Oil Painting, Contemporary

Raquel van Haver

(1989, Bogota, Colombia)



Van Haver refers to her work as ‘loud’ paintings that sympathetically portray people on the fringes of society. She works on burlap, combining oil paint, charcoal, resin, hair, paper, tar and ash in heavily textured compositions. The paintings explore race and identity, drawing from African, Western, Caribbean and Latin American cultures within her community in the South-East of Amsterdam, Netherlands. More recently she has spent long periods abroad gathering source material in both West Africa and South America. Her works are often monumental in scale, at times dark and ominous and continue to negotiate boundaries between social hierarchies.

With her raw, narrative and figurative style of painting, Van Haver challenges the Euro- American canon. Her imagery is nurtured by art from ‘other’ regions and with that she tells ‘other’ stories. Although the format of her canvases is reminiscent of history painting, her compositions do not depict the exploits of figures from the west. At the heart of her work are the ‘spirits of the soil’, the central figures in the histories of colonialism, imperialism, migration and diaspora.

— exhibition curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Van Haver was born in 1989 in Bogota, Colombia. She lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Solo exhibitions include ‘Spirits of the Soil’ at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, November 2018 – April 2019. Her work has also been exhibited at the Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands and BOZAR Centre For Fine Art Brussels. She recently won the prestigious Dutch Royal Prize for Painting. Van Haver graduated from HKU, Fine Arts, Utrecht, in 2012.

Education and residencies

2018 Moengo Festival | Moengo

Research Folktales & Taboos icw Galerie 23/SBK, CBK Zuidoost and Thami Mnyele | Amsterdam

2017 Magazine Shrine of a deity and research area boys | Lagos

Residency African Artists’ Foundation | Lagos

Artist Talk African Art in Venice Forum | Hotel Monaco | Venice Biennale

The Culture Summit | Abu Dhabi

2016 Research Folktales & Taboos icw National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions | Harare

Torenkamer NPO1 | Amsterdam

Workshop David Krut Projects | Johannesburg


Solo Exhibitions

2019 Dilirium | Jack Bell Gallery | London

2018 Spirits of the Soil | Stedelijk Museum | Amsterdam

2017 De Scheffer | Dordrechts Museum | Dordrecht

Shrine of a deity | African Artists’ Foundation | Lagos

Definition of a system | Jack Bell Gallery | London

2016 Hookers in toilets // dancehall version explicit | RonLangArt | Amsterdam

Doggiestyle | Jack Bell Gallery | London

2015 Metro 54 | Jack Bell Gallery | London

Ruwe Bolsters | Galerie 23/SBK | Amsterdam

2014 Tales by hand | Alice Yard | Port of Spain

2013 Reino de los cielos | Appels Gallery | Amsterdam

2012 Raquel van Haver | Sanquin – Galerie Joghem | Amsterdam


2018 Royal Award for Modern Painting

2017 De Scheffer