Solo exhibition Raquel van Haver
Opening-speech by Annabelle Birnie (director De Nieuwe Kerk and Hermitage Amsterdam)
Amo a la Reina
Van Haver refers to her work as ‘loud’ paintings that sympathetically portray people on the fringes of society. She works on burlap, combining oil paint, charcoal, resin, hair, paper, tar and ash in heavily textured compositions. The paintings explore race and identity, drawing from African, Western, Caribbean and Latin American cultures within her community in the South-East of Amsterdam, Netherlands. More recently she has spent long periods abroad gathering source material in both West Africa and South America. Her works are often monumental in scale, at times dark and ominous and continue to negotiate boundaries between social hierarchies.
With her raw, narrative and figurative style of painting, Van Haver challenges the Euro- American canon. Her imagery is nurtured by art from ‘other’ regions and with that she tells ‘other’ stories. Although the format of her canvases is reminiscent of history painting, her compositions do not depict the exploits of figures from the west. At the heart of her work are the ‘spirits of the soil’, the central figures in the histories of colonialism, imperialism, migration and diaspora.
— exhibition curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Van Haver was born in 1989 in Bogota, Colombia. She lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Solo exhibitions include ‘Spirits of the Soil’ at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, November 2018 – April 2019. Her work has also been exhibited at the Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands and BOZAR Centre For Fine Art Brussels. She recently won the prestigious Dutch Royal Prize for Painting. Van Haver graduated from HKU, Fine Arts, Utrecht, in 2012.