Statuary and Street Art in Paramaribo

As usual, one of the best parts of exploring a new city is wandering, sometimes aimlessly, to see what we can see. There is no dearth of statuary in Paramaribo. There seem to be monuments and statues at each little square spread throughout the town, however many times the plaques are missing or weathered beyond legibility. We enjoyed the walk and did our best to identify what we could. mama sranan statue

This bronze statue of three girls was in a tiny square on our walk into town each day. It had no plaque or description, but I learned later that it was a “gratitude gift” from the Netherlands to thank the Surinamese for their help during WWII.

thanks from the netherlands statue

We had to walk out of our way to find this aluminum sculpture representing the first two Indian indentured laborers who immigrated to Suriname and arrived aboard the Lalla Rookh in June 1873. Located in a beautifully kept little park, this statue is dedicated to the 34,000+ Hindustanis who made the voyage between 1873 and 1916 and the heritage and culture they built over the years for their Surinamese descendants.

baba en mai

Mahatma Gandhi, a little, unassuming fellow, stands tall and proud near the Central Market area.


I SU – Found this not far from Fort Zeelandia. No info was provided, but the artwork says it all.

i heart su

The plaque was missing, but info on the Internet indicates that this sculpture situated in the middle of a non-functioning fountain was to commemorate Surinamese independence in 1975. Note the carillon in the background.

independence statue

This obelisk, its top atilt, sits in a dominant location on the foreshore, but I could find no information about it, its significance or its creator.


My favorite statue was Kwakoe breaking away from his chains and symbolizing the end of slavery in Suriname in 1863. He was located in a small, very busy square not far from our hotel. Unfortunately, someone walked off with the sculpted bronze broken chains that once dangled from his wrist manacles. One reference to this statue indicates it is called Keti Kati (Chains are cut).


Queen Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands 1898-1923, stands regally outside the walls of Fort Zeelandia overlooking the Suriname River.

queen wilhelmina

A tribute to Johannes Helstone, Surinamese-born pianist and composer was quite impressive, but sadly defaced.

johannes helstone monument

We ignored most of the politicians' statues, except for the rotund figure of Johan Pengel, Minister-President from 1963-1969, standing portly in Independence Square. How can you neglect a bronze belly like that?


There was not as much street art as I would have imagined. Perhaps, we looked in the wrong places. We liked what we saw though.

street art

Today's Dutch word – standbeeld – statue

Tomorrow … we're checking out Parbo's many houses of worship … mosques, temples, synagogues, cathedrals. Dress appropriately and put on your walking shoes.

Woodstock - Tags, Graffiti & Street Art pt. 2

Back on the streets and into the hood, each corner we turned within the maze of Woodstock's streets  held something of a surprise. Note how the minaret of the mosque in the background adds to the Islamic theme of the mural. minaret in background

Then there's Gympie Street, a once notorious part of Woodstock famed for gang clashes, heavy drug dealing (the locals call it Drug Alley) and “smash and grab” thefts and muggings. They've obviously cleaned it up quite a bit and the street art adds a civilized air to a street once known as one of the most dangerous in the world.

elephant on gympie street

kings and castles

We were surprised and disappointed to see some work defaced by taggers. We wondered the thoughts, if any, behind the vandalism. Dislike of the work? Disrespect to the artist? Or more probably … I've got a spray can and want to put my mark here?

tagging over street art

Some of the buildings are so derelict and dilapidated, we wondered how they managed to still be standing. Others had been reclaimed and gentrified … fresh paint, windows replaced, latched ornate gates leading to small garden plots. There seems to be no distinct line of demarcation between the two and the street art works to tie it all together

heart figures


Vacant lots, strewn with trash and old rubbish, begged to be included … and they were.

vacant lot


vacant lot


vacant lot

The messages are varied. Masai from the UK concentrates on endangered species.

endangered giragge


endangered gorilla

We especially liked several murals by Jack Fox. The shrewd “fox” always has a story to tell.

jack fox mural


jack fox mural

And so, we've shared with you some of what we saw, but I did save the best till last. My favorite ...

zebra suit

By the way, if ever anyone asks me to describe a perfect day … this was mine.

Note:  I did my best to attribute the artist's name to every piece that I could. For those I could not attribute, I beg the pardon of the artist.