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Loula Dierckx de Casterlé

PRESS Ethnic Echoes


Inspired by tribal masks, ancient scripts and historical symbols, Belgian born Loula Dierckx de Casterlé produces a collection of paintings that are a departure from traditional notions of art.

Take a talented artist cum graphic designer of Belgian origin and add the influences of travels to the colourful nations of Africa and you'll discover a collage of inspiration that Loula Dierckx de Casterlé portrays via her current artistic exhibits, showcased recently at the Alliance Française in Dubai.

Skilled graphic designer, Loula borrows from her profession and lends to her hobby. A nod at eclectic styles, this talented artist began painting nearly a decade ago and studied a range of different techniques before settling on this new, varied, modern ethnic style that she calls "mixed media".

Loula describes the collection as a, "mix of techniques". The background, she tells us, "is in dry pastels and I have then worked over it with a collage of different pictures that I source from everywhere. I work on these images on photoshop and then print them on very, very thin calligraphic paper. Finally, I layer the painting with stencils in oil for a finishing touch."

What strikes people is the diversity of cultural influences evident in her collection. "My many travels have greatly influenced this collection," Loula explains. "My husband grew up in various parts of Africa. Later we bought a house in Mozambique and we fell in love with the country. I was truly amazed by the diversity of cultures and the colourful history of the fascinating place." 

The couple were married in Marrakech and that, Loula tells us, was the source of great inspiration in her work. "Upon returning to Belgium, I worked on my first collection with this ethnic Moroccan spirit," the artist reveals. Shimmering colors and global themes (African, Moroccan, Chinese, and Arabian) are combined with unique seraphic art to create a transparent window into the international soul.

The artist hopes that this collaborative effort with the Alliance Française will be the first of many such exhibits. "In the past I painted for myself and friends who appreciated my work put in orders for similar art pieces but I never imagined doing something like this," she tells us of the exhibition. 

Already, Loula has been commissioned for her next project, a permanent exhibit at the Maison d'Hotes boutique hotel in Jumeirah. "The hotel has asked me to exhibit a collection of paintings throughout the establishment; in the rooms, the restaurants. Each room follows a different color and theme and my paintings will work around that, complementing the hotel's aesthetic value," she explains.

Her own work, she claims is influenced to some extent by fellow Belgian artist Isabclle de Borchgrave. "I visited an exhibition of hers while I was in Marrakech and it was titled 'Murmures'. That was perhaps what started me off in this new direction.

She (Isabelle de Borchgravc) herself works with different media but this particular collection was in mixed media, in bright hues and an ethnic style that somewhat resembles my collection," Loula lets on.

Loula tells us each creation involves weeks of research before she gets started on her canvas. "The first step is to find all the material," she describes. "It could take weeks before I'm happy with what I have. I search online on the internet, in books and then work on these images on photoshop to generate different concepts. Sometimes, if I see something I like in a restaurant I take a photograph of it and then work on it to achieve the quality I want it to portray."

Oriental symbols, ancient scripts, old maps and photographs of historical figures all make it to her canvases. An image of Buddha stares out of one of her paintings while another features towering minarets and paisley stencils. Mathematical scripts and aged textures combine to create a dizzying blend of elements. Her African series features tribal masks, many of which she discovered in her husband's childhood home.

Each painting is an exploration, Loula tells us. Her Arabic series is already a super success, having sold out minutes into the exhibition, with new orders filled up already. "It's exciting to explore different cultures as I do my research," Loula says. "I haven't been to all these nations. For instance I would love to visit China because I am fascinated by its colonial past which I have attempted to portray through these paintings," she admits, gesturing towards her Chinese series.

As an onlooker too, Loula's paintings have a lot to offer. In addition to adding a significant amount of beauty to our surroundings, these works of art are truly unique in that they capture elements of society, binding cultures via a network of fundamentals that come together as one beautiful collage.

Latest Magazine – June 2007

PRESS Reminiscences

Interview for "Femme d'Aujourd'hui" in Arabic
Reportage : Gina Tadros
Photos : Mohamed Badr el Din



Une artiste belge ressuscite l'âme arabe ancienne dans une exposition inaugurée par l'ambassadeur de Belgique, son Excellence Philippe Dartois.

Son excellence l'ambassadeur de Belgique auprès des Emirats arabes, Philippe Dartois, a inauguré la seconde exposition des toiless de l'artiste belge, Loula de Casterlé, au siège de l'Alliance Française. Ont participé à cette inauguration le PDG de l'organisme d'Abu Dhabi pour la culture et le patrimoine, Zaki Nessibeh, Dr. Claire Matta, l'adjointe du Directeur de l'Alliance Française, le conseiller culturel de l'Ambassade de France Raymond Chaffort, l'attaché de presse de l'Ambassade de France, Bernard Michotier et le directeur de l'Alliance Française, Jean-Jacques Gatein.

Les tableaux de Loula de Casterlé ont donné corps à l'âme ancienne des pays qu'elle a visités. Ils ont reflété les vues anciennes de rues inexistantes, ainsi que des aspects que le progrès et la civilisation ont effacés. Pour ce faire l'artiste a utilisé des couleurs douces variant entre les degrés de l'orange criant et le marron foncé.

Loula est venue aux émirats, il y a deux ans et demi. Elle avait auparavant visité plusieurs pays africains, et ce qui l'a attirée le plus, c'est l'Afrique noire. Elle a aimé dès le premier regard la ville de Marrakech. Elle a ainsi exprimé sa vision sur ces pays en collectionnant leurs photos et en les collant sur de la toile très fine après les avoir traités en utilisant le programme Photoshop.
Elle les a ensuite reliés ensemble dans un contexte ressemblant à un petit conte en utilisant les couleurs propres à chaque pays. Elle mélange les couleurs orange et marron pour arriver à des nuances jaunâtres en s'approchant du désert arabique, et arriver à la couleur rouge quand elle s'exprime sur la Chine dans deux de ses tableaux. C'est ainsi que la belge Loula brilla dans sa collection de tableaux en manipulant ses couleurs pour ressusciter l'âme antique de civilisations et de périodes disparues sous les aspects de la civilisation et du progrès.

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