Maroon Arts Close-up on Tembe art

The Bushinenge (the word comes from the name Bush Negroes), still called ‘Maroons’, are the descendants of African slaves who fled the colonial plantations in Suriname and took refuge in the forest in the mid-seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries. They managed to adapt to this new environment and establish original societies. Several of these communities live in French Guiana: the Aluku or Boni, the Saramaka, the Ndjuka, and the Paramaka. They account for about 20% of the overall population in the territory. Art and aesthetics are found everywhere in the daily life of the Maroons. Many everyday objects are sculpted, engraved, embroidered, or painted. Artistic practices are learnt from a very early age and have to be mastered by the end of adolescence. Some domains and materials are the preserve of men (woodwork, painting, sculpture), whilst women excel at needlework (embroidery, patchwork, and appliqué) and engraving on calabash. The objects shown here are representative of the artistic production of ‘Maroon’ groups in French Guiana and Suriname and are part of the collection of the Museum of Guianese cultures.

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