In the average academic’s office you don’t see much more than a bookshelf, stacks of paper and perhaps a photograph of his or her partner and children. But if you take a good look around, you’ll find unique gifts, mementos, or works of art.
Martin Blok regularly receives ISS students in his office. As a student counsellor and confidential counsellor, he is an important contact for students. And with students from all over the world coming to his office, he is regularly given unique gifts. These gifts are exhibited in a glass cabinet (or on the floor or the wall next to it). “But the gifts I like best go home with me”, he says.
A number of musical instruments from various countries – such as a ‘balophone’ from Gambia – are displayed on the floor. “Sometimes students also bring gifts for all their fellow students”, says Blok, as he shows bracelets an African student had made last year. He is most attached to a guitarist made of bottle caps from Zimbabwe, because he plays guitar himself.
Wil Hout has worked at ISS for 18 years now and he is one of the three board members of the institute. In addition to the numerous other figurines on his shelf, there is a small stone sculpture of a Surinamese manor house. The same building can also be seen in a drawing hanging on the wall above the shelf. The original building is a UNESCO world heritage site, built by the Dutch in the early nineteenth century. The FHR School of Business, a partner of ISS since 2003, has been housed in this building since 2000. “Both of these works mean something to me because I’m proud of the progress FHR has made in its development this past year. FHR graduates are responsible for a huge leap forward in the quality standards of government institutions in Suriname. One of the results, for example, is reduced corruption within the government.
Peter van Bergeijk is not only an economist, he’s also an artist. He proudly points out his work in the Auditorium. “This is something I create every year with the graduating students. During the official ceremony, they’re all dressed formally. I then ask them to dip their hands in paint and leave a handprint behind. And in between I shake their hand, taking them by surprise”, he laughs.
His latest exposition can be found in the Auditorium, made especially for the 65th anniversary of the ISS. The works are oil paintings. Each painting depicts eyes and in some cases viewers have to search out the image of an eye in the painting. Previously, with the Dean of economics Philip Hans Franses, he created an exposition about the economic crisis, and during the last lustrum event he presented works on self-plagiarism.
This time, the theme is perception. “This art is about the work we all do as scientists”, he explains. He is especially proud of a work he fashioned for the departure of his colleague Mohamed Salih. “He used all kinds of different research methods, so I applied all kinds of different techniques in creating this painting.”