Rob van Doeselaar
Un Africain n'est jamais seul
My move from New York to Dakar changed the way I paint. In Africa nothing is straight or square. Structure seems to arise without a preconceived plan through stacking and organic growth. Inspired by the Senegalese with their expressive clothing, but also by the scrap wood houses built all over the area, I painted on wooden planks and three-dimensional constructions. In sunny Senegal my paintings became extra vivid, colorful and energetic.

In a series of paintings with the theme 'Un Africain n'est jamais seul' (an African is never alone) the presence of people can be discovered everywhere. People are everywhere in Senegal, in every house, at every street corner. Even in the most remote places someone always shows up. Mothers, ancestors and spirits float around tirelessly. Everywhere are brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, friends and girlfriends who come forward. Children are running around everywhere. It must have a major impact on how Senegalese live. You never have time and space for yourself, because someone is always watching. In that kind of environment it is almost impossible to develop yourself as an individual.

Dakar 1995-1998