Art is an unique source of dialogue for learning, experimenting, interpretation and building the future dealing with topics about climate change and rising sea-level. We are working to an artshow with a collaboration with contruction companies and artists facing, floods and the MOSE Dam in Venice. Click on About.
Photo Ellen Grael
During my several visits to Venice, the floating sea-weeds, the colors of the Lagoon and the many Islands around the city captured my attention and were the inspiration for the series ‘The waters of Venice’. My study-trips to Italy weren't coming out of the blue because at seventeen I went for the first time on a study-trip to Italy admire the many old masters. It's not the ancient city but the influences of nature and the atmosphere of the waters around this city that I gave form.I
I visited Venice several times and at my first visit to Venice in 2018, taking a boat trip, I noticed near to the central station lines on the wall with marks how high the waters could rise and what's going to happen without interference.The lines were kept in my subconscious and I took some photo’s of sea-weeds near by the central station. The atmosphere, waiting for the boat, the very warm weather, the lines of threat of sinking and the dark sea-weeds along the quay impressed me.
After my first visit and in the same year in Fall I started with my pastel-painting ‘The radiant waters of Venice’ followed by ‘Grey sea-weeds’. I felt an urge a strong flow to express my concerns about the sinking historical city. Like a call from the past in times the city was wealthy and flourishing. I used to have in mind the many floating sea-weeds in the Lagoon and many dark- green of color. Moving with the tide and without struggling against. Inspired by the sea-weeds I created more drawings, as an inspirational flow,
In 2019 there was a huge tide in the city and it was the first time i received a remark via social media from a colleague working in Singapore that my artworks responding to the high water level in Venice and this became a eye-opener to me and felt encouraged to make more and making announcements to connections in Venice and France.
I managed in 2020 to catch the attention of the Culture Sector of UNESCO based at the World Heritage Centre in Paris. Yaël Thomas stated: 'We acknowledge the quality of your project, which gives special emphasis to environmental issues through art'. And saying that my art project is very interesting !! And La Direction Artistique Fondation Cartier shared this opinion in 2021.
During my exhibition this year with my The waters of Venice’ series in Amsterdam people were asking why not the city and her buildings you gave form in your work..? in general I’m not a master in making drawings of buildings but much more inspired what the powers of Nature brings into the world. My way of working has been confirmed by large organizations who can follow, feel and understand the message in my work.
It is well-known that the Netherlands is a country far below sea-level. Over the ages it has featured a highly controlled water-management to protect our landscapes and historical cities. Even in Amsterdam, touristic like Venice, the water circulation is controlled and the waters in the famous canals are of a rather good quality and full of fishing birds. When I was in Venice in 2018 despite the blue-green colors, the murky and cloudy waters were opaque, I was wondering if there was still any fish swimming around. The Italian government has 20 years ago commissioned the building of the MOSE dam in the lagoon but for many years the constructions have been capped. After years of disuse in Autumn 2019 when the flood came along the city was 'drowning'. But what will it be like towards the end of this century, a rising sea level with one or worse perhaps two meters..? In the Lagoon and the canals of Venice, still there are many boats with odor and noise pollution. I was invited by Europa Nostra to be part of the International dicussion draft ( European Heritage Hub community ) to put Venice in the Heart of Culture and Climate Action launched at 28 September 2023. Have a look at page - About.
Venice with its important ancient and contemporary artists, architecture and history needs renovations and help, like many other anceint cities in Europe, if its to remain visible to later generations.
I am a Dutch artist living and working in Amsterdam. I started drawing at an early age. In my teens I followed private classes with a number of different artists. When I was seventeen, I visited for a study-trip Italy for the first time. Admiring the work of the many Renaissance artists, like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Del Sarto, Botticelli. These famous artists where of great influence in my career later.
The materials I choose are minimal; ink, water, pastels and some acrylic paint.My pastel paintings (drawings) are a mix of Eastern and Western tehiniques with a special pictoresque effect. Since my time at Art school, my affinity is with paper because the specific characteristics of paper I cannot translate to other materials such as linen.
The Radiant waters of Venice, 100x 140cm, 39x55inch