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On the cover: ‘Bollywood Sugar No. 3’ by Handiedan

What is the story behind Bollywood Sugar No.3? 

When I travel I get inspired about the different cultural aspects around me, but it is no longer just one culture that you are experiencing at any one time. I tried capturing that fusion, that balance, that melting pot. It’s East meets West, Hollywood vs Bollywood.

How would you describe your style?

My creations are a complex layered mixture of collages and found material. I like to combine classic pin-up body parts over a backdrop of baroque and Victorian designs. These could be culled from international currencies and stamps, antique sheet music ornaments, playing cards, cigar bands, Asian newspapers, whatever fits. The surfaces stand out in relief, and I finish them off with pen scratches and doodles on paper, old wood or rusty metal.

Where do you find the elements for your collages?

I always keep my eyes open for new materials. I love to gather the vintage stuff and often stumble across it by accident – on the streets, in old buildings, in boxes in attics… People have even started to send me materials, which is inspiring.

What is it that particularly appeals to you about the pin-ups you use in your work?

I believe that vintage pin-ups have a greater aesthetic appeal than their modern equivalents. I hope that the use of vintage materials, the suggestiveness, and the way I portray the female form, strengthens the historic story of femininity.  The tenderness they portray and the strength they radiate combined with collage materials makes the image complete. I want to touch below the surface of daily life and represent real intimacy.

How important are eroticism and sexuality to your work?

Of course my work has a sexual and erotic feel to it, but it is also about the past, present and the future and it is about balance. The elements and ornaments I use are woven into cultures and have a tale of their own: they are small parts of history, that can be revealed and analysed in their own way.

Is there a political element to your art?

For me my work says something about the small and varied cultural facets of humankind. Maybe some viewers see something political in my work. The collage elements have a history, and history can have a hint of politics to it, but I do not intentionally create images to carry a political message. I find it interesting where we’re coming from: our past and how to find a way back there through materials we walk past every day. I get to reenact cultural phenomena and portray all this in the present with a Handiedan twist.

Is the Dutch art scene in an exciting place at the moment? Who are the other young Dutch artists that
you admire?

These days art and influences are changing so quickly that it’s hard to keep tabs. My main focus is on the international scene, and Chris Berens, Femke Hiemstra and The London Police are inspiring artists I admire.

Handiedan’s work is on exhibition until 23rd August as part of HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture II at La Halle St Pierre in Paris ( Prints of her work are available from

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