Spring 2020 I was supposed to work as an artist in residence in China. Due to the Corona virus outbreak in China this was postponed. So the flight was cancelled and instead I worked in my studio in the Netherlands. Urgently watching the news about China and following my Chinese friends on Wechat. Their lives changed so much because of the lockdown. Meanwhile in the Netherlands we continued as usual – unaware of what was coming.
In the news about China I noticed a certain style of writing about the Chinese people that bothered me. But how should the media write about any group of people, how can they do that without generalising, how can you still depict a group as a collection of individuals, is that necessary?
Reflecting on these sort of questions I made a series of portraits. I saw these people online on Wechat (a Chinese online platform).
Portraits of persons, individuals. They are wearing protective face masks – as is a common thing in China (but at that time totally not done in Europe yet).
I painted the series on wallpaper to emphasise their homes, the lockdown.
Some are almost transparent, some are very heavy. Acrylic on wallpaper, variable sizes – around 20×30-40×40 cm.
Soon after I painted this series the whole world seemed to change due to the corona/covid outbreak. The wallpaper paintings were now reflecting my own situation. Resulting in the wallpaper series I hope to exhibit somewhere some day.
See also WALLPAPER SERIES #2 BIRDS
To support the people in China me and my fellow artist friends in Foshan and Europe joined our work in an online exhibition by the Foshan Art Institute.
My part was a video to show that people ( ‘the Chinese’ ) are individuals, each one with unique characteristics.
It was also published in the Foshan Daily Newspaper and by the Dutch Consulate in China on Weibo.