A room of one’s own

is a collaboration I have with Nulu, a young mother who I met through De Regenboog foundation. It is an ongoing series of drawings in which ‘the room’ is central. Not just any room, but one in which we can give free rein to our imagination and exhibit our ambitions and dreams for the future.

We would keep repeating this process until we were satisfied with the result. This turned out to be an unsustainable way of working, so we switched to drawing together while video calling. Due to lack of space and structure, we eventually switched again to a collaboration in which I, as an extension of Nulu, made drawings based on a series of questions and answers, such as “what would the colour of your ideal room be?” or “what kind of images would you like to see on the walls of that room?” As soon as Nulu’s housing situation is more stable, we will start working together physically and continue our project.

The structure of the room arose from observing the precarious situation in which Nulu finds herself. A number of minimal lines form a spatial structure that we can complete together and individually.

Nulu has gone through an uncertain period in the past two years. She remains in this situation, in which she has seen and lived in many different rooms. This made me hesitate to propose using the room as a structure for our drawing collaboration. But as a structure in which physical and mental spaces merge together, the room seemed the best way to give shape to this precarious situation. The room as a drawing has proved to be an exciting field to research for both of us. It is a place where we can use our different backgrounds to work towards a common goal. We are able to show the power of imagination and how making images can help with healing.

The room gives our voice a clear shape and enables us to bepart of the world around us.

The works seen on these pages are the first results of our collaboration over the past six months. Due to ongoing Covid measures, and because Nulu was (fortunately) no longer living in Ter Apel, it was difficult to meet in person. Therefore we started talking about other ways we could work together. First, I proposed to exchange letters. I would send partially filled/partially empty drawings of rooms, which Nulu would edit and return.

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