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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, globalized 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 has relaunched as a fashion label creating images in the Netherlands, with international African top models presenting the products to an African clientele.
La Javanaise features fashion model Sonja Wanda, artist, writer, and former model Charl Landvreugd, and the 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 imagination and authenticity and between colonialism and globalization. 

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, born 1962 in Rotterdam, is an artist based in Rotterdam. Her practice explores social relations through an investigation of gesture in the public sphere. She received her art education at Goldsmiths College, London during the eighties and has been living in the Netherlands again since 2004. Recent works include: Bete & Deise (2012), Supposing I love you. And you also love me. (2011), Pertinho de Alphaville (2010). Van Oldenborgh has exhibited widely and participated in the Venice Biennial 2011, the 4th Moscow Biennial 2011, the 29th Bienal de São Paulo 2010, and at the 11th Istanbul Biennial 2009. 

2-channel video installation, 25 min

Photo: Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam and the artist

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur