Marga Weimans, Mette Sterre

The Summer Carnival was first organized in the 80’s as an equivalent to the Caribbean Carnival. It has since grown into one of the largest cultural events within the Netherlands. The cultural background of the Rotterdam Summer Carnival closely relates to the Dutch colonial past and migratory history. With On The Other Side Of Reality, TENT commissioned Rotterdam-based artists to explore the cultural and political significance of the Caribbean carnival in an artistic fleet for the street parade.

This first edition with Marga Weimans was followed by projects with artists Mette Sterre, Klaar van der Lippe & Bart Stuart and choreographer Alida Dors.

Street parade and exhibition with Marga Weimans
Weimans’ take on the Caribean carnival was influenced by her Surinamese background as well as her conception of he urbanite as an ‘agent of change’. Inspired by the carnival as a moment when norms and boundaries temporarily shift, she designed a float and procession around the idea of transformation.

Equipped with costumes and monumental headdresses, a group of forty young dancers represented a transformational process that begins with clean, architectural forms and moves towards the exuberance of the Caribbean Carnival. They moved from framed to liberated and transformed duty into passion, uniformity into multiplicity and raw material into sensual attire.

Although the Street Parade had to be cancelled due to extreme weather conditions, TENT continued with an indoor performance with dancers, models and a brass band, to mark the opening of Weimans’ monumental installation. The performance also traveled to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

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To realize this project, Weimans collaborated with composer Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) and choreographer Amber Vineyard (House of Vineyard/HipHopHuis).

Talent Programme with Mette Sterre
Parallel to the exhibition, artist Mette Sterre organised an extensive project for youngsters. Throughout the Summer, a group of 12 younsters had weekly workshops led by Sterre and guest tutors to create a street parade for the Kunst in het Witte de Withkwartier festival in September. Their workshop space at TENT, fitted with costumes from Sterre’s performences and stage plays, was open to the public.

A final symposium explored the cultural and political relevance of the connection between contemporary art and the carnival. In which ways does the Caribbean Carnival act as a sign of protest or otherness within the contemporary city?

On the Other Side of Reality was an initiative by TENT curator Jessen van Oosten, developed with curatorial advice by Charl Landvreugd.

The project was generously supported by the DOEN Foundation and Rotterdam Festivals. The parade was organised in collaboration with Ducos Productions, Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland and HipHopHuis Rotterdam.


Marga Weimans, Mette Sterre