Ineke de Hoog
gallery "Spirits in Stone"

When Frank Reijnders and Barbara Visser decided to immigrate to South Africa, they put their gallery "Spirits in stone" in Wijk bij Duurstede (Holland) for sale. Ineke van Hoog, who lives behind the gallery, mentioned this to Ron Smit, a friend of her who publishes books on non-western art. He was very enthusiastic; "This is something we should do". Ron Smit convinced his wife Marianne Pinke and Ineke de Hoog to join him. "Because of our different skills we form a good combination. Besides, we have a wide network that partially overlaps".

Ineke de Hoog is a globetrotter. As KLM stewardess, she flew round the world for 17 years. As a historian, specialised in the Caribbean and Anthropology, she did fieldwork on slavery and worked as a teacher on the Dutch Antilles. Educational films for children that she made for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, brought her all over the globe. Travelling, she met a lot of artists. When the gallery was for sale, it did not take her long to make up her mind. In the gallery she is able to combine her love of travelling, work experience and cultural interest.

Frank and Barbara who started the gallery, mainly sold Shona statues from Zimbabwe. The new owners wanted to introduce a broader vision. Ineke: "At this very moment we have a exhibition of paintings of Soeki Irodikromo, an Javanese artist from Surinam, who makes beautiful cobra-like paintings. In September we hope to welcome Erwin de Vries. He is the one that made the slavery monument (in Amsterdam Oosterpark red.). Except for Surinam artists we want to draw attention to African painters. We also want to start with wooden and bronze sculptures in the gallery".

Art works are bought directly from the artist. They pay attention to the aesthetic quality of the work and make sure that the work doesn't meet the cliché image that a lot of Dutch people have of Africa. So-called "primitive", "authentic" or "exotic" works of art are rejected. Ineke: "Besides, we are nicely priced because we want to offer payable art. That this philosophy works, is clear from the fact that our supply was finished long before planned. Recently we had to go back head over heels to buy new work". The customer receives a biography and a photo of the artist.

Most customers do not have a special tie with Zimbabwe or with non-western art but buy something because they like it. Often they are surprised by the special offer that clearly varies from other galleries in Wijk bij Duurstede and surrounding. "We do have a sort of "mission drive" to bring non-western art to Holland. In Surinam for example, I know a lot of very good painters and that are very unknown here. They should get out of the atmosphere of hobbyism and amateurism. Because they are not, their work is professional". Artworks, sold in "Spirits in Stone" mostly contain a universal message. "Recently, a widow entered the gallery. She immediately felt in love with a statue of a woman reading a book. The title of the statue was "Knowledge is Power". For the woman, this evoked memories of her father who always teached her the same message".

Gallery Spirits in Stone
Peperstraat 26
3961 AT Wijk bij Duurstede
tel: 0343-597275

Thursday - Saturday 13.30-17.30
1th and 3th Sunday of the month 13.00-17.00