HOLLANDAISE is a critical, contemporary art exhibition built around this typical textile. The idea for the exhibition is from curator Koyo Kouoh, who is director of her own art institution in Dakar, Senegal. She asked five artists to delve into the phenomenon of Hollandaise and the peculiar trading relations and cultural interchanges that it represents. They all produced new work especially for this exhibition, which after Amsterdam will travel on to Dakar.
Growing up in Africa, Kouoh became fascinated by Hollandaise. The exuberantly decorated textiles are used chiefly for clothing for special occasions, such as weddings and funerals. Some patterns are therefore emotionally identified with specific events in one’s own story. But despite the success of Hollandaise on the African market and its strong identification as African, Africans themselves are hardly involved in the creative process for ‘their’ fabric at all. Furthermore, today the Dutch market leader is encountering heavy competition from the Far East. Yesterday’s imitator is being imitated in turn.
The exhibition HOLLANDAISE is a creative and also critical examination of such historical, global developments and their local implications.
Billie Zangewa, living in Johannesburg, incorporates photography into textile works. For HOLLANDAISE she focused on classicVlisco patterns that in Africa are popularly known by exotic (women’s) names such as Aura and Angelina.
Godfried Donkor, based in London, made a two-channel video film about his mother and her friends in Ghana, who since the 1950s have built up collections of deeply cherished textiles. These collections, regarded as an investment, also reveal their life histories.
Abdoulaye Konaté, who lives and works in Mali, incorporated Dutch Wax into a monumental textile-based representation of festive ceremonies in his country. Both the material used and the celebration scene raise issues regarding the ethnologically coloured concept of ‘authenticity’.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh‘s La Javanaise was filmed in the Royal Institute for the Tropics in Amsterdam. The work addresses the inextricable link between colonialism and globalization, authenticity and imagination, performing and posing, especially in relation to the Wax Hollandais and its origins.
Willem de Rooij developed a specific, industrially manufactured wax print that subtly refers to the currents of migration and trade among Africa, Europe and Indonesia.