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Archives at Risk: Carlien Macnack

Carlien Macnack has collected an enormous variety of angisas over the decades. The diverse textile types and folding and binding techniques show how rich the tradition of this Afro-Surinamese head decoration is. The pleated headscarf is recognized cultural heritage, but if collections such as Macnack's are not preserved through policy, a lot of cultural-historical knowledge - and a source of inspiration for future generations - is in danger of being lost.

Carlien Macnack's archive

The angisa is, more than a fashion accessory, a means of communication. Traditionally, each way of folding, binding and wearing the headgear has its own name and meaning. The tradition of angisa tying dates back to the nineteenth century and has since been passed on from generation to generation. Carlien Macnack (Paramaribo, 1950) is an expert in this field. Since the 1980s, she has folded and collected many shapes and variants herself, thereby building up an extensive archive. By looking at the past, traditions and customs, Macnack finds inspiration for making new angisas. She previously provided various workshops at the Nieuwe Instituut.

The angisa as cultural heritage

Many Surinamese people came to the Netherlands around the time of Suriname's declaration of independence in 1975. They brought their history, culture and traditions with them. Since then, women from the Afro-Surinamese community have, as kotomisi, an undeniable place in the shared cultural history in the Netherlands. The traditional costume of kotomisi, 'women wearing a koto', consists of the dress of the same name and the angisa. Special variants are worn on special occasions such as birthdays, mourning rituals and cultural gatherings.

To this day, for a large proportion of Afro-Surinamese women in the Netherlands, the clothing tradition represents a celebration of solidarity, memories and their origins. To keep that tradition alive in the Netherlands, the Surinamese Women Bijlmermeer Foundation nominated the making of the koto and tying the angisa as cultural heritage. They have been on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands since June 21, 2014.

Network Archives Design and Digital Culture

In 2021, the organizations that care for design heritage in the Netherlands will unite in the Design and Digital Culture Archives Network (NADD). Knowledge about archiving takes place within this network. Design archives are also made visible and a digital infrastructure is being developed to make design archives accessible. The aim is twofold: to demonstrate the importance of this heritage for society and to find a sustainable solution for the preservation and management of the archives.

NADD consists of forty-five partners: large and small heritage institutions, designers, professional organizations, educational institutions and experts in the field of design.

All dates

17 Jun - 20 Sept
Nieuwe Instituut

From 17 June to 20 September

Nieuwe Instituut -  Museumpark 25, Centrum
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