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Raquel van Haver

‘I want us to not let history disappear, and that the right stories are remembered and passed on. As an artist, I have a platform, so I also feel that I can do something about this.’

Raquel van Haver’s large-scale group portrait shows a gathering of notable activists, artists, students, historians, and philosophers. She depicts a number of leaders who have fought over the years, and are still fighting, against institutional racism, also including people from the political realm who have come into contact with each other. These individuals are from various groups within the black community, such as the hip-hop scene and the LGBTQI+ community. Van Haver herself was part of this group, which formed the basis for several grassroots organisations today. They regularly opposed anti­black racism in the Netherlands, in particular the racist character of ‘Black Pete’ as early as 2011, during the former MC Theater’s exhibition Zwart van Roet that same year.

Van Haver’s painting is the first in a series of works that will cover different organisations. Her goal is to create an archive of personal stories of pro-black activists from over a ten-year period, in order to give these individuals a face. She started by first painting her own group, as well as people with whom she had been in contact with. The resulting group portrait also refers to the regents’ group portraits on which the series is based.

Raquel van Haver

Raquel van Haver (Bogotá, Colombia, 1989) lives and works in Amsterdam. Her paintings explore the commonalities and differences between groups, and always refer to Van Haver’s immediate surroundings, whether it is her community in the south-east of the city or when she travels internationally. She is interested in cultural backgrounds, identities, norms and values. Her works are highly textured, often monumental compositions in which she combines oil paints, charcoal, resin, hair, paper, tar and ash.

The participation of Raquel van Haver in Refresh Amsterdam was realised through the annual joint commissioning of new work by CBK Zuidoost and the Amsterdam Museum.

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