Stories and travelling shaped my vision | Raquel Van Haver

Story: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria | Producer, Breakfast Live Show

Raquel Van Haver reminisces her childhood in a Podcast with Abdul Raafi Mohammed for Sanatu Zambang Studio in Tamale about her childhood experiences and how that shaped her vision. She talks of the travelling she made and the stories her Mum read to her as a kid.

As a child growing up, travelling to Europe to see churches, to Italy to see medieval cathedrals or just staying in the Netherlands also expanded her views and vision on different perspectives on things around her. These experiences she says filled her visuals and her imagination to go higher.

Her Mums she says had this particular book on myths that she used to read to her. This experience with her Mum made her see herself as a storyteller but people close to her said she was going to be an artist.

The Netherlands based artist touched on a Columbian root and how it has shaped her vision of the world which is different as compared to her Dutch friends who have a European vision of the world.

‘’When I see my Dutch friend, they are born in the Netherlands and they stay in Europe, they have that European vision and I don’t have that. For me, my starting point is Latin America, my starting point is about colonialism how did Latin America become Latin America. How did Spain infiltrate, how did they kill many people? So, my history is always different. So everywhere I go, I always go back to that history. It is also part of me to go to several spaces like the Caribbean, Latin America and many places as well because in this continent, everyone is dealing with that kind of history in a way.’’

Raquel van Haver

Another topic the artist points out in this interview is the systematic racism that exists in the art world in the Netherlands and how it affects people of colour. For her, she does not see gender really playing much in the industry. People do not see females or males.

‘’We have a problem with a very racial system. So, we have quite a black and white system. If you are white, you are okay but if you are coloured, then it is not going to teach you the way you want it to teach you. So, the problem in Europe is not about being female or male but where you come from, what is your last name, what is your zip code or where your parents were born in Holland or are they, immigrants.

So, if you have said yes to all of them, probably you won’t make it to art school. In that community, they don’t support art all, they are more fixed on how to make money, how to survive or pay rent and how to stay very low key.’’

Raquel van Haver

Raquel ends the interview by calling for a reform of art education. She says that the current curriculum focuses on teaching about white artist perspective, white history and it is very European to her.  Her goal is to have more assistants who can also grow to have their own assistants to grow a very strong network of women artists in the Netherlands who will be there for each other, provide support and help to expand women artists in her community.

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