translated by: Elly van Zutpen
I met Geke Westenberg (1952) at the Artfair in the RAI in Amsterdam. During the fair, Geke does not have much time to be photographed, but as soon as her assistant tells me she has a minute, we rush to the roof of the RAI building. Here we find a suitable place to take photographs, under the watchful eye of the guards.
Geke and her husband moved from Drenthe to Friesland more than 37 years ago and together they started Galerie de Vis in Harlingen. Geke: “Unfortunately my husband has passed away, now I run the gallery on my own.”
“I have a cheerful character and that is reflected in my clothes and in my gallery. I can see the colors of nature in paintings. My gallery is all colors, and so I am surrounded every day by the most beautiful shapes and color combinations. As a child, I was most happy being outside. In the past, everything seemed fine and infinite. We lived on the outskirts of the city and there, at the railway ditch and the sand field behind our house, I had a wonderful childhood. I picked flowers in the pasture and made ‘mirrors’ by harvesting cobwebs with curved tree twigs. ”
“In our backyard, I made mosaics from petals. I can still see the colors of that flower garden in front of me! Perhaps the need for color for my sister and me was born there. Later she made beautiful floral arrangements. At home, there was plenty of room for creativity. We had a very special mother, in lots of ways. She loved unusual designs in curtains and wallpaper. Huge motifs and exciting color schemes. That was reflected in the colorful decoration of our house. Because of the reflection on the water, Harlingen has a special light! And in the summer, when I pick the most beautiful bouquets in my allotment garden, with that wonderful smell of grass and flowers and earth, then I think… not much has changed!”
EVERY DAY A PARTY
“In the province, you will quickly be noticed if you are dressed in an unconventional style. For that matter, I have always been ‘weird’, much to the regret of my children. I have two sons, but now they do not mind at all. I got it from my mother. I have kept a lot of clothes and sometimes I get something, like this blouse from a friend and also this coat. The trick is to combine it and to find the balance. Like Dolce & Gabbana, for example. The best is when it comes from the soul, some people have that, little children, too. What helps is that you realize that every day is a party and that you have to keep on doing your best! ” In Gallery Vis, you can see the exhibition “Flowers in oil paint”, the work of Vincent van Ojen, until the 17th of March 2018. The gallery is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
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