Timmermans visits South Africa

European affairs minister Frans Timmermans is visiting South Africa from 4 to 7 February.

His visit is part of a move to strengthen cultural relations between the Netherlands and South Africa. On 5 February, he opened the first solo exhibition by South African-born, Amsterdam-based artist Marlene Dumas in Johannesburg.

Marlene Dumas, born in South Africa in 1953, has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 1976. Although her paintings have been admired worldwide for years, this is Dumas’ first solo exhibition in the country of her birth. The exhibition, titled ‘Intimate Relations’, is an intimate and confrontational vision of human relationships. At the opening, Timmermans praised Dumas for her ability to rise above cultural differences and to enable people to see the world through someone else’s eyes. “We need to rediscover this ability to see the world through somebody elses eyes, to accept that there are different points of view.”, said Timmermans.

The Netherlands supports the arts in South Africa through its Arts and Development programme, contributing about one million euros per year. The Netherlands and South Africa also have an agreement to preserve their common cultural heritage in South Africa.