Charl: “So you are an Oslo girl, flown in to work for a Dutch company that does African prints. In an Indian style”. (laughs)

Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s La Javanaise is a filmic exercise which centers on the circularity of relations between a Dutch textile company, former colonies in the East Indies, the display of colonial history and current African markets within a contemporary, globalised world.
It uses the example of the textile firm Vlisco, which developed a particular fabric known as Dutch Wax or Wax Hollandaise based on the traditional Javanese resist-dye method batik. Under recent pressure of imitation from Chinese producers, Vlisco now brands itself as the ‘True Original’ Dutch Wax and relaunched as a fashion label creating images in the Netherlands, with international African top models presenting the products to an African clientele.

Proposing a set of loose connections between ideas of authenticity and imitation, trading and branding, performing and posing, presenting and becoming image, La Javanaise features (Norwegian-Sudanese) fashion model Sonja Wanda, (Dutch-Surinam) artist, writer and former model Charl Landvreugd and the (Nigerian-British) writer and theorist David Dibosa. Through unrehearsed dialogue and performance staged in the setting of the former Colonial Institute in Amsterdam, the work addresses the inextricable link between colonialism and globalisation. 

Before the screening Wendelien van Oldenborgh will talk a bit about her practice and La Javanaise in particular and after the film a conversation about the topics of the film in relation to the rest of the program will be explored in an open conversation.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh develops works, whereby the cinematic format is used as a methodology for production and as the basic language for various forms of presentation, collaborating with participants in different scenarios, to co-produce the script. With these works, which look at the structures that form and hinder us, she participated in various large biennials, and in smaller dedicated shows. Recent presentations include: tono lengua boca, solo at CA2M Madrid 2019; Two Stones (2019) in ’Bauhaus Imaginista’, HKW Berlin and Zentrum Paul Klee Bern 2019; Images Letters Stones (2019) for Chicago Architectural Biennial 2019; Future Footnotes, at Significant Other Vienna 2018; Cinema Olanda, at the Dutch Pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennial 2017 and .As for the future. at DAAD gallery, Berlin 2017.