bloemhof. At the vernissage the three mothers were also present, nursing their babies. The white balloons at the entrance of the exhibition all visitors had to pass through, symbolize the milk drops and the healing process the we all have to go through.

During the opening there was a live Skype connection with Aruba on a centrally placed screen in the exhibition hall. Through this connection Nelson González’ wife Tuesday Irwin (1982) recited poems on slavery.

Yaya; Zwarte Mama – Yaya; Black Mummy

The theatrical piece Yaya; Zwarte Mama (Yaya; Black Mummy) was presented on Sunday, August 11, 2013 at Landhuis Bloemhof as an enacted reading. The presentation, directed by John Leerdam, was written by Susan Glimmerveen who interviewed  several persons in the Curaçao Community on their relationship with their nurse (early 20th century nanny). Interviews with Nydia Ecury, Norma Moreno, Rosemarie de Paula, May Henriquez and Gregory Quast were used in this enacted reading.
This premiere in Curaçao of Yaya; Zwarte Mama was a co-production of Stichting Julius Leeft! (SJL) and Landhuis Bloemhof.