viernes, 19 de agosto de 2016


Poen de Wijs

Poen de Wijs (Dutch artist) 1948 - 2014
Portraits out of Africa 1, 2007
7. Drie Stammen (Three Tribes)
acrylics on 9 panels
80 x 100 cm. (each little panel is 20 x 25 cm.)
signed Poen de WIjs
private collection

Three times I was married.
My first wife was the love of my youth. MARGRIET taught me to how to make choices and to take onboard the consequences of my love for animals. Through her, I became a vegetarian at the age of 17. Since then, I haven’t eaten either meat or fish. It was through her that I also decided to start painting. With my second wife MARION we both built up a careers as artists. We travelled through East Africa, painting the people and the animals living on the savannah. This book is a report of the journey we made. Marion died in 2008. My third wife, MARLEEN, showed me the Inner World, and helped me obtain deeper insights psychologically, which in itself expanded my connection with the other creatures of this world.

Thanks to these three women I was able to walk my path, the SAFARI through my life. Walking together with them helped me discover, experience and develop. A rich life with many different adventures, in which I went through all the aspects of life and love, expressed in many of my paintings.

The African series of paintings is just a part of what I found in this world. That part I experienced together with MARION VAN NIEUWPOORT, my partner for 35 years. It was in the early nineties that we went to Kenya for the first time. We were 'hooked' immediately and visited Kenya thirteen times. Thanks to EVELINE HASSELMAN and CHRIS MODIGELL we had a studio made available where we could paint, see our models and teach art to others. But above all: they organized our SAFARIS. Nothing moved me more than a journey in a four-wheel drive through the Savannahs, spotting the variety of animals in their natural environment. Europe shows culture, Africa IS nature.

text: iBook Poen de Wijs - A Safari in Paintings, 2013

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Nowadays the national parks of Kenya - and there are many, all with their own nature and population of animals - are very popular with thousands of tourists. Beautiful hotel resorts on the magnificent coast near Mombasa make a holiday in Kenya a topic. The parks have high standard lodges or tented camps, some of them even have their own air strips. The resorts are serving up first class accommodation.
I honestly must say: I don't like places that are overcrowded with tourists. It always leads to the springing up of bars, disco's, mass entertainment and shops with cheap kitschy stuff. Spotting animals on the savannah from a bus with many other people (sometimes as many as 10) is not something I like. Yet on the other hand, the tourist industry in Kenya provides this third world country with an income that makes it possible to give the wild animals a safe haven in the parks, to protect them against hunting and poaching. These huge parks are actually protected areas of the country, they are really wild. There are no roads, just tracks, no fences; one needs a guide and a four-wheel drive to visit them. Nowadays, however, there are some parks with roads to transport the tourists in buses...
In 1993, when tourism in Kenya was still rather small, we were invited by my friends Eveline Hasselman and Chris Modigell (who nowadays runs the best resort at the South Coast, the LEOPARD BEACH RESORT) to visit Kenya, to paint in a well-equipped studio, to teach art, and of course to make SAFARIS. What an opportunity! It was the start of a series of visits which lasted for years. We built up a group of art students who worked in the studio where we mainly taught modelling. We could work for ourselves and made numerous sketches of the beautiful models, the people from the different tribes of the country. We held some exhibitions, in Mombasa as well as in Nairobi, while we enjoyed the luxury of the resort with it's beautiful garden, beach and sea, the Indian Ocean, and a daily visit of monkeys to our veranda. But the greatest gift was the safari. Leaving the coast for a trip into the country, first having a short flight in a small airplane and then being driven by a guide making game drives, had an important influence on our lives. The nature of Kenya with its unique and rich wildlife gave us a glimpse of where we come from.
Holidays in Kenya highly influenced both of our works, in which we could express the feeling of ‘Paradise Lost’: a moment without culture, just nature.

Text: iBook Poen de Wijs - A Kenyan Holiday, 2014

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