Monument - Quinsy Gario - How to See the Spots of Der Leopard

How to See the Spots of Der Leopard

Quinsy Gario


Quinsy Gario, How to See the Spots of Der Leopard, 2020.

October 2020

In the seventeenth century, Duke Jacob Kettler of the Duchy of Courland, a Polish-Lithuanian vasal state in an area that is today western Latvia, commissioned several ships to participate in the violent European project of colonial expansion and resource extraction.

In 1645 one of those ships, De Hoop (The Hope) was spotted off the French coast of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, which was then a joint Dutch–French colony. The ship had been built in Zaandam, a Dutch city, and sailed under Dutch command from Amsterdam to the Grain Coast (present-day Liberia) for grain, then to the Caribbean for timber, and then back to Europe.

In 1653 the ship Der Leopard (The Leopard), also under Dutch command, sailed from Amsterdam to Guinea, where abducted and chained Africans were forced onto it. It then sailed to Martinique, where our ancestors were sold and enslaved to work sugar plantations established on the French colony by Dutch people, who had previously been expelled from Brazil by the Portuguese.

From 1654–1659 the Duchy of Courland had a colony on the island of Tobago, currently part of Trinidad and Tobago, after it had been a Dutch, French, and British colony. Duke Jacob Kettler had heard of the island in the Dutch city of Middelburg, where he was told about the difficulty in colonizing the island for the Dutch Republic.

In 2013 a statue was erected for Duke Jacob Kettler in Kuldiga, Latvia. During his reign, Kuldiga was the seat of his power and was called Goldingen, “the Golden City” in Baltic German, which was the ethnicity and language of the ruling class.

In 2020, Quinsy and Jörgen Gario, who are from Sint Maarten, a former Dutch colony that in 2010 became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, were invited to perform in Kuldiga.

Words and Sounds Jörgen Gario
Words and Scenography: Quinsy Gario
Camera Adele Bea Cipste, Inga Lāce, and Māra Žeikare
Edit Quinsy Gario
Production Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Ieva Astahovska, Margaret Tali, Jörgen Gario, and Quinsy Gario
Supported by The Mondrian Fund
Special thanks Ilya Lensky, Jews in Latvia Museum; Māra Zālīte, Pētera Putniņa kokļu darbnīca
For all who were taken and all of us who survive

Monument is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Colonialism & Imperialism, Performance
Caribbean, Slavery, Violence, Monuments
Return to Monument

Quinsy Gario is an activist and visual and performance artist from the Dutch Caribbean. His most well-known work, Zwarte Piet Is Racisme (2011–2012), critiqued the general knowledge surrounding the racist Dutch figure Zwarte Piet (Black Pete).


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.