Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too? is a community art project by visual artist and activist Patricia Kaersenhout, in collaboration with AGA LAB, GildeLab, BYBROWN and WOW Amsterdam. With this project, Kaersenhout (1966) delivers an artistic critique on Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1979), which celebrates strong women but under represents women of colour. Inspired by this work, Kaersenhout built an installation consisting of a large triangular dining table, full of symbolism, where she honors 36 Black women and women of color, ‘heroines of resistance’.
The project is firmly rooted in Amsterdam West through a unique, intensive collaboration between three cultural institutions, all run by women: AGA LAB, GildeLab, WOW Amsterdam, local creatives such as the emerging fashion label BYBROWN, and local women of the Kolenkit neighborhood.
Kaersenhout researched hidden and forgotten stories, like she did before in a body of work that unfolds as an artistic search for the meaning of invisibility resulting from the African diaspora and colonialism. Her work embodies the paradox of wanting to visualize the unseen and to allow the undefinable. The subjects Kaersenhout researches and broaches deal with the position of Black women in relation to sexuality, slavery, colonialism and racism.
After the development of the prototype in 2017 at WOW Amsterdam the work travelled to De Appel in the autumn of 2019. Another 3 protagonists were added, so in total 39 Black women are represented at the table. The amount of table runners, vessels and biographies is adjusted accordingly. Also a large series of glass vessels were produced by the artist, in collaboration with Vrij Glas in Zaandam (NL) as well as a catalogue with the biographies of 39 Black women.
Click here to read an essay about the work by Vivian Ziherl.
Click here to read the artist statement about the work.