Raquel van Haver’s practice is enlivened by bold and energetic murals of quotidian life. Opening small windows unto scenes of frivolity and family, van Haver resists the notion of voyeurism, curating authentic access into other worlds and spaces. In these dimly lit doorways and crowded rooms, van Haver realizes new and exciting connections and dialogue, igniting glimmers of recognition in her visceral and emotive displays.
Her art candidly portrays her intimate circle at their most honest, familiar faces appearing in the comfort of their own homes, local haunts and beloved spots. In their personal anchoring to place and time, van Haver’s paintings delve into an exploration of global connectivity, where migration, cultural history and the ritualistic quality of day-to-day life underpins the unity of human existence.
Working mainly on burlap and combining oil paint with tar, chalk, resin, hair, paper, ash and even telephones, bottle caps and beads to inspire heavily textured compositions, van Haver’s work explores identity, spirituality and urbanism transnationality. Drawing from a myriad of personal encounters within the diasporic community, non-traditional materials become yet another means to tell a narrative and communicate a sense of place and history.
Often monumental in scale, what she terms as her “loud paintings” inspire intensely immersive experiences that continue to negotiate the postcolonial discourse around alienation and acceptance.
Her latest series is an investigation of her own heritage, looking at the political repercussions that sit at the intersection of gender and nationality.
Written by Lauren Gee
Photo by Niké Dolman