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In the fall of 2015 I had the opportunity to collaborate with my sister Iteke Hemkes in an artist in residence program in Kyoto, Japan. We grew up together in an artistic family and were always playing together, creating fantasy worlds and doing experimental performances for our neighbors. Our parents would sometimes let us play until deep into the night because they didn't want to disturb our creative process.

Later we went to separate art schools and developed our careers independently. But lately we felt the growing need to collaborate again and create from the same playfulness and joy that we experienced as children. Entering this artist in residence program was an opportunity to explore the possibilities of our new found bond. Being in a different country and culture gave us the peace to step out of our daily routines and focus only on creating new work. We both also have always had an interest for the Japanese culture that we first encountered through our mother, artist Dora Anna van der Wal, who used to make Japanese inspired portraits in the early 1980's.


The Artist in residency program was provided by Anewal Gallery, Kyoto Center for Community Collaboration and the Japanese Cultural Center in Amsterdam.


During our stay we lived and worked in a traditional craftman's home called the Machiya. These buildings are getting demolished daily and threatened in their existence. Anewal gallery, where we exhibited our work, is a Machiya as well.


We produced 3 projects. Click on the pictures to watch our work.


For more information on our experiences in Japan, please check out our blogg: