‘Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship’ for African artist at the Rijksakademie
Yesterday, Han Nefkens launched the Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship Fund. The Fellowship supports the residency of an African artist at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The fund is a tribute to Jacqueline van Tongeren who, along with her life partner Joep Lange, lost her life in the MH17 disaster. The Joep Lange Institute has been established in memory of his extraordinary work in the field of HIV and AIDS; its opening coincides with the launch of the fund.
The first Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship is awarded to the Benin artist Thierry Oussou (1988). Oussou uses his artistry to express the rich history of his country Benin, and zooms in on the complexity of social structures that exist between the community and the individual. His work tells stories that refer to the local history of Benin, but also touch upon international and universal trends. An artist that connects with the life and passion of Jacqueline van Tongeren.
Jacqueline van Tongeren was the Director of Communications and Liaison Officer of Professor Joep Lange at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). Last year, she was particularly involved in the annual INTEREST Workshop, an African scientific conference for the most talented researchers. Her passion lay in connecting people and sharing knowledge in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Jacqueline had a great passion for art; she collected art and dreamed of opening a gallery, just as she had done earlier in the 70s and 80s in Amsterdam. With the Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship Fund, her passion continues and promising African artists are given welcome support in their professional development.
'In the avalanche of deserved accolades for Joep Lange in the media, Jacqueline remains underexposed. And that is a shame, because she was a very special person as well. Jacqueline was a beautiful, sensitive woman whose life consisted of giving. She could also truly enjoy beautiful moments. Great food, ballet, art or a beautiful presentation. The Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship for artists from Africa brings together her passion for the continent and for culture and keeps the memory alive of a very warm and generous human being.'
Els van Odijk, director of the Rijksakademie:
'The Rijksakademie is pleased and honoured with the establishment of the Jacqueline van Tongeren Fellowship Fund. This Fellowship contributes to the professional career of an African artist. The development of work, the strengthening of position, respect and recognition within an international community of professionals are elements that give the artist tools to develop their own position and play a role in the local field. It is very special to give meaning to the memory of Jacqueline van Tongeren in this way.'