In this essay I will compare and contrast the approaches and goals of Richard and Sally Price and S. Allen Counter and David Evens on the topic of Maroon arts of the Suriname. I will explain how they present their findings. And tell what I think they would say the most important discovery or confirmation is. After all of this is done I will do follow up art historical research in the same area. The main focus of my research would be why anyone would be interested in finding out more about this particular regionfs art. The calabash maroon arts would be the art form I would research (relying on the experiences of the authors), giving a brief description of the research I would undertake. I will provide information on how I got the much-needed information about this art form. Also stating if I talked to anyone and why. Lastly describing what questions I would want answered if any.
First, I would like to talk about the approach that Sally and Richard Price had when doing their research on the Maroon arts of Suriname. I believe the Pricefs approach was to answer what they called what is undoubtedly the most difficult, politically charged and hotly debated aspect of the study of these arts: their deep culture-historical roots.
The Pricefs went to Suriname to do research on these archeological people to find out if these Maroon art works such as calabash bowls were truly African in origin, or if they have other sources that have provided an influence on them that is far beyond Africa. There was a re-emergence in the Maroon arts thatfs unexplainable to many scholars that have studied them. The Pricefs term this as a gunique balance of continuity-in-changeh. What this term means is, they feel there was a lack of documentation during these times and the arts where always around and there was no disappearing act.
Counter and Evens went to Suriname find Africa. They believe that Africa and the Suriname Maroons have a direct connection other than being of African decent as far as the arts are concerned.
I believe both the Pricefs and Counter and Evens had the same goals in mind, which was to find answers. To find out the unknown of these arts of the maroons, but their intentions were totally different. Like I stated earlier, Counter and Evens wanted to find Africa. The Pricefs wanted to study the fact that the arts are not African but of there own, something new.
It is safe to say Suriname is mixing pot of African cultures. And the Pricefs explain that there was a geographical spread of African slaves that were sent to the gNew Worldh. You have many different people coming from all over the West Coast of Africa. The Maroons are escaped slaves who fled in the deep jungles of Suriname. When they were left alone in the jungles the maroons had to create a new way of living and so came new cultural experiences. With a new way of living came a new way to communicate with each other. The Maroons created a new language called Creole. Slavery stripped the former free people of their land called Africa. So many things had to be created a new in order for survival, such as the arts.
This gave right to the Pricefs to say that, the culture and the arts that come within started in the interior of the Suriname jungles. The Prices say there is a cultural core that was developed on the plantations and with the Amerindians. A good example of this is the origin of the calabash bowls, which is said to be of Amerindian descent. But as it is told in Maroon tradition it is something of there own, not giving way to the originators which proves a point of the Pricefs saying yes the art and culture are of African influences but they do have an outside presents.
However, Counters and Evens, debate the fact that yes, the Maroons were out of their native land but by them being isolated deep within the jungles they were not effected by the outside world at first. They say they were able to keep the African traditions and cultures alive. The only reason some of the rituals were changed was do to the evolution of time. Everything must change, just as you see our American Constitution need amendments. Like in the Counter and Evens Film I Sought My Brother, a dance that was being done was changed. I believe it was when the men were doing a dance that involved the use of knives. At first when the dance was originated the dance did not involve the use of these knives.
I believe for both teams, the most important discovery or confirmation was the fact that each team got what they were looking for, answers for themselves a kind of self-healing. They both got the answers they were looking for. Counter and Evens concluded that the maroon culture was the same as Africa 300 years ago. Their confirmation came from eyewitness accounts of ancient rituals and ceremonies. That was very similar to that of African customs. They also said that many African words were used in the daily dialect of Creole. There were similar songs and the medicinal practices were almost identical as those of Africa. The jungle was a barrier from the evil world as we now it, the jungle let many changes change only outside of the jungle the jungle kept the African culture alive. As far as the Pricefs are concerned, do to the diaspora of the slaves, interaction between slave owners, plantation owners different African ethnic groups and the ingenuous people of South America. The Maroons culture that once was evolved into what is now, a new culture, a Maroon culture.
Now the question lies in my follow up research of the Maroon arts, why would anyone be interested in thin particular regions art work? My answer would be the calabash bowls; how they are produced and their many uses. My research would undertake many museum visits lots of reading and mainly relying on the Suriname Maroons to provide me with the right information to make a conclusion on my questions I would want answered. Such as how long have the calabash bowls been apart of the culture and why women mainly make the bowls. I believe for those questions to be answered I would have to following the footsteps of the many great historians and anthropologist, I would visit this most amazing place called Suriname.