My friend Clem Sluijsmans is rebellious, hussy, energetic, handy, generous, and immensely creative. I met her 9 years ago at a web design course and still can remember this inquisitive petit lady exploring her surroundings with her shiny eyes.
Divorced, mother of three and grandmother of two, Clem began painting professionally in her late forties, and once she started there was not turning back. Art became her only tool of survival. Jumping in the ocean with no lifejacket, she organized controversial performances about the role of women in society and participated in several exhibitions and art encounters.
Many of her mixed media paintings relate to the subject “home“. When you live in a foreign country the sense of belonging disappears and your house, your soul, can be easily invaded. Sluijsmans moved from Holland to Valencia, Spain, after a love crush in Ibiza back in the seventies. Her background and modern ideas clashed with a society still marked by the catholic religion and the Franco regimen.
In the peak of the current financial crisis Clem moved back to her home country for new beginnings and second opportunities. Soon after she managed to find a job at Wageningen university while still involved in her creative projects. Last year she moved to an anti squatting building in the city centre with access to water, electricity and central heating. She is not allowed to paint on the walls or cook on a gas stove, but I’m sure her naughtiness will show up in one way or another. “Life is what you experience”.