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In Pursuit of Tongo

Project details

Bachelor – Photography
Cultural Diversity


This is a story about not being allowed to speak a language, which led to the fear of speaking and a strained relationship with language as a means of self-expression. However there is a deep need and desire to reconnect with language, and through this work, I hope to reform this relationship. To do this, I had to go back to the language I was not allowed to speak, Sranantongo.

In Pursuit of Tongo – a project that explores the fear of talking. This personal journey and extensive research inspired the quest for a tangible representation of the project’s essence—a physical space that could embody and materialize its findings. The project incorporates the use of the “Mattenklopper,” a sacred Surinamese symbol traditionally woven into jewelry. By employing this symbol, I aimed to bridge the gaps between the various factors I had researched and considered. This endeavor involved more than adopting a mere symbol; it became a process of crafting my own narrative—one that emphasizes connection and the transformative power of language. Each word penned and read became an integral part of the “Mattenklopper,” which found its place within the installation as a representation of my journey. The installation serves as a dynamic platform where both my video documentation and the crafted “Mattenkloppers” can be discovered. It symbolizes an ongoing dialogue, a continuous transfer (handover) among my past, present, and future selves—a constant exchange and re-experiences of memories.

“ This journey continues beyond these written words and this space I have created, unfolding with each step I take. I keep seeking answers, for the quest for language is a lifelong pursuit. ” – From the pages of my research document.