Portraits of Life
The Space Between
Andra Daans is a Dutch-Surinamese artist born in 1962 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her artistic journey began at a young age, fueled by a passion for visual arts. She honed her skills and found her voice in oil painting, which became her preferred medium for artistic expression.
Andra Daans' cultural background, influenced by her mixed Dutch and Surinamese heritage, plays a significant role in her artwork. She draws inspiration from the intersection of cultures, identity, and human experiences. Themes of diversity, heritage, and the complexity of personal narratives often manifest in her art.
The artist started her art education at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (1983-1985) and continued her studies at the Free Academy of Fine Arts in Rome (1985-1989). During this time, she had the opportunity to exhibit her work internationally, participating in events such as The International Biennale in Malta (1988) and a group exhibition in Rome (1988).
Andra Daans' artistic style often involves using grisaille, a technique of painting in shades of gray, to depict her characters, who are typically children. These figures are placed against vibrant and colourful backgrounds, creating a striking visual contrast. Through her art, Andra Daans creates layers of meaning, inviting viewers to engage in a dialogue and reflection. Her series of "Portraits of Life" is based on true stories, providing a glimpse into the lives of the main characters while maintaining a sense of realism.
Andra Daans has exhibited her artwork both nationally and internationally, showcasing her innovative approach and ability to evoke emotions and introspection. Her work aims to bridge cultural gaps, challenge perceptions, and foster a deeper understanding of shared humanity. Through her thought-provoking artworks, she aims to shed light on important historical and societal issues while fostering empathy and understanding among viewers.
Currently residing in France, Andra Daans is represented by Blackbird Gallery in the United States. Her artwork can be found in private collections in The Netherlands and abroad.
As I have a deep and abiding infinity with my father, his death in 2018 had a significant impact on my work. I discovered that my father's grandmother was born into slavery on a sugar plantation in Suriname. Discovering my family's connection to slavery through my father's lineage became a catalyst for my exploration of this painful history.
With my artwork, I aim to reflect on the life of enslaved and impoverished children, providing them with expressive identities without losing reality. Drawing from archival photographs and real-life stories, I portray the innocence of enslaved children, acknowledging that behind their seemingly happy faces, there may be hidden truths of suffering and hardship.