Who is Lidie Voorend

Icome from a very large and warm family (Breukelen, 1957). As a child, I coloured and drew a lot. It was my natural way of being: I liked to dream and fantasise. By doing so, I created my own place in the small domestic space I had to share with my 12 family members. It was normal, even as a young child, to roll up your sleeves; there were tasks enough in the house and on the farm. Besides, I was repeatedly told, not only by my family, but also at school and through church, that dreaming and fantasising is wrong, that being creative is secondary to making yourself ‘useful’. I always thought “later, when I grow up, I get to paint”.
Doing your bit for the betterment of society was the motto of my upbringing and that has shaped the course of my life considerably. In high school, because of my creative talent, it seemed obvious that I would go to art school. However, I chose tropical agricultural school because I felt an urgency to work for a more equitable world. For several years, I lived and worked in several ‘third-world countries’ (Guatemala, Niger, Mali).

Once back in the Netherlands (as a single parent), I studied economics and became a secondary school teacher. Then I ran my own conference agency. At one point, I became project leader at Dokters van de Wereld and put the phenomenon of statelessness among Roma on the map in the Netherlands. When my project time was up, I had a lot of desire but still supposedly ‘no time’ to devote to art. Tropical life still tickled me too much. In 2006, I was sent to Darfur (Sudan) by Médecins Sans Frontières. That became my last and most intense tropical mission because of the horrific war in that area. Since then, I have retrained as a nurse and am still able to mean something to people in often very vulnerable situations in the neighbourhoods around my current home town of Voorst. I feel a lot of gratitude to be able to do this work. It provides me with the most wonderful encounters.

Now that there is finally peace and space in my life, I fulfilled (from my 60th birthday) a promise to myself. I went on a course in realistic (fine) painting to learn the craft. Since then, I have expanded my knowledge and skills through workshops and training courses, explore as many museums and galleries as possible and study the work of artists who inspire me. I now have the space, literally too, with great thanks to my husband Bert Nollen, because I was able to convert the entire living room into a studio.
After many wanderings and with a rucksack full of life experiences and with beautiful, but also very ugly and sad images of poverty, pain and violence in my memories, I want to express my soul through painting. I found out that I think mainly in images. As a counterpoint to all ‘the nasty’ in life, I need to paint about the beauty and depth, especially that of humans and animals. In my paintings, I mainly want to capture ‘the beautiful, the pure, the small, but also the vulnerable’: that could be insects, a glance, humour, innocence, underlying emotions, the strength of something or someone. I often incorporate all kinds of symbolism and make combinations with abstract elements, leaving room for the imagination. Painting feels to me like … philosophising and like poetry. It gives me a sense of freedom; it makes me very happy.

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