The artist Hetty van der Linden is a dreamcatcher who shows us through her project how much just a little stroke of a brush is able to achieve and how far it can reach. From Europe to Latin America and Africa, Hetty has been stimulating children, who have been deprived of the right to be joyful and carefree, to dream and believe in their dreams again thus giving them hope.
Not only does Hetty give these children, ranging from streetchildren to war orphans, a temporary escape from their often harsh realities. By incorporating the works of the children into her own canvases she is subsequently able to sell, she also helps them financially by donating all profits. Nowdays almost a hundred artist from 40 different nationalities have been transforming aparentally worthless childrens dreams into values paintings. This way the precious dreams of these children may come true one day. Because the price of one painting is the price of one little "dreamhouse" in a favela.
Paint a Future
Aim of the project
The dutch artist Hetty van der Linden sees art as a possibility to help children all over the world. These children all have a poor future perspective, because of poverty, war or violence. Specific aim of her project is to contribute to the development and education of children. Hetty visits these children and paints with them. She stimulates the children to talk about their dreams and hopes, and encourages them to paint them. The dreams of these children and their innermost aspirations and beliefs are expressed through their little works of art, their verbal accounts further elaborate on them.Their own fantasy about their future is the inspiration for the small "work of art" they make. The personal encounter of Hetty with the children contributes to the inspiration too. For a moment, she gives the children the feeling to be in control of their life and their future.
The children's paintings is the basis for a work of art made by Hetty. She makes a composition of the paintings made by the children. A big canvas is the result of this cooperation. Serigraphs are made from this canvas, expressing hopes and wishes of the children. Both the canvas and serigraphs are for sale. All the income will be returned into the realization of the childrens dream. Nowdays almost hundred fine artist from 38 nationalities have made big canvases out of childrens dreams. Sometimes in theis own studio's and somtimes invited at the art symposiums , organized by Hetty all over the world. Many dreams have been realized.
Paint a Future
This article in Holland Herald describes the beginning of the project.
Dutch artist Hetty van der Linden is helping disadvantaged children paint a brighter future
In Buenos Aires 2001 for an exhibition of her work, Dutch artist Hetty van der Linden attended a lavish, five-star dinner for art-world VIPs. “Walking home in my high heels,” she recalls, “I came across a group of street children sleeping in cardboard boxes. I stopped to talk to them, stunned to find such poverty existing so close to such wealth. Meeting them made me think that I had to do something for them, to find some way of using art to transfer money from the rich to the poor children of the world.”
The opportunity to do so came quicker than Van der Linden had expected. Back at her home in Amsterdam the mother of three grown up children was invited to take part in an art project in Split. Well-known international artists were being invited to visit a children’s home in former Yugoslavia and produce works of art to sell. The money would be used to improve the living conditions of children who had suffered terrible hardship and abuse during the war. Van der Linden – an artist from 1994, whose colourful paintings of voluptuous ---celebrating personages, musical and dance themes have been exhibited all over the world – jumped at the chance.
“The children were wonderful, and, of course, they were very interested in painting, and all wanted to join in with me,” Van der Linden explains. “So I started to add their small paintings to my big canvas, painting around them to make a collage. Then I got the idea of making the painting into a lithograph, and selling prints in a limited edition of 150 – this would raise more money than just selling a single painting. It also means that the children are contributing to their own future – the money they raise through their own work shows them that they can do something to make their lives better. It’s very empowering for them.”
The beginning of the project
In 2001 Hetty was having exhibitions in Croatia, Bosnia and South America and would always take a day two off to make children in orphanages , street children and schools paint about there dreams and wishes.
http://www.hettyvanderlinden.com/paf_comments.php?id=41_0_10_0_C (see photos)
How it works:
Children paint their dreams and wishes on a peace of paper, imagining that the paintbrush is a magic wand.
Well known fine artists from all over the world incorporate this children’s dream in their canvas. Sometimes in their own studios and sometimes invited at an Art Symposium organised in a luxury resort (invited by their owners) mostly in the country where the children are from.
Exhibitions are organized and paintings are sold.
Back to the children. The revenue of the sold paintings is used to realise the children’s dreams.
It is not only the international fine artists that are involved in this project.
Owners of millionaires resorts in Brazil, France, Argentina and Holland
have invited Hetty into their resorts to organize international artist weeks with groups of up to 26 artists, to come together to paint a better world for the children of their country
Spain symposium Toledo. In august 2003 I was in Toledo, the city in Spain where had I lived a long period of my life and studied at the Art school.
I decided to organize an art symposium later that year and called up 26 artists and friends all over the world and asked them to come to Toledo to paint a better world. None of them asked me how I was going to do this, They just came. More then 100 paintings where painted, incorporating children’s dreams from Croatian and Bosnian orphans and Argentinean street children and orphans . Later two exhibitions where organised in Spain and several paintings were sold.
Back in Holland many Dutch artists wanted to participate and several art exhibitions where organised.
Holland Symposium in Sint Michiels Gestel
In 2005 a second art symposium was organized in Sint Michiels Gestel - my birthtplace - in a castle owned by my family. Again artists came from all over the world, also a group of Belgian and Dutch artist came to help for a day. The dreams of the deaf children and those from the little school in the mountains were incorporated in their canvases.
Almost a hundred paintings were painted and a lot of them sold.
Argentina Symposium in Jujuy
The luxury Spa hotel “ Termas de Reyes http://www.termasdereyes.com invited me to organise a symposium. I invited 15 artists from 14 countries. Together wit local artists a great collection was created. An exhibition organised and paintings where sold.
Two beautiful resorts in Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil invited me to come there with a group of artists to paint for the unprivileged children of the state. Previously I painted dreams with children of 4 different slums. Many of those children’s dreams where converted in real houses.
Description of the projects by countries
a. Jujuy (Province in the north west)
a 1 -Durazno
We travelled 11 hours on a donkey over 4.700 meters altitude in the Andes mountains to reach a little boarding school for 25 children, the roof was previously blown away by a storm. The children first painted their nightmare, the night of the storm, and afterwards their dreams, to sleep under a good roof.
A group of Belgian artists made paintings with those dreams. Most of them were sold.
Several months later we brought the material for the new roof on 40 donkeys and 20 men (Durazno Argentina)
Now an architect from Buenos Aires made a plan to build a whole new boarding school for 25 children.. In April we will start the transport of the material
a 2 Jujuy, capital
Children painted their dreams in a little school for deaf children. Some of the children’s dreams was to be able to hear.
The wish of all the children was to have a decent school. The building is in a terrible state.
sixteen children can hear, they received audiphones.
See photos at the end of the article http://www.hettyvanderlinden.com/paf_comments.php?id=115_0_9_0_C
For the family of Saul a new little house was build.
This year the building of a new school started by the government of the Jujuy department. The result of the sold paintings (60.000 euros) will be used to equip the new school.
a 3, School Leon
20 km north from the capital. Children of this boarding school painted their dreams.
Most of them would like to have a locker to keep their belongings. 80 lockers and a new kitchen have been build.
a 4, School of San Roque
During a holiday almost everything was stolen from the school.
We reforced all the doors and windows with bars of steel and bought the whole new school equipment. For years we are paying the transport of the children from their homes to the school. The roads are very dangerous and the parents would not send the kids to school if they would have to walk.
“Granny Estelas house”
300 km north from Buenos Aires. In this little town we have been painting with the 30 children of Granny Estela.
This woman looks after 30 children in her own house. We have been maintaining this family for years. We build several new rooms so the growing up girls could sleep apart. We maintained the whole family for years. Now she is ill and cannot take care of the children anymore. Children are living in different places and we are maintaining them individually.
Matias was 8 years old, he has a heart disease and has been operated, he will need a new operation in the future and with all the children of the family we painted about their dreams. His dream was to see the fish in the sea and have an aquarium full of fish.
Matias has a beautiful little aquarium at the side of his bed and never stops looking at the fish.
The whole family went on a trip to the real see aquarium
For several children of Gualeguaychu school uniforms, study materials and school utilities was provided.
Several children are following courses as for example sewing and computering. Transportation is financed by us.
The person in charge is Mariela Varonesi, school teacher.
c -El Impenetrable, El Chaco
One of the poorest regions of Argentina, in the north near to the border of Paraguay. We painted with the children of the Wichi indian tribe.
Their housing is terrible. Lot of malnutrition and illnesses exist due to the poor housing and not drinkable water. Their dreams are mostly to have a better house because they fear the deadly illness “mal de chagas” caused by an insect that houses in the mud where their houses are constructed with.
Children often miss school because they have the task to get water for the family and the animal stock from the river which is hours away.
15 new little houses of brick have been build, all with their own water tank.
The school has been partly rebuild.
A bee farm has been started, 10 families are working in it.
One child was studying in town to bee a lawyer. Unfortunately she could not make it due to language problems.
A little music school is being build. Music instruments are bought.
A new school in another little village (Palo Santo) is being build
A student home for 4 students has been build.
Person in charge Graciela Langue, head of bilingual school
This is a slum near the capital Santiago. The children have dreams about having better houses, from being a car dealer up to astronauts.
If they don’t have uniforms they are not allowed at school. The families don’t have money to buy them.
Alexander’s dream was not to die from his illness. He can only be fed with a catheter through his nose and the food is a very expensive product of Nutricia which his parents cannot afford.
The social worker Noemi Baeza has a radio program made by those children. That way she keeps control over them and keeps them from the street and drug dealing. She needs to pay for the broadcasting
Paint a Future provides the necessary school uniforms already for 3 years.
We pay the broadcasting of the radio program.
With the money of a painting made by Claudio Palcic we could keep Alexander alive for a year. Now Nutricia is supporting providing the food directly. In a year Alexander will be cured.
Sewing machines are bought for mothers that now can maintain their families.
Person in Charge Noemi Baeza, social worker, studied in the Netherlands.
In 2003 I travelled to Morocco with my daughter photographer Ines Cuesta.
Children of an Amsterdam neighbourhood painted my van with best wishes for the children in Morocco. They filled it with clothes and presents. Permission to paint with the children was given officially by the director of the institutions.
In Meknes, all the presents where given to the children and also to children that live on the street. They also painted their dreams and wishes. On paper and on the van. It was probably the best day of their life. I have never seen children treated so badly.
Afterwards the director took away the children’s paintings and said we could not take them. Probably he wanted us to pay money to keep it for himself.
We have been interrogated in the police station for hours.
It was a 6000 km long trip for nothing. Hopefully the clothes and presents were not taken away from the children.
scroll down to see photographs
The children had the best day of their lives fantasying about their dreams and wishes. Unfortunately we cannot help them to realize them due to the corrupt behaviour of the director.
Having an exhibition of my own work in Sarajevo in 2003. One day I went to paint with children of the SOS Kinderdorp. I also asked them to write down their thoughts. Those children have lived in basements 3 years. In three years they have not seen daylight. It was good for them to paint and to write down their experiences (In perfect English)
The SOS children’s houses is a rich worldwide organisation. They have possibilities enough to make the orphans finish school and study. So that is not the help that we can give them. But the talking, writing and painting about their inner thoughts, horrendous things passed and wonderful future dreams has been a welcome therapy for them.
I have been invited to artist weeks in two orphanages in Split. All the children painted about their dreams and also about their fears.
Some of the paintings made by the artists out of the children’s dreams have been sold.
The money is saved until the moment the children have to leave the orphanage.
I made a silkscreen of the painting I made with several children. Those are sold by the orphanage.
In 2005 I went to Bulgaria to paint with the children of 2 orphanages, one in Sofia and one in the mountains 4 hours from the capital. Those children were screaming for love and care. One of the children painted a beautiful candle and he said he wants to become a candle maker. Another boy painted a basket to play basketball. Many children just wished to have a ball to play with. They don’t have any toys and nothing for themselves. When the children turn 18 they have to leave the orphanage and have no place to live.
We are buying units to make candles. There is a person who can teach the children to make candles. Maybe in the future we can start a little factory.
The plan is to drive down there with a big bus filled with suitcases, prepared by children of schools in Holland. One for every child, so they will have just some belongings and a suitcase to keep them.
If possible we will make a simple playground with a basketball field.
In 2006 The project started in Brazil, Florianopolis and Sao Paulo.
1 Santa Catarina
Children of 3 favelas and some of the disadvantaged families in the mountains painted their dreams. Some children simply dream of having food.
A symposium was organized in Florianopolis and exhibitions in Florianopolis, Curitiba and Sao Paulo.
two computer schools.
5 houses are build.
Dental care for various children
5 other houses have to be build.
A school garden where the kids learn how to grow vegetables.
350 families recived food suplies
2 families are mantained by us
Persons in charge. Veronica Sutillo, social worker and Liduine van der Zee.
2 Sao Paulo
Recanto San Francisco
A children’s home 3 hours drive from Sao Paulo in the mountains.
Children from the street are taken care of. They all wished and painted a good life and regular jobs. Others wished their mothers would stop drinking.
Artists invited at the Florianopolis art symposium made beautiful paintings that where sold at the shows in Sao Paulo and Amsterdam.
Several young boys got their drivers license for agriculture machines. Dental care is provided, kitchen equipment is bought.
Person in charge Oscar Brenninckmeijer. Founder of the children’s house.
From 15 august till 16 september Titus Tiel Groenestege, the filmmaker and Hetty went to Madagascar.
In those 4 weeks they painted with children from the capital, from an orphanage, from the little village Beloha, from Antsirabe and from the island Nossy Be.
An exhibition from Hetty and 18 local painters was organised. A music cd with children was produced. Several paintings were sold.
Back in Holland Dutch artists maid more paintings for Madagascar. During the exhibition in the Holland Casino several paintings where sold.
The life of artist Faral has been saved. We could buy the medicines she needed for her kidney problems.
We took care of the widow of the painter Richard who died of the same disease.
The child of Bosco, the singer on the cd has been taken to the hospital and has been treated from rachitism. Food and better housing is being supplied for his family.
We are looking for a lot to build a little music school where the children can also learn to make instruments. We are going to support a school for contemporary art.
Sing a Future
A music project has been started with the same idea. Children sing their songs and famous artists make great wonderful music out of it.
Children from Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar were taken to the studio and a beautiful music cd and video clip was made.
World famous Argentinean tango singer Omar Mollo made a cd together with young Indian boys who sing in their Indian language Wichi.
Thousands cds where sold.
Benefit live concerts in Madrid and Buenos Aires were performed.
2 cd’s are for sale
1 Omar Mollo and the Wichi Indians, Argentina
2 Tarika Sammy and Ombelo Ricky and children of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Sail a Future
5 old sailing transport ships sail to the Dutch islands to do all kind of performances during the summer holidays. Specially music bands
Children on every island paint the sail of one ship that sails with the wonderful coloured sails.
If sponsoring is obtained the musicians from Madagascar will be the invited as the guest band on the tour.