Eugenie van Raaij, an artist with the world as her studio
Eugenie van Raaij’s previous career as an international lawyer led her to countless places beyond her own borders. She represented the interests of the international business community in emerging markets. This often resulted in ‘projects that lacked constraints imposed by prior work’, so-called Greenfield projects. Van Raaij has consequently brought her dynamic work into contact with various cultures, artists ('art circuits') and people from all walks of life.
Eugenie has a driven, dynamic and inquisitive personality who fearlessly plunges into new territories. As an ‘eager observer’, she knows better than anyone else how to understand and map the dynamics in the world around her. Within fleeting time, she can indicate what is happening on different levels in her environment, and identify the strengths and opportunities in each situation. With her communicative and entrepreneurial skills, Van Raaij always knows how to initiate change together with others in her surroundings.
Eugenie van Raaij initially applied the above-mentioned qualities in a corporate context, however gradually noticed that something was missing in the social dynamics of her professional environment. In her search for a different level of interpersonal ‘dialogue’ she came to the conclusion that art plays an imperative role. Art is not constrained to national borders. It is a multi-national and multi-cultural, universal 'language' that is understood worldwide. A language that is not only a practical exchange of information, but one that brings people together, by appealing to their feelings and emotions. Art is an element of the human condition, as is love. Art enriches life with special experiences unlike any other and is an essential part of ones existence.
Van Raaij's talent and courage reached a turning point, which led her to dedicate her efforts towards the arts, partly by offering a platform for various art projects by international artists (through the creation of Gallery ‘Arte sin Limites’), as well as creating her own art.
Eugenie has created a new experimental 'playground' for herself and for others. A new way to 'capture' the world around her and share these thoughts and images.
The artworks show Eugenie van Raaij’s wide-ranging movement around the world. A large part of her oeuvre is Eugenie’s ‘registration’ of the perceptible and tangible ‘elements’ of her direct environment. This side of Eugenie is strengthened when she works in her studio in Cadiz (Spain), surrounded by light, untouched valleys and mountains that have surrendered to the forces of nature. When one ponders these artworks, they change into an almost physical experience. Light, shadow, movement, wind, drought, weathering and transience are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. When sand and pigments are merged in one big expressive brush stroke, they form an crucial part of her work. The dynamics and diversity between these elements attracts her strongly.
“The creation and collective experience of art transcends our differences and emphasizes our similarities.”
The works of Eugenie van Raaij also reveal deeper hidden qualities and points of friction of a specific place. This often results when she remains in the same place for long periods of time, building up a dialogue and kinship with the local community. With these works she exposes certain subjects (human interest) in a new or different way. Van Raaij's artwork is not about providing answers, but about revealing and breaking down the elements of the question. These works serve a new kind of dialogue: a language without words. A language that appeals to the imagination, shows different insights and perspectives and connects people from different ‘worlds’. The artworks of Eugenie van Raaij appeal to one’s emotions and contribute to beauty and truth. With her work she reflects on, freedom, joy, but also suffering.
These are identifiable themes for everyone. The creation and collective experience of art transcends our differences and emphasizes our similarities.