dossier Living with Land Otherwise Series
Recap of online conversation 'Stones Have Laws'
11 January 2021
Last year, ArtEZ studium generale showed Stones Have Laws (Dee Sitonu A Weti) as a part of their research program LAND: on climate, ownership and coexistence. The film tells a precious story about the ties between a Maroon community and the land with which they live in the former Dutch colony of Suriname. Scripted through a relation of trust with people of the community, the film weaves African ancestral traditions, stories of escaped slavery, contemporary rituals, and their ongoing struggle for attaining land rights in the face of industries that threaten to devastate the region through logging and mining. A claim for rightful relations between land and people, the film depicts how laws of nature prescribe a duty to care for and respect the land; to ask for permission before cutting down a tree or moving a stone, and to form a social contract that ensure that current uses of nature do not endanger its future sustenance for generations to come.
In the following excerpts from the video registration, filmmakers Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan and Tolin Erwin Alexander discuss with moderator Kevin Headley how crucial it was for the film to support the land right struggle of the Maroon community. Until their land rights are recognised, the Maroon community continues to live with uncertainty, as the government displaces the Maroon communities for the extraction of natural resources such as petroleum, gold and bauxite. The film makers also spoke about how they developed a trustful relationship with the communities involved, which ensured that this film was told in rightful ways.