© Tomasz Tomaszewski
Workers at Pangka sugar factory, Indonesia.
© Alejandro Chaskielberg
A gang of young bikers near the destroyed grinder in the Marienburg former sugar plantation, Suriname.
© Ed Kashi/VII
The Babilônia Circus is a great place to eat sugar products like cotton candy and churros. Ribeirão Preto.
© James Whitlow Delano
A Javanese-Surinamese woman, the oldest resident at Langkoeas, plays a Dutch board game at a weekly gathering. Langkoeas community center and apartment complex was built by the Javanese-Surinamese community in Hoogezand to help bind the community and aid seniors.
© Stichting Surinaams Historisch Museum
Woman and two men at a table set for an alfresco dinner. Two servants in the background. Commewijne district, around 1903, photographer unknown. Stichting Surinaams Museum, Paramaribo (inv. nr. 73A-287)
On 23 November, the second exhibition of The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar will open in Jakarta, Indonesia.
View programme >>
Globalization is a far-reaching and elusive process. In The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar Noorderlicht makes the dynamics and history of globalization easier to understand, on the basis of one everyday product: sugar.
Today you can buy a kilo of sugar for a Euro, but in the 16th and 17th century – when trade on a global scale really began to take off – sugar was a luxury product with which one could make vast sums of money. Sugar plantations and the sugar trade played a large role in The Netherlands and its colonies in the East and West Indies. Since then the role of sugar has changed radically, both here and overseas. This makes sugar an ideal jumping-off point for a story about trade, labour, changing markets, exploitation and migration – and with that, about the forces of globalization.
Six internationally renowned photographers began travelling for Noorderlicht in 2011 to record the sugar industry – or what is left of it – in The Netherlands, Suriname, Brazil and Indonesia. All the photographers produced work in both a former Dutch colony and in The Netherlands. For instance, the Argentine Alejandro Chaskielberg went to Suriname in search of traces of its lost sugar industry. Not a single sugar factory remains. But here in The Netherlands too the sugar factories are all in various stages of being dismantled. In this same way, each photographer in The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar is covering diverse aspects of a larger story.
In addition to contemporary photography, The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar also includes an extensive selection of historical material from and about Suriname, Indonesia, Brazil and The Netherlands. The work will not only appear in the book The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar, but also in an international presentation with a unique ‘open source’ formula. The cultural institutions with which Noorderlicht is collaborating will be free to use the work resulting from the commissions, and an archive of historical images. On the basis of the principle of parity, each institution will have the right to use that material to tell its own story about sugar. In this way a local or national perspective on globalization can be heard, rather than the Western view.
Assignment series with exhibition and book, made possible by Arts Collaboratory Foundation - a programme by Mondriaan Stichting, Hivos and Stichting DOEN - SNS REAAL Fonds and the Dutch Ambassy in Indonesia.
We are working together with the following archives in The Netherlands and other countries on the content of the open source:
- Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
- KIT (Amsterdam)
- Universiteit van Amsterdam (Amsterdam)
- KITLV (Leiden)
- Noord-Hollands archief (Haarlem)
- Zeeuws Archief (Middelburg)
- Groninger Archieven (Groningen)
- Gemeentearchief Roosendaal (Roosendaal)
- Maritiem Museum (Rotterdam)
- Suiker Unie
- Stichting Heemkundige Kring Sas van Gent (Sas van Gent)
- Mastboom-Brosens Stichting (Oud Gastel)
- Historische Vereniging gemeente Bedum (Bedum)
- Surinaams Museum (Paramaribo)
- Instituto Moreira Salles (Saõ Paulo)
- Langgeng Art Foundation, Yogyakarta: 9 Nov 2012 - 20 Jan 2013
- Ruangrupa, Jakarta: 23 Nov - 14 Dec 2012
Brazil, Suriname, The Netherlands
- To be announced
For more information, please contact the projectleader Sjors Swierstra, email@example.com.
Stay up to date with the latest news about the project on the special Sugerpage on Facebook!
All photograpers also worked on an assignment in the Netherlands, except for Carl de Keyzer. He photographed the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
In the media
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
On 8 May 2012 the Radio Netherlands Worldwide website published an article on the project in English, Bahasa, Papiemento and Brazilian.
During August and September 2012, CNN-photo made six articles about the project, presenting photographs by each participating photographer, complete with interviews about their work.