Lives in The Hague, The Netherlands
How do you describe your own art practice?
In recent years my work has developed from multidisciplinary collaborative projects in the realm of design, fashion and autonomous art, toward a documentary nature. I work on long-term projects fueled by my curiosity for socio-economic and/or political situations. Topics such as labor migration in a global economic system, Diaspora communities and national identity in post-colonial regions fascinate me and inform my projects. I present my work within the art context; at galleries, art fairs and museums.
I constantly look for a visual language that best suits my story at that time; a method I translate to exhibitions, larger than life pictures, loose posters, maps and spatial installations. Because of this way of working, my presentations are often site-specific.
What was your first experience with art?
During holidays my parents always took us to museums and fairs that focussed more on antiquities and local crafts such as making cuckoo-clocks, lacemaking, glassblowing etc. Maybe that’s why I am strongly attracted to the tactility and materiality of objects. I started getting interested in contemporary art when I was in my teens.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
At the moment textiles, and what I call visual vernacular, with that I mean the native visual language used by the group of people that is the subject of my project. For example: the colours used and the references to house altars in the project A Nation Outside A Nation are inspired by the visual vernacular of the Philippines. Next to that (graphic) design, music and popculture is a big inspiration and I read about anything that I can get my hands on, on- and offline.
What do you need in order to create your work?
I absolutely love working at my studio, it’s spacious, light and it’s a place where I can think freely, meanwhile blasting the speakers with some global bass music (next to my art practice I’m also part of dj-duo NOGOOD/SUPER). Apart from having a great workplace time is essential. Projects materialise in multiple years but built-in deadlines for parts of a project force me to make decisions, since I tend to procrastinate when it comes to decide which direction a project should take.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m researching a couple of subjects I’m interested in. One project I can mention is The Anarchist Citizenship, a collaboration with Amal Alhaag a Somali Dutch curator/producer/radio host. The Anarchist Citizenship is a project set in the Northern region of Somalia; Somaliland, which is a non-recognized autonomous state since 1991. Despite its status Somaliland is the only region of Somalia with a functioning public administration, peaceful elections and its own currency.
The situation of post-conflict society Somaliland is particularly interesting because of the bottom up approach to building a nation state. Will Somaliland succeed to build a successful society and economy? What is the role of its citizen in this process, how do they relate to the young state and how is the identity of the citizen formed? How does an unrecognized nation state function in a global context?
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
I love being submerged in an artist’s own personal world. The small but beautiful exhibition of Christie van der Haak in het Gemeentemuseum The Hague and the room with what you might call ‘radical tapestry’ of Grayson Perry at the Bonnefanten museum in Maastricht both had an overwhelming effect on me.