Beauty and Abomination

Last night I rode my bicycle through my beloved polder. When I left home the evening glow was colouring the sky and when I returned it was pitch dark. Now it is light again, a new day has begun.

What we see is restricted to what we discern. Our thoughts about the world we live in are always shaped by what we perceive. But also by what we want to see.

As I cycle through my cherished landscape, captivated by the beautiful shadows in the crimson sky somewhere in this world schoolgirls are still being held captive by Boko Haram. Not as women but as slaves. Tools instead of independent human beings. I see little cots swim after their parents, begging and at the same time women and girls in Greek refugee camps don’t dare visit the toilets because they are afraid of getting raped. While I watch a hare running before me in the dark my father is suffering pains. And while I am pleased to know my way at the end of my bike ride even though the road looks different in the dark, elsewhere in the city people are racking their brains over their uncertain future because without a residence status they are not allowed to stay and they can’t go back because their home country refuses them.

Dying and living, to slaughter and to cook, murder and love. Everything is happening at the same time somewhere on this earth.

People often tell me my work is scary, fierce or not enjoyable. Does that mean art has to reflect beauty to have any market value? We all want life to be easy but we also want to experience things. To have children, love someone. Even those everyday things have a dark side. Those who love might be deserted or will desert someone themselves. When you have children you will live in eternal fear something will befall them. Giving away your heart makes you vulnerable.

But when you keep your heart only to yourself you don’t care about anything. Your life will be lived half.

My grandmother told me stories of her life. About not paying the rent one time. About stealing potatoes during the war. Her stories were coloured by the love I felt for her. She didn’t pay but she was no defaulter, she had stolen but she was no thief to me. She was a fighter. A brave woman who did everything to make her family survive. The sculptures I make do not always resemble nice things but they do represent what touches me. That includes anger and anxiety. We need that to survive.

Let’s look and watch with love. Do not avoid anger and anxiety but go right through it. That will make the world a better place.