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‘Reconstructions of a Past Still to Come’

Documentary project

Reconstructions of a Past Still to Come

The idea to start making documentary art was born in an office building in Jakarta August 2015. We where doing interviews for a documentary film in a richly decorated interior. On one of the walls there was a huge painting depicting a gruesome scene that took place between 1965 and 1968, in which Indonesia’s bloody anti-communist purges took place. The person we interviewed was a communist but he had survived and was now one of the richest men in Jakarta. He kept the painting as a morbid reminder of his past and a sign of victory for his old opponents to see when they came to visit him for business.

That’s when the documentary value of painting struck me. Up until now my paintings where mostly about technique, soothing imagery, color and composition, but never about documentation. It was never really about content. I realized then and there that art could be just as it was during the renaissance. Just like the painting of Eugene Delacroix showing Victory leading the people of France during the French revolution. An interesting thought I kept in mind.

A few months later we had been traveling around the Mediterranean coast a lot shooting story’s on refugees. We had seen them in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Libanon,Turkey and Greece. It was only in Slovenia that a scene struck me with such force that I just had to paint it. I was convinced this scene of a father carrying his son on an five mile journey between the borders of Croatia and Slovenia had to be documented. ‘La Vie en Rose.’ (Welcome to Europe) showed the first breach in optimism felt by refugees and the European governments alike. We where not ‘going to manage this’ like Angela Merkel said. We where actually in for a disaster… This moment had to be saved for future generations. At least, that is what I thought.

I was convinced the power of this image would grow by the years.

And I am still pretty hopeful it might,

La vie en rose

‘La vie en Rose’ (Welcome to Europe) 120×170 Acrylic and Tempera on canvas 2015

 

SLOVENIE

Film still from the documentary we filmed the Slovenian / Croatian border.

 

SLOVENIA : “Welkom in Europa”

The television report we made that led to painting: 'Welcome to Europe' (La Vie en Rose)

During this I started noticing the fast pace of the sentiments surrounding the refugee problem. Huge events like the terrorist attacks, the rapings in Cologne, the sudden increase of Syrian refugees, the drowning of the child Aylan etc. caused a massive fluctuation in the way people looked at the crisis.

If in one week everybody was shocked and showed empathy towards a drowning child a week later everybody would be angry about madly raping cavemen invading our territory.

I found this where interesting sentiments to document and I tried to paint characters showing a specific emotion during the crisis. I wanted to make a series to would ultimately be useful in reconstructing the past that awaits us. ‘Reconstructions of a Past Still to Come’ would be the name of the series.

In this series Mounir stands for the reasonable refugee not having anything to do with what happened in Cologne, but still being judged for it as if he had participated.

Mounir

‘Mounir le Raisonnable’ 170x120cm acrylic and charcoal on canvas 2015

‘Mounir le Raisonnable’ stands for the reasonable refugee not having anything to do with what happened in Cologne, but still being judged for it as if he had participated.
SALIMA

“Salima La Bien Aimée” 120x170cm Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 2015

After came ‘Salima La Bien Aimée’ (The beloved Salima).

Salima tells us the story of a Syrian girl growing up in Europe and adapting wonderfully to our society because we  want her to so much. We love and compliment her on her achievements of learning our language, our ways and our style of dressing, but deep inside Salima is sad about the part of her identity she had to cover up and leave behind.

‘Marie-Ange L’Auras Voulu’ will play the role of the ‘Gutmensch’. A term that some people tend use to describe someone with a compassionate heart for the asylum seekers. A person that simply does not understand that its good intentions will ultimately mean the destruction of our glorious society.

‘Karim le Benjamin’ the youngest member of the family is a symbol for what looks like a global enlargement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. The rhetoric of building walls, sinking ships and expelling Muslims versus the sentiment to help the victims of war and risking to take in terrorists by doing so.

 ‘Salima la Bien Aimée’ weeps for the identity she had to leave behind to allow her escape to a safe existence.

The series “Reconstructions of a Past Still to Come” is still in development but is open to acquisition on publication and exhibition.

 

Slovenie

Refugees at the Slovenian / Croatian border. Photo: Alexander Koning

L'Etranger

‘L’Etranger’ 50x60cm acrylic on canvas 2015

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“Pour Elle’ 40x60cm acrylic and charcoal on paper 2015

‘Pour Elle’ is an ode to my girlfriend Loes who helped me put some of the horrid hardschip I witnessed during my travels in perspective.

 

IDOMENI

Working in refugee camp Idomeni/Greece 2016

 

voyage

‘Le Voyage’ 100x120cm acrylic on canvas 2016

 

MOMO

‘Momo’ 40x50cm acrylic on carboard 2015

 

atelier

Working on ‘Reconstructions of a Past Still to Come’ 2016

MEDIA
Paintings, photography and videos to the project.

Photo gallery:

Reports we made on refugees:

SLOVENIA : “Welkom in Europa”

GREECE : “De Kinderen van Idomeni”

LESBOS / LIBANON / NETHERLANDS : “In het spoor van de vluchteling”

LYBIA : “Mensensmokkel in de Libische chaos”

TURKEY : “De migrantenmaffia”

BELGIUM / NETHERLANDS / FRANCE : “Grenzen aan Barmhartigheid”