Buses in Paramaribo are privately operated, mostly by Hindustani owners. The buses are small, but still pack around 30 people. They are extensively decorated, mostly with movie heroes, crazy lettering, beautiful women, pop stars, slogans, patterns. In terms of themes, Bollywood seems to dominate the landscape.
The 2009 / 2010 SPAN project organised activities to stimulate conversation about contemporary art and visual culture in Suriname, about art practice in a particular location at a particular time. This was developed through meetings, a book, an exhibition, and a blog.
This blog post reports about a meeting between contemporary artists, street sign painters who paint advertisements on walls and bus painters. It mentions that “bus painters concentrate on stars and heroes, emblems of beauty, to attract people.” In itself that seems not too have changed that much since then, but an apparent change is the absence of hand painted imagery on buses. Most, if not all decoration is done using digital images, photo’s, computer designed typography, printed on self adhesive supports which are applied to the vehicle.
Mister Radjen operates a bus between Knuffelsgracht / Heiligenweg and Kwatta. His car is titled ‘Kwatta Pasie‘. The word ‘pasie’ being a brilliant mongrel between ‘passie’ the Dutch word for ‘passion’ and ‘pasi’ the Sranan word for road, or passage. I haven’t asked if this is a deliberate word play.