Surisigns: Hand Painted Signage in Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname can often feel like the city that globalization forgot. Although four major ethnicities and religious groups live in relative harmony, the influence of transnational corporations, particularly U.S. companies, is much less than in other developing countries. However, an interesting intersection of local tradition and burgeoning international commerce is the world of handpainted advertisements.

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Handpainted signs take on a variety of forms throughout the city, but they tend to be the dominant form of visual and commercial messages on the street. These signs sometimes are manifested in the form of teardrop banners melbourne, because apparently, these garner more attention and are easily seen from a distance. The banner printing sizes are chosen carefully, so as to keep the text on them legible and something that is easily discernible from a distance.

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Handpainted ads fall into three main categories: decorative, local businesses, and global brands. Decorative images can be found on homes and businesses alike. Sometimes the images are more descriptive, and describe the kind of product or service offered inside of the local business. Recently, importers and distributors of international brands are turning to the traditional method of hand-painted signs as a major form of advertising.

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The distributor of foriegn brands such as Coca-Cola, Guinness, or Smirnoff hire a painter to put up the advertisement in order to drum up support for their imported product. Corner markets and grocers will often allow painters to put up images for free, as it beautifies the outside of the store and helps maintain their facade.But, if a distributor hires a painter to put up an ad at a sports stadium, the distributor must also pay the stadium owner for that visual space or must pay the City if their painted billboard is placed on public land.

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Sometimes the distributor will give a specific advertisement design to be transferred to the wall, while other images are more spontaneous. Some ads are more abstracted and impressionistic. My favorite paintings are those for unbranded products, which float on the wall, such as a fish, donuts and unwrapped ice cream bars. Although not all of the sign painters even consider themselves artists, these beautiful images are a great combination of decorative and communicative. Sadly they are giving way to the standardized, digitally printed, carefully managed marketing campaigns of global brands.

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