An artists journey – Elien Noppe

Artist visitor of Sachaqa Centro De Arte – September 2017.

Elien Noppe was raised in a small village called Watou, in Belgium.  When she was only 14 years old her visual arts education began and after a further 14 Years of education she gained her masters in Illustration.  She then went on to finish an art teacher training program and became a teacher in the art academy.  Music, theatre and visual arts are very important for Elien – as she needs this combination to feel complete.


I am fascinated in creating a virtual world of imaginary places.

The un-guilty-ness and pureness of an image, that exist in the sometimes dark and unconscious brain.  Connecting real life with a dreamed reality.  That’s why I like to teach children, they are not afraid of using their imagination and their fantasy.  I think we have to stimulate children to not lose the power of this natural talent.
The most perfect start of a workday for me is taking my sketchbook and to paint what I am thinking about; what I am doing, what I did and what I dreamed of.  Creating a kind of picture-diary.


The painting process

The possibility to paint a lot of layers with acrylic paint gives me the space to search for different shapes and different compositions.   I like searching for the right colours and mix them until they fit into my story.
The Sachaqa experience helped me to remember – when I paint, I don’t think about inner problems or things that constantly rages through my head.  Instead, I became obsessed with painting nature landscapes, un-perfect or strange people and imaginary animals – the jungle setting was perfect for me.


Conflicting Realities

Although, in the beginning of my time at Sachaqa I struggled with the differences between my world and the world in the Amazon Rainforest.  The luxury I live in – makes me very empty and the poorness in the jungle – make peoples life very rich.

I decided to mix my world with their world and made myself a few goals:  Desolate landscapes, escaping to a paradise, a search for boundaries of fiction, the quietness of nature, I create mooring people and place them in this beautiful setting.


La grande expedición – A living illustration into the real jungle.

I started to paint big, wooden people. All the people were posing in ways in which I felt when I was there; Meditating, searching, curious, scared, every feeling you can have while visiting the jungle.  When I finished the figures I made my story.  Influenced by the beautiful sounds of the birds in the morning, by the happy children around me, by the crazy chichara insects singing in the evening.  My story came to me very easily.

Let’s say it became a love story with a guy who organized a big expedition into the jungle. To search for the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life, and for the big search, he needed a lot of patience. The patience, the peaceful feeling and not-having-to-rush. Where we can appreciate things so much more.
On the last Monday of my residency at Sachaqa, we invited several village children to participate in my story.   The children where very excited.  This was our adventure –


Canto Desesperado 

Vi un aparición   I saw an appearance
Me gusto, lo quiero   I love it, I want it
Una flor en la selva    A flower in the jungle
Con una voz, waw, muy celestial  With a voice, waw, heavenly

Muchaha donde estas   My lady, where are you
Estoy un poco perdido   I am a little lost

Un historia acabado    A finished story
Con un hombre despejado    With a free man
Buscas siempre por favor    Please search always
Tambien a Isla Del Amor    Even in the Isla Del Amor

Mucho años con lagrimas    A lot of years with tears
El mar de tristeza     A sea of sadness
Mi alma gritando       My soul is screaming
Ven aca mucho rapido.    Come here very fast

Las noches con sueños     The night with dreams
Cuento todo los días.      I count all the days

Children‘s Activities

The children of San Roque were given a map and had to search the village for the characters in the story.  Peter was the champion map reader.



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