Dir. Natalia Sliwinska
Carludovica Palmata, a taxonomic name for Toquilla Palm, is a plant used in making Panama hats. Between 1913-1947, in a Braiding School based in Mariapatronaat Catholic institution in Paramaribo, a group of Surinamese single mothers used to make these hats. In the fibre collection of Naturalis, a drawer marked with the letter “C” (for Carludovica palmata) contains Panama hats in their different stages of making. Yet the story about the makers is not present.
This short documentary presents series of interviews with scholars, scientists, and members of the Surinamese community. The film investigates how decolonial re-reading of archives is currently taking place across Dutch cultural institutions. It further explores how the retelling of certain “invisible” stories should take place, what should be the role of institutions in preserving/acknowledging similar stories, and who should be allowed to tell them. The work further reflects on how archival material and storytelling could be used as a tool to empower those subjected to injustice, as a way to de-center the archival perspective.