Begotten of a Dutch mother and a Caribbean Father, Lisandro Suriel is a photographer born and raised in Saint Martin, an island in the Dutch Caribbean. Having solely been raised by my single Dutch mother in a Caribbean context conjured an early awareness of cultural differences and a double consciousness. Though Suriel felt very at home growing up, local culture still seemed somewhat foreign to him, as it was not endemic to his household. At the same time he did not retain a penchant for his mother’s Dutch language or culture. The culture that Suriel eventually came to embrace as his own was one that was imagined.
Consequently, throughout his work, Lisandro Suriel has always been interested in the telling of fictional stories that have a close relationship to his personal life. He maintains that these constructed fairytale images are an analogy to what is taking place subconsciously. Photographically, Suriel attempts to transform the empirical world into a rendering of a dreamscape to open up the mind for imaginative thinking and pull the subconscious into existence. The use of fairytale imagery as an artistic expression stems from the assumption that fairytales are universal, inherently constituting a world of archetypes that everyone intuitively understands.
Lisandro Suriel earned his Bachelor’s degree in Photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and received his Master’s of Art by research in Artistic Research and Art Studies at the University of Amsterdam. As part of his Master’s thesis he analyzed early twentieth century illustrations of West-Indian mythology in relation to cultural aphasia. This research forms the foundation of his ongoing artistic project Ghost Island.