31 January 2006

Unique Celebration

I have to admit that when we were invited, months ago, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what was it about. Yesterday we were at the superb celebration of 400 years Dutch-Australian contact. Unique party it was, perfect from beginning to end. The Ridderzaal (the oldest building in The Hague, actually the heart of the city) was the royal setting for the evening. Not only the highest representatives from the Dutch government, including ministers and the premier but also the Prince and Princess of Orange, better known as P. Alexander and P. Maxima were welcomed by our hosts the Australian Ambassador and the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
There was a sophisticated video show that demonstrated either how creative they are or how much interest in The Netherlands they have, or both. There were aboriginal dance and music, chamber music, the national anthems and even the 80's song Celebration was sung by everybody.
But the very best of the night for my husband and I was the people we were seated with. It was a table full of swimming champions: from the past heroes of both countries like Erika Terpstra (Champion in 1960 in Rome) to the still reigning "king and queen of the water" Pieter van den Hoogenband -photo2- en Inge de Bruijn -photo1-. Pieter's wife, Minouche, an ex-champion was seated next to me and Inge next to Hans. Hans first didn't recognize her, as he was used of seeing her wearing other kind of clothes. Her long beautiful body and hair were adorned by the very special jewellery by Rodrigo Otazu. He was also at our table, and he has fulfilling a double task: accompanying Inge and his expensive design. Inge is a beautiful person and I talked shortly to her but Hans had more chance to talk with her. Even though with Rodrigo, coming from Argentina, we could have talked about many things and in Spanish it was not that easy as he was exactly opposite to me.
Minouche van den Hoogenband is outspoken and the perfect person to be seated next to. We talked relaxed about many things, but mainly from sport to art, as our each own passions are. It was very special for me to know about their own drive, physical and mental power. Pieter is as nice as his wife and I told him about the "water series" I painted where I had actually used him as model. Of course I will let him see some of the photo’s of the paintings, as the paintings were actually quite attractive and most of them were sold at the exhibition that, Erika Terpstra kindly and enthusiastically opened for me nearly three years ago. As Pieter and Minouche are very open I got to know some things about their professional life, and I also felt their balanced relationship.
As the evening was coming to an end I made up my mind that for my next series: "Face of Nederland", where special Dutch people, famous and not famous, would be portrayed, that Pieter could be the perfect model I was still missing. Nearly before I finished asking him I had a yes from him. So soon, I hope, I will be taking his photographs in preparation for the portraits for the series. I am very glad I will be painting him and that I will meet again Pieter and Minouche.
The Australian character was contagious, thanks.
black and white photo's de Telegraaf

No comments: