Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Koedoot-Berghout, Jolanda - VM - Heather Hancock

  Jolanda Koedoot-Berghout: Trapped   


 Beyond the Veil 

by Heather Hancock 

With each viewing of Trapped by Jolanda Koedoot-Berghout I experience both subtle and obvious depictions of the Christian story and can’t help being drawn into the painting/story anew each time. At first glance, the bold, vibrant colour scheme and ruggedly textured canvas appear as an emotionally driven piece of abstract art. Themes of glory, oppression, evil and hope are readily evoked through a palette of gold (glory), black, red (evil/oppression/passion) and bright blue (hope). The netting which overlays the center of the work creates a visual and textural divide between what is above and beneath as well as trapping what is behind it. 

As my eyes are drawn toward the lower part of the work, I begin to see traces of human figures emerge beneath the netting.  Some are depicted with a bold, earthen brown while others appear in shadowy hues of pinks, grays, whites and traces of blue. Undulating beneath these figures lays an unveiled ground of deep black and red. With closer inspection red hearts encased in the surrounding black swim to the surface. Above the netting, colours of gold, bright blue and brown cascade down from the top of the canvas, pressing into the veiled divide. What is this divide? Who are trapped beneath it? 

Trapped is part of the Expressions for Justice art collection. Expressions for Justice is an initiative of the International Justice Mission, the Netherlands (IJM-NL), which seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression, who urgently need the protection of the law with specific attention to human slavery, prostitution and the exploitation of widows through illegal land seizure.Expressions for Justice seeks to partner with artists who desire to use their work in the fight against injustice through hosting galleries and live performances that explore both the ugly realities of injustice and embrace hope and restoration. 

Trapped poses the same questions that fuel the mission of IJM. What traps humanity from realizing her God given destiny of hope, dignity and freedom? What creates the divide between freedom and oppression? In the painting we see human figures ensnared beneath a veil as they tread over a soil of red hearts in a sea of darkness. Is it the people behind the netting who suffer from the trap of injustice or is the netting a blind fold that prohibits them from seeing the faceless, human hearts suffering from injustice beneath their feet? Either way, all are trapped.  

This painting confronts me. Will I choose to remain veiled and blinded to the oppression and victimization of others and thereby surrender to an oppression of my own doing or will I choose to look, to see, to be truly free in the freeing of others? 


Jolanda Koedoot-Berghout: Trapped, 2012, acrylics and pastels on canvas with sponge netting, 30 x 40 cm. 

Jolanda Koedoot-Berghout is passionate about exploring the impact and dynamics of group relationships. Her paintings often depict families, tribes and other people groups united by a shared experience. Her belief in both the redemptive and destructive power of interpersonal relationships is a guiding theme in much of her work. 

Heather Hancock is a classical pianist, singer/songwriter and art enthusiast. Currently, she is the Director of Expressions for Justice.  She lives in The Hague, the Netherlands with her husband Jeff and their two children.To learn more about International Justice Mission you can check out (USA) or (Canada).    

ArtWay Visual Meditation July 21, 2013