We assume that we carefully consider our ideas about the world and base it on what is ‘right’ for humanity. But is that really so? What is ‘right’? Is your concept of ‘right’ the same as my concept of ‘right’ or can they be different from each other? What would happen if we could look at our ideas from a distance, open up to other perspectives and let go of our ideas, our patterns and our habits?
In my art I try to create a safe space where we come together to speak honestly and openly without fear of judgement, where we can co-create and play with serious ideas. A place where we can accept and appreciate each other, learn more about ourselves, and share perspectives about how we can live our lives together.
When I was a little girl I played in my parents’ bedroom where I found the Playboys on my dad’s nightstand. Not knowing that years later these magazines would have such a big impact on my life as an artist. For years I returned to my parents’ bedroom to view these magazines, which confused me a lot in my teens. Why do women turn me on? I did not realise I had never seen a naked man in my life.
When I later studied at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam, I found a box with nude photos of my parents. The photos were very natural and beautiful. They posed without any shame. That’s when I started photographing my friends naked, but soon I became more interested in photographing naked men. I’ve never heard of a woman photographing naked men. People said it was because the female body was much more beautiful to photograph and women had no interest in the naked male body. We’ll see about that! It sparked my interest in feminism and since then I have filled my notebook with many questions:
Why is the naked man almost absent from our visual culture? Why are most nude models in museums still women and the majority of artists men? What does female sexual desire look like? Why can women be intimate and are men labeled as gay if they do the same? Does your sexual identity determine who you are or what role you can play in society? Why do we need labels to understand our world, such as ‘man’ and ‘woman’, ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’? Even if there is a ‘you’ and ‘me’, could we also be ‘we’? Can we see man in all its colours and potential? Can we get rid of all the words and ideas that put us in boxes?
Can we feel free to be human?