Two Homelands explored in painters Degree Show

Growing up between two homelands has inspired one East Lothian art student to try to capture the vast world that diasporas create, as she prepares to unveil her work as part of the Gray’s School of Art degree show.

Didi Jellema Degree Show 2015Didi Jellema (23), a painting student here at Gray’s in Aberdeen, grew up in Humbie, but her family is originally from the Netherlands.

Having dual nationality, belonging to two places and speaking two languages prompted a sense of displacement which she has tried to explore and understand in a series of paintings which will go on display at the art school’s degree show between June 20 and 27.

Didi said: “I have always found that when I make work of a more personal nature that I become more engrossed.

Quote marks“I grew up between two homelands – Scotland and the Netherlands – I speak two languages and belong to two cultures, I am formed by these two identities.

“Having spent a childhood migrating between these two different places I have found myself left inhabiting a place that is an in-between, a place of diaspora.

“This has been the subject I find myself constantly returning to. Trying to capture and reflect the vast and encompassing world that diaspora creates, to depict the physical space that you occupy when you belong to this in-between.”
Didi Jellema  painting
She added: “The paintings are a woven mass of childhood memories, of voicing myself in these two languages, of sailing between these two countries.

“I have used a whole host of materials, but the work is based in oil and ink on canvas, working and printing onto this, making textured surfaces with salt crystals and rust, and lastly a lot of stitching into the canvases.”

Didi, who is hoping to apply for residencies in “far away places” after she graduates, hopes that those who view her work will feel surrounded by the paintings.

Quote marks“I hope that for but a moment, the viewer will inhabit the exhibition space the way that people inhabit the world of diaspora,” she said.

Didi’s work will be on display as part of the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, sponsored by BP for the twelfth year, which runs from June 20 to 27.

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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