Patricia Kaersenhout

Patricia Kaersenhout is an artist, activist, and visual feminist. Born in 1966 in Den Helder, Holland, Kaersenhout has pursued an artistic path exploring the relationship between her background from Suriname (on the north-east coast of Latin America) and her Western European education. The common thread of her work raises questions about the movements of the African diaspora and its connections to feminism, sexuality, racism and the history of slavery.

The Soul of Salt, 2016
Video installation

Caribbean tradition has kept alive the legend of the “Flying Africans”, slaves who were said to avoid eating salt so as to become light enough to fly back to Africa.  The many variants of the legend have a common origin, based on a shared experience. In the video, an African spiritual leader blesses a mountain of salt. During the ceremony, a group of refugees sing an old slave work song. Visitors are invited to take some salt home and dissolve it in water as a symbol of the dissolution of past suffering.

The Mask of Cruelty, 2018
Installation

The project seeks to conceptually link aspects of the history of Palermo, from the domination of the city by numerous conquering powers to the Carta di Palermo, signed in 2015, a document dealing with questions of integration and citizenship that stresses the right to international mobility. The artist creates a series of portraits of the inhabitants of Palermo concealed behind an Italian copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, the abolitionist, anti-slavery novel published in 1852 by the American author Harriet Beecher Stowe.