Amo a la Reina | Bonnefanten Museum| Maastricht | 2020
Raquel van Haver (Bogotá, 1989) creates overwhelming sculptural paintings. She works on burlap, combining oils, charcoal, resin, fake hair, paper, tar and ash into strong textures. Van Haver documents and researches communities and groups in society in relation to the concept of identity.
For this project, Van Haver visited her home country of Colombia. According to the artist, the magical works refer to the natural beauty of the countryside and the inherent cheerfulness of the culture, which conceal deep social, political and economic problems and differences. Van Haver visited urban districts suffering from poverty and drugs problems, where gangs fight over territory and where a diverse population of migrant workers and refugees tries to forge an existence. Van Haver learned how social organisations to make the neighbourhood safer, to look after children and to educate youngsters are founded by women. As an ode to these women, who put their lives at risk for the good of the community,
Van Haver portrays them in large group portraits, some of which she presents in brick niches. Her paintings bring together several aspects of the Colombian culture, such as the dominant Catholicism and the turbulent socio-political situation, but mainly the close sense of community and the tenacity of the population.
Not only do the niches suggest Catholic chapels, but they also refer to Colombian architecture with its lively street art and the continual, hopeful new building projects. The songs originate from the Pacurita,
a movement in the Afro-Colombian community. They are often sung in church services to commemorate the deceased and to honour life. Fabiola Torres is one of the leading female singers of this genre.
Amo a la Reina tells lovingly of the close communities who, despite all the problems, keep finding the strength to continue building and looking to the future.