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Some talents are discovered when they are very young but most people discover their blessed talents later as adults. Yamile started studying English, Spanish and business studies but later discovered her talent and love for fine art. Today, she is determined to achieve success as an artist. AFRITOPIC discussed with her.

I am living in Berlin, but grew up in a very small town called Bensheim, near the German Financial city, Frankfurt. I was born in Columbia to a native Columbian mother and an Afro-Columbian father. A Dutch family adopted me when I was 1 year old. I speak German, English and Dutch fluently but not Spanish.

Growing up and attending school in Germany was not all fun. I remember a racial incident while on my way home from school; a man came up to me, pointed a finger at me and using abusive words threatened to kill me if I do not go back to my home country. I have had similar negative experiences. So far, I have not allowed them to impact on me.

I never thought of becoming a fine artist while at school. I used brush and paint like most kids but did not take painting seriously. I decided to study after my secondary school and selected English, Spanish and business studies as my major subjects. 


Yamile Lijphart standing beside her work.

I had fun studying and I enjoyed life as a student, which took me to the USA on a study program. However, I was not very sure of what I could do for a living with the subjects after graduating. On the other hand, I could not picture myself following an academic career in the university. Meanwhile, I had chosen painting more or less as my hobby, investing part of my time in learning the techniques and developing my own style. But I did not know how I could make a career as an artist until I moved to Berlin. In Berlin, I met other artist, saw the way they work and earn money as artists. I realized that there are opportunities. I started spending more time with painting than with my university studies and my interest in fine arts grew. I had to take a decision. I either continue with my studies or drop it to concentrate on painting. I optioned for the latter.

My favorite material is wood. I love painting on wood. My paintings are normally in very large formats. I seldom do small formats. I usually start my paintings freely without any particular idea or concept. The abstract forms develop during the act. I am very spontaneous in my artwork. 



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The work I submitted for the “May Ayim Award” was also developed without prior planning. I was in a handcraft shop and bought some materials, which I later decided to integrate into my work. The result gives a 3-dimensional impression in white and is my first work of this type. I do not have any title for the piece. But viewing it now from different perspectives, I would suggest naming it “Illusion or Reality”. This title also fits my situation and probably the situation of many others that are living in countries different to their countries of origin. Values are different from country to country. So is the perception of what is true and what is not. The definition of the truth or what is accepted as the truth is different from culture to culture, from person to person. What I perceive as the truth might be totally different to what a German would perceive as the truth. Yes, I grew up in Germany, but my cultural instinct is not German.

I would like to learn more about fine arts and devote more time to my work. I would like to live and work in a big city. New York is my favorite city. I was there and love it. I plan to live and work as an artist in New York at least for some time. I met a lot of artists in Berlin, but mostly music artists. I am just getting to know some fine artists. I commend the organizers of “Black Media Congress” and “May Ayim Award” for their efforts in creating platforms were Black artists, authors and media professionals could make contacts. Afritopic




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