The life and work of writer and poet Edgar Cairo (1948-2000) is permeated by grief and shame about the colonial history of the Netherlands in Suriname. These depressing emotions also resonate in the documentary “Edgar Cairo: I will die for your head.”
With boundless energy and force, Edgar Cairo tried to overcome the differences that separated Surinamese from one another and Surinamese newcomers from indigenous Dutchmen. Recurring themes in the work of Cairo, the writer, poet, performer and painter are color and gender, but above all the colonial legacy that was ignored for so long
The intensely tormented Cairo obtained a university degree in the Netherlands but always thought of himself as a son of the common folk of Surinam. He tried to track the influence of white thinking and the language that went with it on the mind of black Creoles. Cairo developed a language of his own, a mix of Sranantongo and Dutch that left its traces in the talk of the Dutch ghetto’s. In his writings he laid open what others would rather have kept under the covers of embarrassment. His extensive oeuvre consists not only of works of fiction and poetry, but also of two hundred paintings, made with the same passion, impatience and adventurousness as his written work.