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Almost five years ago I still had a studio in Rotterdam, filled with pieces and impressions that I had gathered in previous years when I worked in other countries.
Rotterdam had a program where students, who wanted to become teachers, came to my studio to meet an artist and to see how he set about making art. The students came in small groups and every time I told my story about the pieces that filled my studio.
One day a group of five women arrived, all dressed in black; they came in without saying a word and stood in the middle of my studio as if they were one person. The only thing that I could see was their eyes, although they looked away all the time.
I told them about my work and tried to make contact, but they seemed to just stand there.
After about thirty minutes, my story was finished, and I asked them if they had any questions or remarks and they started asking questions that indicated that they had been listening very well. All the questions were put in a very thick Rotterdam accent, which contrasted completely with the apparel they were wearing. Unexpectedly, they took out their cameras and recording devices, and started asking questions and making very pertinent remarks, with a typical local accent.
After their visit I started working on an abstract form with an opening for the eyes.
The opening makes the form figurative, and has nothing to do with the image of fear that is forced upon us by the media.
I consider myself very lucky to be able to try to look for beauty behind fear.
Of course the Burka is only one of the many small ideas I work with.
text by the artist