Having worked as an aid worker in the Philippines just prior to the Peoples’ Revolution, and studying at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tienanmen Square and South African Apartheid, for Cornelia van Voorst becoming an artist appeared to be an inadequate response to a hurting world. Working with children and families seemed a more useful vocational choice, yet the desire to make art never left her. In the last few years while seeking to understand the effect of war and trauma on her family and her own life, many of her questions about art’s value have been resolved.
Cornelia van Voorst’s art practice emerged after a long period of recovery from a complex form of PTSD. Her experience as a child witnessing her German father’s memories of war influences the concerns of her practice. Her first solo exhibition at the time of the Syrian bombing crisis, focused on the lesser known wartime history of aerial bombing and its effect on women and children. Her current work is inspired by the intersection of her own experience of resisting the darkness of traumatic memory, with the history of German resistance in Nazi Germany and its challenge to the post war ideal of “love is the answer.”
Cornelia was curator for the Stairwell Gallery at St Philip Anglican Church and continues to advocate for the inclusion of contemporary visual art and artistic perspective into how we understand the “sacred.”
Cornelia van Voorst grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.