Between 2006 and 2009 Jacquie Maria Wessels made portraits, in Suriname and The Netherlands, of many macho Surinamese men who were obsessed with their little songbirds. The ‘caged bird’ is the leading actor in songbird contests. In this ‘most popular sport in Suriname’ men from all segments of the population come together amiably, in peaceful combat over which bird sings the best and who wins first prize. After the independence of Suriname in 1975 this pastime came to The Netherlands along with the Surinamers. Both in Suriname and The Netherlands the contest are held very early on Sunday mornings: in Paramaribo on independence Square, over to the Suriname River, and in The Netherlands on lawns in parks, especially designated for this, in Amsterdam, The Hague and other cities. Stereotypical male attributes such as clothing, cars and motorcycles play an important role in this lifestyle too, but in photographs by Jacquie Maria Wessels the men reveal another side of themselves.
The analoghe on 6x6 series The Birdman is published in Photo Book ‘Cityscapes + Birdmen’ by Voetnoot Publishers in Antwerp Belgium, internationally by Idea Books. ISBN 978-90-78068-662
Her Book won two final awards in the international book awards (USA) in 2011.