Patricia Kaersenhout

Visual artist and cultural activist Patricia Kaersenhout, born in the Netherlands from Surinamese parents, investigates the meaning of invisibility as the consequence of the African diaspora in relation to her upbringing in a West European culture. Important theme in her work is colonialism and slavery and its nasty consequences for many generations. In 2017 she developed Blood Sugar, an installation of blood stained sugar cones, about Dutch sugar trade in relation to slavery. It became clear to her that since the 16th century the Netherlands became wealthy at the expense of so many lives of enslaved people. Sugar was sold by so called sugar cones, made in sugar bakeries, of which the first had been established in Amsterdam in 1593 while in the middle of 17th century already 66 were active. In those days the Dutch Republic produced more than half of the European sugar market: it processed more than 35 million pounds of raw sugar. By its tropical origin sugar was expensive and its luxurious character was emphasized by the import taxes charged by most provinces. Nevertheless, by its booming production sugar became within reach for many more consumers. Sugar can be regarded as one of the first forms of mass consumption.