Mission In my art I want to give attention towards issues that shouldn’t be there. The dark areas, the denials, the things that are ignored or taboo. I want to highlight that. It concerns for example the dead, the Jewish victims, the elderly, and school children with their silent grief. With the rituals that I design, existential stories emerge and get shape.
Background My mother had seven children in seven years. I was number seven. My mother did not pull this. When I was three weeks old, her own mother died and she collapsed. There was no room for me, and that is understandable. But the feeling that I really should not be there, is deep and has become my motive.
- In 1995 I graduated from the University of the Arts in Utrecht, department of autonomous design. At that time the landscape and places played an important role.
- 1999 – After the art school humans became important. Since 1996 I was I practicing ‘community art’ even when this term ‘community art’ was not used yet. It became clear to me that I wanted to give meaning to sensitive processes in society. It generated rituals. One of my first projects was the laundry project in my own street and together with the residents. (1998).
- Between 1996 – 2008 I executed large-scale art projects around demolition and changes. Everything came together in the last demolition project ‘Jackhammer and Treasure Chamber’ (Zaandam 2003 – 2006). It was mainly about farewell rituals. The projects were innovative and received a lot of financial support and publicity.
- 2005 – present: All Souls’ Day Everywhere. Cemeteries furnish as a hospitable place with light, fire and rituals. Surviving relatives commemorate their dead in a special way. This project meant an innovative impulse to our death culture. In 2008 I won the Yarden prize. All Souls’ Everywhere has also been abroad since 2018 (Denmark).
- 2012 – 2020 Names and Numbers. A commemoration project to commemorate the deported Jews from the Oosterpark neighborhood. Participants are given the opportunity to individually relate to a victim and collectively create a temporary monument. Every year 60 – 70 volunteers and several schools are involved in Names and Numbers. In 2018 I presented the concept at the Congress of International Memorial Museums in Israel.
- 2017 – 2019 Unknown Legacy! A project for the elderly in which they turn their life stories into an ‘artistic will’.
- I also use the rituals for short sessions with groups for different purposes. Guest lectures at the University for Humanistics at the celebrant training since 2016.
Thanks to: Michael van Hoogenhuyze, who followed me from the very beginning and provided a theoretical framework. Sikko Cleveringa for the many guest lessons at CALXL. Artist Jaap Velserboer with whom I have worked closely together. Artists Itie Langeland, Simone de Groot, Ada Leenheer, Natasja van Eijk, Jessica Panhuysen, Lenneke van de Goot, Saar Frieling, Mechtild Prins, Wendela Kloosterman. Arnold Weel (graphic design), Max Linsen (photography), Louise Koopman (editor) who also provided documentation and publications. The board members of the Allerzielen Alom foundation: Sander Hartog and Lucas van Rooyen and my regular volunteer, assistant and husband Bill Wei.