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The He (art) of Three Sisters
ARTISTS/EXHIBITIONS, WALKARTROAD Magazine | October 11, 2013 by Walkartroad Magazine |

 


Ruth Bircham and Carine Vanderstraeten


“It was really painful for me to see how the Touaregs are suffering in Mali and I wanted to do something, let me try and find a way to support them. The idea came to do an exhibition with a concert and in performance get Touareg groups to perform.’’-Carine Vanderstraeten

When a man faces upheavals from the soul, three types of persons come are always bound to come the man’s way. The first person is the one that sees his problems, but looks away and move on fast. The second one sees the problems, but prays for someone to come the man’s way to solve the problems, he also moves on. The third person is the one that sees the man’s problems and decides to solve them. He is the Good Samaritan.
Carine Vanderstraeten, Ruth Bircham and Mary Lindekens are true sisters of Africa. They belong to the third person with the heart of gold. Their career paths easily tell and expose the visual activism in them. The artistic visions and ideas in them have made them to work with multifarious talents across the world, encouraging social work and humanitarian causes, yet with few, or rather, no financial backup. They have always done things differently, leaving behind strides and the will to do things independently, coupled with the audacity of hope put them in a sheer class! The grace of the western cultures and opportunities are enough to see them through. Rather, their conscientious efforts to support Africa and the people through music, art, humanitarian cause deserve commendable applause. “I contacted my dear friend Mary Lindekens who is familiar with the Touaregs and asked her if she was interested to start this project. She was enthusiastic. And then I told her I would invite other artists to participate with us and I got Ruth Bircham from the United Kingdom.” Carine Vanderstraeten enthuses further. And the night in Brussels, Kel Assouf, and the Touareg group came to perform. The other participating artists are Carine Vanderstraeten, Ruth Bircham, Leon de Bliquy, and Annie Vanhee.




Some of the selected artworks on display


Though they live and work in Europe, living between two cities, Brussels and London, these sisters of Africa, even enjoy patronage and popularity more than some Africa leaders. They have embarked on personal and self sponsored art projects, receptions, fund raisers and career guide for artists of black origin. They hardly give up, instead, they wax stronger to express their minds through fashion, painting, designing, album covers, illustrations for publications and falling in love with African brothers. Even today, they speak some smattering African languages. The sisters brought out their creative designs and artworks collections to support the cause of the Touareg people of Mali, a beautiful night for Africa. Ruth Bircham recounts, “I donated to the cause for Mali, when Carine told me her idea, I started painting these small miniatures to bring with me to Brussels as my larger works would be too big. I paint art that will overwhelm the viewer and keep them looking. As they are trying to decide if what they are looking at is a photograph, print or paintings, as my art is photographic and looks very different when you are standing in front of them. I painted here 25 works which are size 10x7inches on canvas, painted in Acrylic.’’ Another artist Anna Papadopoulou commented, “I am grateful for the commonly shared days. All the collected experiences, conversations, laughs, dances, good food and heart gestures. Hope to see you soon and to build and hold good friendship.”




Participating artists works on display


These attributes brought a bond of love and compassion for the Touaregs of Mali. Yes, Mali resurrects again in our hearts. Just like so many African countries, the tribes, nations and ethnics, where nepotism, neglects, starvation, poverty, bad economy and financial profligacy have bedeviled the whole continent. These have gone beyond control; thereby opening doors for civil wars, brain drain and terrorism are rocking Africa to pieces. Africa’s celebrated histories and monuments, civilizations and traditions, education and local knowledge are being destroyed gradually. The big question is; where is the love? The Viva Africa salute seems washed away in bloodshed and hunger! From Nigeria to Congo, Mali to Libya, Egypt to Kenya, the no more my brother language looms all over in the cloud. But this token of love from the three sisters, if gradually heralded and giving necessary support can sure make Africa and the people to start smiling again. Africa, so long, but hope within.




Carine Vanderstraeten and Annie Varhee at the event in Brussels





Photographs/Artworks Courtesy Participating Artist and Carine Vanderstraeten