Exhibition in De Galerij: soft dreams in hard times

For De Galerij, the gallery of theater De Lawei in Drachten, visual arts coordinator Milena Bleeksma put together a sweet, soft exhibition; Keep on dreaming, because people stay alive by dreaming.

‘On the wings of a moth to dreamland / In the distance the neighing of a nightmare / A sloth daydreaming of some more nocturnal creatures’.

Erik de Boer, Drachtster artist and performer, knows how to paint with words and it is therefore no surprise that his poem is on a wall at the exhibition Keep on dreaming in De Galerij in Drachten, amidst visual art. It is also the fingerprint of art coordinator Milena Bleeksma, because she hopes to make the gallery connected to De Lawei theater more of a festival vibe more interdisciplinary working, more cross-pollination and happenings.

Dream blanket

One of those ‘happenings’ is the multicolored Dream Blanket she had made, a project by textile artist Mariken Biegman that is still in the making – residents of Drachten and the surrounding area can all participate in it, crocheting a large, colored blanket. It is now draped over a large bed in the middle of the gallery, a blanket like a soft rainbow, like a field full of flowers.

It is one of the soft elements of Keep on dreaming . Bleeksma wanted to offer people something hopeful in dark, hard, cold times. She selected work by thirteen artists, most of them from the North. The idea for the exhibition arose shortly after the corona crisis, when Russia invaded Ukraine. ,,What a summer of love should have become, became one summer of war ”, says Bleeksma, who was hit hard by the covid pandemic with her festival company Swoolish Garage. “What keeps us going? To dream! Dreaming of more, of better, more beautiful, more loving, more humane.’ Call it escapism, or ‘bury your head in the sand’, but it is also very beneficial to muse for a while, says Bleeksma.

pastel shades

The large magical realistic paintings by Elise Klinkert from Adorp, North Holland, immediately catch the eye. It is a pleasure to immerse yourself in it for a few moments as a spectator. Horses gallop through the fog, children look at the viewer from a desolate landscape – all in pastel shades that express a romantic longing for nature.

Ronald Pras’ black-and-white photos, which he himself calls ‘dreamscapes’, also make the mind slip away to unknown places. His images of nature are overwhelmingly powerful and contrast the insignificant human being with the great nature.

And then there is the intriguing work of the Leeuwarden artist Marijke Sjollema, as well as the drawings and collages of autodidact Maruschka Poolman (whom Bleeksma tracked down through an open call for the exhibition). They both depict fantasy figures that find themselves in a void that is difficult to define. There they stare ahead, their gaze fixed on infinity, pensive, yes, indeed, as in a dream.

Keep on dreaming can be seen until the end of March in De Galerij, in De Lawei in Drachten.