About the work
In may 2021, I lost my father. He had not been ill for long, but the metastatic cancer was very aggressive. We had to say goodbye quickly. I had just turned 23 a month before. At the beginning of the mourning period, it felt like I carried a suitcase with heavy stones everywhere. It reminded me of the following quote:
"The ones with nothing to declare carry the most."
- Jonathan Safran Soer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Afterwards, grief felt like a love letter that could no longer be addressed. Where do you go with your love, time and attention when someone has suddenly disappeared outside of your life? My work is about my mourning period and besides the suitcase and letters it showcases many metaphors for grief.
Kunstpunt organizes the exposition '100x Art in the Akerk'. Here, hundred visual artists, designers and illustrators from the municipality of Groningen present their work. My work is called 'Grieving Journey' and it was painted with gouache in an A3 aquarel book.
Besides the suitcase
and letters, I hid the
in my work:
(New) shoes – Sometimes, when you are grieving, you wake up feeling excited for the day, but you will feel demotivated and lonely in the next minute. It’s kind of like buying new shoes that you loved the minute you saw them, only to realize that the shoes are pinching and hurting your feet once you get home and try them on. You think you are ready to move on, but that might take more time.
(Golden) ribbon – I was inspired by a quote about grief that I heard in the Dutch movie ‘Doris’. The dad of the main character passed away as well. He used to organize scavenger hunts on her birthday party. He decorated trees with red ribbons and buried a treasure somewhere in the deep, dark forest. One day, mischievous boys had removed the ribbons. The treasure was nowhere to be found. In the movie, the main character reflects on losing her dad. She says that life currently feels like a treasure hunt and someone has taken away all the ribbons. It is a big maze with no instructions to get towards the right path. Everything is on loose tracks. But at the end of the trail, at the end of her life, she hopes that her dad will be waiting for her, in the dark forest by the tree where the treasure is buried.
Car driving away – my dad used to be a big fan of cars. He worked for a car company and in his spare time he often tinkered with his own cars. The Italian car brand Alfa Romeo was one of his favorites.
Since I was a little girl, I kept a diary.
A diary is a book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences.
In my diary, I expose my deepest truths and most vulnerable fears. It’s also a way to keep my memories on paper instead of on my phone. Since 2017 I share my diary pages online on my Instagram. Ever since, 66.000 people from all over the world started to follow my work and that is how my illustration and painting career started. It is also the reason why I showcase my work today in a diary instead of on a canvas or on another surface.