The Lesbian Gaze

Series of 10 oil paintings, 50x30cm, 2020


The portraits are deliberately not finished, the canvas is visible and the face is not complete. A lesbian identity can only be recognised when it is acknowledged, you only see what you know. Especially women who grow up with too little lesbian representation see themselves through the gaze of a cis-male, heterosexual society and environment. This creates voids in the recognition of who they are. These voids are reflected in the white canvas that is visible in the portraits.


These paintings were shown during the event of  'Intersectional Writing' at Kartonnen Dozen, the ever inspiring LGBTQI+ bookshop in Antwerp. While the subject of the paintings is the lesbian identity, it is important to stress that 'lesbian' is as inclusive as possible and the portraits difference in class and ethnicity. The lesbian shown here as portrait nr 7 is a trans woman and painted specifically as someone who did discover a lot about who she is, while in reality the representation for trans people is still to be improved.



Unsuspected Violets

Installation of 3 flags in oil on wool and silk, 30 labels in wool, silk and kevlar, 2021


The work 'Unsuspected Violets' is a combination of flags and labels that are placed in the trees of the park Hof de Bist, waving high from the beech branches along the paths. They are made specifically for the exhibition 'Point of No Return', curated by Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vranx with art works brought together on climate change.


During my walk in Hof de Bist, I came across a small group of woodland violets, unexpected and moving in their simple beauty. They were the inspiration to make wool and silk flags to mark the locations where inconspicuous plants grow. The woodland violets on the flags are drawn after the violets in Emily Dickinson's Herbarium, which she started in 1846 and it still exists today. The title refers to a poem in which the violets are the silent witnesses of her feelings for Susan. The labels are each described with a word from her poems, they connect feelings with plants like the 'unsuspected violets' from the title. Unsuspected Violets is a work that draws attention to the invisible nature of lesbian identity, it makes language visible, it shows the plants that Emily writes about, it refers to being a lesbian and being invisibly different. Ecology and identity are central to this work of drawings and texts on fabrics. The changes in the climate are not something that happens outside of us, we are part of this and to understand how this affects us we need to become aware of our 'environmental identity' (to use Susan Clayton's words). Unsuspected Violets is a work on creating awareness of our own identity, it could possibly be lesbian, it must certainly be environmental.