Every month we introduce you to a Belgian living in Dubai.
This month we talked to Françoise De Gruyter-Palsterman. Françoise was born in Brussels, in the Marolles. At the age of eleven she secretly made her first oil painting. She actually used her parents' best sheets!
After seven years at the Sint-Lukas Academy in Brussels, she didn't consider herself an artist yet, because according to Françoise an artist has to bring something new and fascinating.
Through life experience, art commissions and research, inspiration came systematically to her.
Only after her 30th birthday did she consider herself a "real" artist, and thus it was time to take the step towards becoming an independent professional artist. One work inspired the other, and she even invented a new art technique for which she obtained a patent.
Françoise is always working on at least 20 paintings at the same time. Because of this, the series come out very organically. The movement, the language, the evolution, the human being related to quantum physics, and the infinite possibilities are what fascinate her. To Françoise the most exciting thing about being an artist is to take on new challenges and quests in drawing, painting, sculpture, installations, public art and performances. With each new medium you reach new people and a different audience.
Françoise wants to trigger people by letting them feel a certain experience, and captivating them.
How did you end up in Dubai?
From the first time I came to the UAE in 2012, I felt very connected to the place, so I stayed.
I did several collaborations for example with Liu Bolin for the landmark of Dubai Art season, many group and solo exhibitions in Burj Khalifa, City walk, DIFC, Etihad Museum, Al Fahidi heritage village and so on.
Last year I was in Abu Dhabi for the Rainbow Tunnel in the Abu Dhabi Louvre and this year in Dubai for the Transformation wall in Al Warqaa city Mall.
The U.A.E. is a great location to live because of the peaceful and respectful living society of hundreds of nationalities with their own culture. And off course there is the connection with the cultural heritage of the U.A.E.
F. comes from Françoise and man are the last 3 letters of my last name. Françoise Palsterman is too long and a name only strengthens the ego. Only French speakers can pronounce my name properly, so I keep it easy…
When I paint I foremost feel like a human being, gender is not important.
My work is separated from my person, regardless of whether I am a woman or a man.
It is not about my name, but about the work of art itself and what experience it gives to the viewer.
The Transformation Wall by F-man
A wall of hope
A concrete future
Butterflies of Hope
The answer of F.man to a time challenging our freedom and essentials: mesmerizing art on a parking lot.
The “Transformation Wall” is a visual fairytale, or shall we say a “Butterfly” tale.
It's the story of the butterfly within each of us metamorphosing to spread its wings and fly to horizons no caterpillar could ever fathom… and as any tale thus it shall begin.
“Once upon a time, in the hottest of summer of a year no-one will ever forget, on a parking lot wall made of concrete and grey, in the middle of what was the desert of Dubai not so long ago… an artist and her magic paintbrushes started making gloom and blackness disappear by painting enchanting rainbow butterflies.”
Commissioned by Union Coop to embellish the Dubai cooperative new iconic mall, and soon to be high tech head office, Al Warqa City Mall, the “Transformation wall” is a monumental mural painting of 120 m long by 3.5 m height. The execution by F-man took 3 months, from July to November.
The ‘Transformation Wall’, brings art in the centre of daily life, shifting our perspective from a grey parking lot towards colourful beauty. Here F.man questions the conservative and yet, still dominant, vision of art as the privilege of an elite gathered in museums and galleries, and expresses her talent in a humble and unexpected place. Herewith art becomes in the sight of everyone without any discrimination on education, age, origin or wealth.
Like no other, the realization of the “Transformation Wall” in itself was a “tour de force”, pushing the artist to overcome her own physical limits (extreme Dubai summer heat, almost uninterrupted work to cover 420 m2, in 12 weeks, noise, dust and ongoing construction work surrounding the workplace) and it almost became an artistic performance in itself. Working on a site that is still under construction comes with many challenges forcing the artist out of her usual creative zone. The very first viewers of her mural were construction workers. Witnessing their first surprise, later their attraction to her work has been one of the unexpected richness of the making of the “Transformation Wall.
Check out the F.man website for more images and information.