Raquel van Haver, awarded in 2018 with the Royal Dutch Prize for modern painting, refers to her work as “strong” paintings that portray people on the edge of society. This is reflected in the exhibition Spirits of the Soil at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Visitors are greeted by a first room with a series of fotocollages made by the artist in 2017 for the Lagos Festival, invited by the African Artists Foundation. During this trip, van Haver, born in Colombia, came in contact with the marginalized communities of the great urban centers of the region, collecting stories and images. Back in Amsterdam, this material, along with other experiences in large urban centers in the Caribbean and Latin America, was the basis for the new series of paintings Spirits of the Soil. Through a combination of different materials, the large-scale works that make up the exhibition reveal Van Haver’s imaginary, marked not only by Europe, but also by the art of “other” regions and “other” stories.
The exhibition Spirits of the Soil is accompanied by the publication of an essay by Azu Nwagbogu, executive director and chief curator of the Zeitz Museum of African Contemporary Art in Cape Town, South Africa, and a prologue by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, curator of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Raquel van Haver’s Spirits of the Soil can be visited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam until April 7, 2019.
More information in C&AL
Raquel van Haver: Spirits of the Soil, Stedelijk Museum
Text and photos of Marie-Louise Stille, cultural manager and collaborator of C & AL in Berlin and Amsterdam
Translation from Spanish by Hernán D. Caro