Cameraless photography by Martje Zandboer + colonial tea-baggage

13 Nov

Left to Right: works by Sanne Maes (video + drawing) + Thom Vink (photographs + model on shelf), Martje Zandboer (emulsion on teabags), Brit Bunkley (PLA plastic and Fiberglas reinforced resin and artificial flowers)

Left to Right: works by Sanne Maes (video + drawing) + Thom Vink (photographs + model on shelf), Martje Zandboer (emulsion on teabags), Brit Bunkley (PLA plastic and Fiberglas reinforced resin and artificial flowers)

Left to Right: Detail of Thom Vink’s model on shelf, Martje Zandboer (emulsion on teabags), "The Happiest Place on Earth" by Brit Bunkley (PLA plastic and fiberglas reinforced resin and artificial flowers)

Left to Right: Detail of Thom Vink’s model on shelf, Martje Zandboer (emulsion on teabags), “The Happiest Place on Earth” by Brit Bunkley (PLA plastic and fiberglas reinforced resin and artificial flowers).

Martje Zandboer’s series 2008 “Warm Memories,” are photographic impressions from negatives that belonged to her grandmother who was born and raised in Indonesia while it was a Dutch Colony (the Dutch East Indies).

This Dutch colony was formed by the 17th century Dutch East India trading Company, which came under the administration of the Dutch government in 1800. This colony was one of the most valuable European colonies and contributed to Dutch global prominence in spice and cash crop trade in the 19th to early 20th century. The colonial social order was based on rigid racial and social structures with a Dutch elite living separate from but linked to their native subjects.

Warm Memories by Martje Zandboer

Warm Memories by Martje Zandboer


These images depict her grandmother and her husband in Indonesia from the 1920s until 1949 when she then moved to the Netherlands as did many Dutch and Indonesians when Indonesian sovereignty was finally accepted after a struggle for independence after the end of World War Two. Like many she was held in a POW camp by the Japanese.
Warm Memories, 2008, photographic emulsion on teabags held by magnets, by Martje Zandboer, The Hague , The Netherlands

Warm Memories, 2008, photographic emulsion on teabags held by magnets, by Martje Zandboer, The Hague , The Netherlands


The stains and irregularities lend a nostalgic warmth to a story mixed with suffering and change. Martje grew up hearing these bittersweet stories of her grandmother’s time in prison, followed by being forced to leave the land she was raised in.

Each teabag is suspended in space, held by a magnet. A reminder of the affects of the chances and changes of culture and times we are born into.

Martje Zandboer, a graduate of the Hague Royal Academy of Fine Arts (2005), with a Master’s in photography from Falmouth University, Cornwall, U.K. (2008), lives in The Hague, The Netherlands. Since 2006 she has taught art courses for adults and children for the city public art museum (Gemeente Museum) and the Mesdag Museum in the Hague as well as sandstone and ice sculpting for other Hague museums. Recent exhibitions are “Drawing a family around Me” at Galerie It Frysk Skildershûs in Leeuwarden (2010), The Netherlands; Eigenwijs weimar in Atelier Paul v/d Donk (2012), The Hague, and the International competition for young photographers Sotiri 2011 with her series “Intimate Propaganda: Family photographs” in Galleria ‘Guri Madhi’, Albania. Her art practice varies from the pedagogical to painting and drawing, to experimental photographic work.

Watch this space for blogs on the works by 13 New Zealand and Hague Based artists in The Poetic Condition show until 10 Dec 2017 at the BackWal Gallery, 99 Atkinson Ave, Otaki.  12 Nov blog | Exhibition info

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