January to March 2020 Tembe Art Studio (Moengo, Suriname)
A project by Olivier Delebecque

blesi foe dem soema disi no si, ma tokoe dem bribi 
(blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed)

Date of completion: 3/21/2020
Dimensions: 5.80 x 3.40 meters
Material: wood (wana, basaloksi, bamboo)

A Sabaku is a Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea). It breeds in the Gulf states of the US, through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay. Sabaku is named after Talea’s own boat, a renown botoman of the Cottica River I befriended.

She is inspired by a type of boat that can be found along the Equator all over the world but rarely in the caraibean. It is a Jukung in indonesia, a double outriggers Proa in the pacific or a Ngalawa in Madagascar. It is mostly used by fishermen for coastal sailing. I choose this type of boat because of the facility to construct with local material and little knowledge. The short mast and the lateen rig are the main advantages since it can be repaired easily and doesn’t ask too many people to be manoeuvred.

I built her During my 3-months residency at the Tembe Art Studio. The Tembe Art Studio functioned as an open laboratory for all advice, stories or memories of sailing history in Suriname. Anyone interested in building the sailboat was welcome to participate. Since no one has ever sailed in a sailboat in Moengo, everyone participated as a pioneer. Including myself as this was the first boat I have ever built.

After building the boat, my second step was to open a temporary sailing school where a crew of aspiring sailors were selected. Ultimately, this crew of local aspiring sailors would cross the Marowijne River on the border between Suriname and French Guiana, as a symbolic sailing passage to Europe. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown the project has to remain less ambitious.

The whole artistic project behind this boat building is to publish a comprehensive clandestine manual that would shown the potential of minimalist sailing navigation for futur clandestine oceanic migration.

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