The ‘WHY?’ Exhibition

The ‘WHY?’ Exhibition, the result of almost 5 years’ research (2015-2019) was a follow-up on earlier research intended for the much smaller LGBT History of Suriname ‘The Faces Exhibition’ in 2016. What made The ‘WHY?’ Exhibition extraordinary was its in-depth and extensive display of the subject, based along four storylines, combined with secondary displays, lights and sound, decor and symbolism. The ‘WHY?’ Exhibition was part of the 5-year jubilee of Parea Suriname and was held during the Pride Month Suriname 2019, from 12 October to 3 November. The location was Parea House, which was transformed into a two-part exhibition space, with, in between, a terrace serving as a café for a cup of coffee, a glass of wine and/or a snack.

The ‘WHY?’ Exhibition was built along four main story lines, namely ‘Social Acceptance by Law’, ‘From Persecution and Execution to Condescending Illegality’, ‘The Silent Social Discussion’ and ‘The Reason WHY?’. The two exhibition areas were each divided into smaller sections, portraying sometimes intertwined and overlapping segments of the storylines, by means of 70+ panels and memorabilia, accompanied by the aforementioned décor, sound and symbolism. On the individual panels, the story and feelings portrayed were emphasized by using quotes from fictional characters; Matthie, Martthia, Lauro and Laura. These characters find their roots in the first known victims Matthijs de Goijer and Laurens Stadler (Christiaan Jurkas), executed in 1731, who still live on today in any or all LGBT recollections. This format of presentation was chosen in favour of just a chronological form, yet the red line throughout the exhibition and the storylines unmistakably remained to be summed up in one word: ’injustice‘.