Constance Macqueen at Kuntspoor, 2019
(102 portraits of Noord-Beveland oyster shells)
“Love is, just like the succulent mollusk inside the Oyster. It is difficult to reach and thus requires effort. Only the ones who give that effort and patiently overcome the hardship are worthy of finding love.” – (Malaguzzi)
Words from the artist:
On my first visit to the Dutch island of Noord-Beveland, I gathered oyster shells that were washed up on the shores of Kats and studied them to a great depth. I was interested by the vast varieties that were washed up. Captivated by the different shapes, imperfections and colours within these little tranquil objects and wondered what sort of journey they may had been through to arrive to this place. The contrast of the smooth and coarse surfaces – a reminder of nature’s honest unvarnished beauty.
I wrote some words in my sketch book about them which read:
“Beautiful little oyster shells, you were once protecting a living creature or even a jewel? I wonder many things whilst holding you within the palm of my hand. What have you seen and what have you experienced on your voyage and what you continue to witness on the seabed’s and the shores? Your surface of cracks, chips, bumps, lumps, brokenness, missing bits and sharpness reminds me of your almighty strength and tolerance. I can see you and it shows me a true beauty.”
These little shells have become a symbol of my experiences on this gentile island and the indescribable kindness that was shown to me by the people who reside there. I decided to portray these oysters in honour of these people (for Kuntspoor 2019). Lastly I wanted these small paintings to be a reminder that it is never a bad thing that we are left marked through our journey of bad and good. Every person has either gone through or continue to go through a rather complexing experience of turbulence and calm in their life, similar to an oyster’s journey – serving the bed of the sea.