Victor Sonna (1977) was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and moved to the Netherlands at a young age. He studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven before transferring to AKV St. Joost in Den Bosch. He trained as a visual artist and has continuously lived in Eindhoven throughout his time in the Netherlands. Victor Sonna frequently utilizes existing material in his work, transforming it into dramatic works of art. His work can be found in collections across the world and is exhibited internationally.
Anatomy of Identity
The Netherlands was the last country to abolish slavery. Why is it that we often do not know or acknowledge our own history? This artwork is made of scissors and chains. Here, Sonna uses the metaphor ‘cut up society’ and its inextricable connection with the Dutch history of slavery.
Sonna: “For a long time I was searching for my identity. Both as a Young African in a Western Culture and as Westernized African in an African culture. My origins and identity are in a constant state of tension. This poses a challenge for me to retain my origins on the one hand while continuing my artistic development on the other hand.
Individuals, organizations and countries present their identity as a fixed entity. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing search for progress and innovation. What is the color of the Netherlands? Does anything ‘typically Dutch’ even exist? In a world in flux, we are slowly losing our ground due to a multiplicity of ideas, attitudes and political points of view. Because of conflicts, we are getting to know ourselves and we are beginning to doubt the assumptions of old. Something has got to give before it can be rebuilt again.
A flag as a symbol of our national identity is only a colorful rag. Still, it has something to say about the country we belong to. A rag of limited dimensions but with unlimited power.In this light, I can envisage a new Dutch flag of solidarity and individuality, which might offer us a way towards redefining who we are. Searching for new means of identification, the question is: ‘With what would I like to be identified?’”
Image by Victor Sonna