by Loutje Hoekstra

The first word that I learned to say as a very small child was: “Bloem” - “flower” in dutch.

Growing up, growing older, growing in general I have always experienced that I am connected to the natural world more than the city world. On walks I used to collect flowers that I would carefully smell, dissect, review, and put back together in different orders and combinations of plants. The shapes always strongly spoke to me, just like the landscape in general, that often brings me into a stare that makes me fully open up and become part of the view. Later, when I studied biology, I did a course in flower morphology. I learned about the relationship between the flower and her pollinator and how these two communicate, they have an intimate bond that goes deeper than just the love for honey. They are made for each other, they are made after each other.

All these memories and fundamental ways of perceiving my surroundings came back together in the creation of the artwork that I made for this project.

Being a woman, I remember how I had to, and still am growing a relationship with my own vagina. It is a mystic world that is very much mine, but also very much hidden to myself.

It is not something that can be described-, nor analysed with a few words. And maybe not even with many. In fact, just like the complexity that is expressed in the relationship of the flowering plant and her surroundings, describing my own vagina comes down to rather being able to experience it and express that, than to name things in the literal sense.

Precisely this for me is the reason I wanted to participate in this project. I had never explicitly tried to phrase or express what the flower of life is to me, but I knew there is a wealth to be shad there. Also, she has been too often simplified, been taken off her depth and sexualized. Therefore, to open up this world and extend the experience and understanding of it into the wildness arts can bring, seemed like a mission that came at the perfect time.

Whilst painting I started to understand that there are many ways to have the flower of life depicted and my imaginations became more abstract every time I would dive.

I eventually decided it to be the landscape, where I had started, to be the image that I want to evoke for the flower of life. I was trying to build this fundamental yet sensual landscape that holds life.

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