Interview Chequita Nahar
The large autumn exhibition iNbetweeN IDENTITIES opens on Friday 9 September. Chequita Nahar has curated the exhibition for GLO’ART as guest curator. She is a jewelery designer and fulfills a leading role at Maastricht Institute of Arts, part of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. “I consider it a privilege to scout and coach talented visual artists. GLO’ART is an excellent platform to present these creative people to the public.”
Chequita Nahar ensures diversity in art education
The roots of Chequita Nahar lie on the other side of the world in Paramaribo. She was born in Suriname. It is therefore not surprising that her work as a jewelery designer is strongly based on her cultural background. She makes frequent use of materials such as silver, rope, wood and porcelain. In her jewelry she combines Surinamese symbolism, crafts and techniques that she connects with her experience of Dutch culture.
In 2021, Chequita Nahar (51) could be seen with her contemporary jewelry at the EXPO iNbetweeN. This year she has been asked by GLO’ART to curate the new exhibition as guest curator with Art Director, Zoë Schoonbrood. A job she gladly accepted. She is tried and tested in the world of the visual arts. Through her work as a training manager at the Maastricht Institute of Arts, she knows many important players in the cultural field. As a student she herself ended up at the art academy in Maastricht in 1992. She then did her master’s degree at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. “I then got a job in Paris to return to Maastricht in 2001. Initially as a teacher in jewelry design. After that, I got the role of coordinator and then I progressed to training manager at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Talent development has always been a common thread throughout my career. It’s integrated into everything I do. There is nothing more beautiful than scouting and coaching young creative people. I enjoy enthusing students.”
Identity – The iNbetweeN exhibition has been held several times by GLO’ART. Chequita Nahar has now added the Identities theme. “Identity has become a very topical part of the debate in society. It is an issue that I do not shy away from, an important aspect. Who are we? What are our motivations and dreams? How do we deal with diversity? It is only a small selection from a bulk of subjects.”
She naturally applies the theme to the participants in the exhibition. “Who are you as an artist? What do you stand for? What story does the artist want to tell with his work? Like no other, they are able to express their thoughts, stories or vision with, for example, their paintings, objects and installations, something that is sometimes a bit more difficult for some in words.
Narrative art perhaps best summarizes this part of the visual arts. “But the story has to be part of the creation,” said Chequita Nahar, who is known as a major promoter of diversity and inclusion in arts education. “We really think that’s necessary.”
Talents – About thirty artists are given the opportunity to present themselves to the public at iNbetweeN IDENTITIES. This includes artists who have already built up a name and a whole group of talents. Chequita Nahar mentions David Bade as one of the people who are making good progress in the Netherlands. He is known as a sculptor, painter and draftsman. For example, he entered into a lifelong collaboration with the museum in Glaspaleis Schunck in Heerlen. He regularly gives workshops there and makes portraits, ultimately creating an image archive that records Heerlen’s DNA. “We have asked these artists to nominate 1 or 2 talents themselves, which we in turn approach for iNbetweeN IDENTITIES.”
Kunstbende – For the first time, four young participants from Kunstbende Limburg (Netherlands) – the makers of the future – will be given the opportunity to participate in iNbetweeN IDENTITIES. Chequita Nahar is very pleased with that. “Making children and teenagers enthusiastic about visual art in the broadest sense of the word. That’s what Kunstbende does. GLO’ART also picks up on that. We want to reach all generations. Each weekend the exhibition focuses on a different theme. From visual art, design and spoken word to dance and (food) design. Even putting together collections and collecting art is discussed. For example, we start with music on the opening weekend. Then a DJ comes to play in the art park. I’m already looking forward to it. By making Kunstbende part of the exhibition, GLO’ART reaches a new audience. With a view to the future, that is very important.”
Kunstbende director Paul Moerel is pleased that the young people can present themselves at GLO’ART. “This is exactly the platform we are looking for. We are already working together with the art academy in Maastricht. For example, students supervise the youth who participate in the creative competitions of Kunstbende. It is a unique experience for the girls and boys that they get a place outside our own stage to show what they can do. As far as I’m concerned, the knife cuts both ways.”
During the duration of the exhibition, GLO’ART will open a temporary Gallery-Open Art Space in the St Pieterstraat in Maastricht, where “PLAYGROUD”, an activity linked to the exhibition iNbetweeN Identities, will include workshops,
and artist lectures. In this activity, the connection is also made with Maastricht Institute of Arts and other partners involved in this project.
Kunstpark GLO’ART has started the exhibition iNbetweeN to make a connection between the Euregio and the art courses LUCA School of Genk, Hogeschool PXL Hasselt, Design Academy Gut Rosenberg Aachen and Maastricht Institute of Arts. “Almost like a spider in the web,” explains Chequita Nahar. “GLO’ART is the connector. An important link between the visual artists and the educational institutions. We have made a tour of the academies to select young talent who have just graduated that match the theme of the exhibition and present them to the public. This is exciting for me too. Participant last year, now guest curator. In principle, I do this for 1 year, but I certainly want to think along about the future vision of GLO’ART. The art park wants to be an important player in the market. This can certainly be achieved with a good vision. After all, there is gold in creative talent in the Euroregion.”