Installation "Wedding Portrait" at Museum Paul Tetar van Elven, Delft

Tuesday, 8th March 2022

I want to wish everyone a happy Women’s Day, and with that present a couple of remarkable characters that I came across in this current project. Museum Paul Tetar van Elven in Delft has an exhibit of Thérèsa Schwartze’s work at the moment. She was one of the most successful painters of her time, but is rarely mentioned in history books. The exhibit features the wedding portrait of Mia Cuypers below, a strong young woman who fell in love with a British-Chinese Trader and married him against the will of her family and in spite societal boundaries. They had several children together and lived a happy life. Iris Erkelens, in collaboration with Elvera van Leeuwen from Stichting Oren en Ogen tekort, has worked very hard to make this exhibit accessible for the visually impaired. Have a look at the beautiful maps she made to be touched, the small segments of paintings she recreated for people to feel. Last but not least I was involved in creating a piece that translates the wedding portrait into sound. Not an easy task, especially since there is not much information available. Iris and I recorded the sound of fabric and various fans, and the wonderful Carmen van Haren lent us her voice and spoke excerpts of a book that tells Mia’s story in a sort of romanticized but beautiful way. There will be regular guided tours for an integrated audience, so please share this with anyone who might be interested in a more inclusive museum visit. Last but not least, the museum director, Alexandra Oostdijk, is also a woman… So this goes out to all of you, but also to the women who fought before us to break down barriers and make sure we have a more equal life. Happy happy happy Women’s Day!

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