Cornelia van Voorst is a visual artist and theopoetic practitioner based in Victoria, BC, Canada, on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen peoples. Her work is an empathic integration of the personal with the historical, of the past with the present.
Tender, expressive drawings convey complex feelings and ideas about loss, war and remembrance. Living with a complex form of PTSD influences her engagement with intergenerational memory, trauma and grief. Allusive, lyrical images hover between literal and metaphorical depiction. These are produced with ink, conte, and resist materials such as eraser, wax and china pencil. Works on paper negotiate the space between lived experience and dominant narrative.
With her ancestral roots in the Netherlands and Germany, being brought up in Australia, and now living in Canada, Cornelia van Voorst is familiar with multiple points of view concerning WW2. Her work transcends familiar military narratives and emphasises a civilian perspective speaking to the universal suffering of war.
Her recent work explores the limitations of narratives that emphasise triumph. Stories about success through victory have become inadequate in the face of a world shut down by pandemic. However those who experience disability, war, illness, prejudice, oppression and poverty, have different stories: of endurance, persistence, compassion in the face of both personal and collective adversity. Tender, expressive images of roses persevere despite many dense layers of ink and become a form of remembrance for stories of resilience and resistance.