‘Lines of solidarity.’ (Watercolour, India ink, paper, 21 x 29,7 cm, 2020)
An uprising inspired and led by women.
The body used to protect the injured and as evidence of police brutality.
It shows how women choose to be seen as equal civilians and want to fight for the same rights.
“Women’s” war has its own colors, its own smells, its own lighting, and its own range of feelings. There are no heroes and incredible feasts; there are simply people who are busy doing inhumanly human things.’ – Svetlana Alexievich, The Unwomanly Face of War
‘The Lucky Ones.’ (Picture on the left, India ink, watercolor, paper, 21 x 20 cm.)
‘Oh, you are one of the lucky ones!’ a Chinese student said to me a year ago.
I was sitting in front of him, and we were talking about our pasts. He was a very ambitious student who worked hard to receive the opportunity to study abroad and even had to finish extra courses to be eligible. At the age of twenty-four, he finally made it to Europe. I explained I was adopted when I was young and grew up in The Netherlands. I never considered myself ‘lucky’ compared to others. The one-child policy by the Chinese government is not something to be proud of: it was a difficult time that torn families apart. But the truth of it all is the fact I escaped an awful reality within the Communist Party of China.
I did not have to fight for freedom.
But I am afraid. I fear for my fellow brothers and sisters who are hoping for a chance. The Chinese Dream should be one of the hopes and dreams of the Chinese people of this growing demographic. Instead they are being silenced.They are beaten down. They are imprisoned. Still.
But even though their umbrellas are taken away, nobody can prevent the ferocious storm from coming. This storm will echo many voices, waiting to be heard.
‘Minneapolicy.’ (Acrylics, canvas, 40 x 50 cm, 2020)
Once, there was a man entrusted with the authority to protect for the sake of justice. Only the man was not able to use it within his own beliefs. It became an ideology, like a dream. Then he hunted down his prey, humiliated him, crushed him like a bug on the streets.
He finally won.
Even though the innocent bug begged for mercy, gasped for air and suffered. It didn’t matter: he died.
An innocent life has been wasted for the sake of justice.
But what justice without fairness, equality, and human rights can be righteous?
Rest in peace, George Floyd (25th of May, 2020).
‘Nocturne: A Prima Vista.’
The triptych of A Prima Vista (At First Sight) is an element of my installation Nocturne, which contained a live-action film and handmade puppets. The figures I painted by memory; they were based on real men I have met in different bars. The project was part of my graduation Teacher of Fine Arts & Design.
We experience an individual world, which is one of the many realities we see. With Nocturne, I chose the example of our nightlife, going out. I noticed how moral values lost their essence. Born as a woman with two identities, I met people who underestimated me because of my gender. Many men belittled or harassed me. They used their prejudices about my foreign appearance as an excuse to approach me and even were frustrated if I did not take it light-hearted. Most of them didn’t even understand. They presented themselves proudly as someone with ‘yellow fever’: a racial term that describes a preference – or fetish – for Asian people. We should ask ourselves why we allow this kind of behavior. This could be seen as an opportunity to redesign social structures in our society.
The development of A Prima Vista, 2018, started out with drawings about the men with charcoal. I changed the used technique into acrylic paint. This resulted in the final stage of the triptych.
Project Odensehuis: ‘Levende Geschiedenis’ (Living History), 2017-2018.
The project was in collaboration with Het Odensehuis, where people in the early stage of dementia come together and encounter each other in their daily problems. It was a true privilege to meet these three gentlemen in ‘The Room of Thoughts’ during the process of portraying. It was a room where they had created space to talk about their own points of view and to philosophize on the loss of memories, language and other thinking abilities. The men volunteered freely to join the group discussions.
I called the project ‘Levende Geschiedenis’ (Living History) because it is our history into which we let ourselves wander. My knowledge originates from what I have learned in life – I relive history. But if every moment counts, the loss of a single time frame can feel like a curse: the sooner you are aware of the struggle, the faster you might forget. In the end, you’ve lost. I tried to capture the moment of people who relive their memories in the small gestures they take to heart.
Therefore I kept a diary by drawing observations when I visited the elderly.
‘From Eden’ (Acrylics, canvas, 2017, 120 cm x 80 cm)
In 2017 I traveled many times by train. At a certain point, I noticed something different, something strange. Perhaps the unwritten rule people are supposed to be lined up, waiting for you to get out of the train. Pale faces were staring at me, shrouded in darkness. But I felt connected with the crowd because we all had a rough day. It almost seemed they were compassionate about me. Strangers, individuals. It didn’t matter where you came from, who you were. For once, people accepted to respect each other and just wait. Time lost its value and only human beings were left in the shadow of life. It was magnificent. Now I’ve finally seen it: The Garden of Eden.