I use my paintings as a medium to highlight the unseen people, to honour them and to introduce us to them, them to us. I translate my experiences to paint on canvas and thus offer an authentic access to an unknown world; groups of people in the most inaccessible and isolated parts of the world such as the Fulani communities in the Boé region (West Africa).
A few years ago, I lived and worked with these communities in a forest conservation project. These people live in such isolation that some of the people there had not yet come into contact with Western people like myself.
I feel privileged to have experienced a part of their way of life. I also realise the importance of building a bridge between their world and ours.
My paintings have a key role in this work.
We live in two completely different societies, but we all live in a world that we must shape together.
The people who live in isolated parts of the world are invisible to the West. They do not exist for us. And their authentic way of life is crushing under increasing pressure. Their ancient rituals, wisdom and knowledge are being lost. They show us inspiring and very different ways of life that are of great value in our common search for more connected ways of living with each other and with nature. This is the source of my mission to share my own experiences with the indigenous people through my paintings. I am indepted to these people and their way of life, and also to our society that gave me the opportunity to study here in the West.
I realise my peculiar position as a white woman and the risk of whitesplaining in my work, but I have no choice. Only I have seen this colourful unknown side of our world and therefore only I can show it to others.
That is why I deliberately paint extra honestly. I do not speak for them. I do not romanticise them. I only translate with paint and brush what I have seen.
With colours on canvas I try to fill a gap in our perception and show you an honest reflection of an unknown side of the world we live in.
This way, I contribute to the oeuvre of fellow artists who make the invisible visible and work to preserve other stories and values.