Of Palimpsests & Erasure (2022)

patricia kaersenhout
Of Palimpsests & Erasure
Woven textile 341 x 520 cm
Courtesy of the artist


patricia kaersenhout is an artist and activist who examines hidden and forgotten stories, delving into ignored histories of the African diaspora and its movements around the globe. Of Palimpsests and Erasure (2022) is a tapestry centred on the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, an early eighteenth-century illustrated guide to the plants and insects of Suriname produced by Dutch slave owner Maria Sybilla Merian. The artist’s woven textile foregrounds the forgotten contributions of the enslaved African women without whom the book never would have come to fruition, superimposing references to the uncredited African female labour over a two-page spread reproduced from Merian’s manuscript.