Bianca Berends paints Curaçao beach-life

Bianca Berends paints Curaçao beach-life

On November 15, 2014 Gallery Alma Blou will host the opening of an exhibition by Dutch visual artist Bianca Berends.

Gallery Alma Bou
Landhuis Habaai
Fr. Radulphusweg 4
(599-9) 4628896

.The exhibition remains till November 29, 2014.


Bianca Berends (1971) was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Curaçao since 2011. As a portraitist she works mostly in commission and in 2013 she painted the portrait of Curaçao’s parting governor F. Goedgedrag. Her ceremonial portrait of King Willem Alexander (2014) was officially approved by the Government Information Service of the Netherlands (RVD) and prints can be ordered through a special website.

Her upcoming exhibition in November in Gallery Alma Blou comes as a surprise, even to the artist herself. In May 2014 she stopped accepting portrait commissions and started to paint for herself, creating autonomous work. At that moment she felt a strong need to escape from commission deadlines, gallery demands and self-set expectations.

After quietly working in her studio for months she contacted her gallery in August 2014 for an exhibition opportunity. When she looked back at the paintings of Curaçao scenes she made during these months, she detected her personal recurrent theme of light and shadow. She also recognized her love to document beach-life, where ever she travels.

Bianca created paintings of the people of Curaçao, enjoying life at the beach. “I will never make political engaged art or use my work to shock community. That is just not me”, she says. “I rather focus on the ordinary, daily occurrences that we may not notice or value”. By creating an artwork about apparently uninteresting events she invites the viewer to re-consider life’s details and their worth.

Some paintings were made at Barbara Beach, others at Lagun or Caracasbaai. She captured small scenes of children playing on the beach, a family enjoying themselves at the seaside or an empty fisherman’s boat drifting in the water. Her approach and use of color are surprising and hard to ignore. A small boy playing in the water is set against a blue wallpaper-like background. A little girl at the waterside is accompanied by a sun and figure from a children’s drawing. These unexpected combinations create an extra dimension to the beach-life-theme. By playfully combining different elements she lifts the characters in her work to another level, adding to the joy and wonder of that moment.

The experienced viewer may also notice her personal development, from the moment she started in May, when she was still producing more realistic work, to the last painting of a woman reading behind the fisherman’s boats. In this work she deftly combines her mastery of technique and composition. It also contains a promise and raises expectations for future works by Bianca Berends.

One of her teachers at the art academy once stated that the subject of a painting didn’t matter, for a great artist could create a good painting from anything. It may have been a casual remark but Bianca took it to heart and daily sets out to practice this principle.