Monday, June 22, 2015

A Search for Identity

“My subjects are always people in an urban kind of environment”
RaQuel van Haver

The Columbian born artist RaQuel van Haver was nine months old when she was adopted by a Dutch couple and along with her Sri Lankan sister grew up in Amsterdam. Her interest in art was sparked by the time she spent with her grandparents.

As she explained to Amsterdam 2.0 “Because my parents were both working we spent a lot of time with our grandparents. My grandfather was an artist, so that is how I got acquainted with art. I used to spend a lot of time in his studio and he would give me all sorts of pencils, paint and crayons and shit to draw and play with.”

After gaining her BFA from the Hoge School voor Kunsten Utrecht van Haver embarked upon her career as a figurative painter producing works that have the need/search for identity as a central issue.

As she has said “Everyone you meet in Amsterdam, no matter where they’re from, they’re always searching for something. There are all sorts of people in this city with all sorts of ideas but in some way, because of the environment, these ideas really connect and come together. Everybody’s open minded and accepting. And I really miss that sometimes in other cities.”

Mostly working on a large scale with oil paints made to her own recipe, van Haver collages her sketches with photographs to make non-existent, fragment interpretations of the real world. As she says in her artist’s statement “She rearranges reality and our perception by confront[ing] the viewer with their own identity (the identity of the beholder) and the identity of the Other, the other person. 

Van Haver elaborates, stating “these people are people from all strata of society put together, and I’m interested in how they interact…I’m very curious as of how these people collaborate in an urban environment.”

Her debut exhibition in England RaQuel van Haver: Metro 54 is current on show at London’s Jack Bell Gallery until the 3rd of July.

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