Dee Sitonu a Weti | Stones Have Laws


The rainforest of Suriname is mainly inhabited by the maroons. They are the descendants of Africans who were shipped across the Atlantic to work as slaves on plantations. Some of these enslaved Africans managed to free themselves.

They founded new communities in the Amazonian rainforest – an environment unknown to them. Here they met indigenous people who helped them survive. Building on their ancestral knowledge and on what the indigenous taught them, the maroons developed a way of life in dialogue with the rivers, the stones and the forest.

In Stones Have Laws, Dutch artists Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan teamed up with the Surinamese theater maker Tolin Alexander to collaborate on a film project that presents the colonial history that the Netherlands and Suriname share from the point of view of the Maroons and would express their bond with nature. This resulted in a four-year collaboration with the Maroon community involving storytelling, collective script-making, and performance.

In the film, the Maroons demonstrate rituals to contact ancestors and local forest spirits, and recite how foreign conquerors forced them to relocate over and again. In colonial times they battled fiercely against the Dutch colonial rule. Nowadays they confront multinationals that exploit their ancestral grounds for mining and logging.


Below: presentation of the film

to the maroon communities in the interior

of Suriname, March 2019


100 min, 4K DCP, 2018