Painters 2015

Dorien van Diemen

Looking down from the top of the hill on Maweni Island, Dorien an Diemen stands barefoot in the sea. With her slender frame, her wide-brim hat and her enchanting pose, the image of her painting is a painting in itself. Somehow, though the sun beats down on Van Diemen the same way it does on everyone else, she always maintains her composure. Painting in a tight timber workshop in Lamu town, she produces a picture - perfect scene; technically unsullied, in a warm palette.

“There is a special flow about Lamu,” she says, “a kind of fluidity. There is no traffic like cars, buses or trams – no traffic lights. You never see people waiting in traffic. With the donkeys, the boats and children, people walking everywhere, things feel smoother than in other places. There is no rush, no danger.” These are some of the reasons Van Diemen returns to Lamu. “I met a lot of kind people. I was allowed to paint their portraits, their workplaces, and in their homes.”

Dorien Van Diemen was born in Holland and attended De Wackers Academie in Amsterdam. She started to paint people at work in 1996 when her parents were retiring from their printing press. Van Diemen continued painting people at work (her Mens & Werk series), documenting businesses that had been forced to close because of increasing regulation. Because of the historic value of her paintings, they are part of the collection at the Amsterdam Museum, who also commissioned her to paint the old Sotheby’s Auction House in Amsterdam. Van Diemen has been living in Scotland these last 14 years where she now concentrates on portraiture. In 1998, she produced a series of work in Scotland, showing both traditional and modern-day work environments in the country.

Van Diemen mainly exhibits in Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland but later this year, she will show in Denmark. She participates in several art festivals in the Netherlands and has work is in the art collections of Katwijks Museum, Amsterdam Museum and in the portrait collection of the University of Aberdeen.