Tisna Westerhof is a London-based artist, working across a range of media, She is co-founder and director of hARTslane (2012), an experimental art project space in new Cross Gate, South London. Born in the Netherlands in 1975, Tisna studied Printmaking at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and has an MA in Scenography from Central St Martins, London. Prizes include the Royal Dutch Printmaking Award and Siemens Art Award.
In 2013 she was elected a member of The London Group. She is currently showing ‘Digest’, a solo exhibition at The Dutch Centre in London. Recent exhibitions include‘Fit The Slit’ part of the Venice Biennale 15, Deptford Stories Festival, The London Group Centenary, Deptford X festival, the Royal Academy Summer Show, Tamsyn Challenger’s 400 Women and the APT-2013, selected/curated by Paul Noble. Tisna has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally. She has undertaken numerous commissions and has work in private and public collections in Holland, France, Germany, Italy, USA and the UK.
Tisna takes the fabric of domestic life, from family snaps and children’s clothes to ceramics and embroidery, and reconfigures it into work that explores nostalgia, identity and the loss of innocence.
While her practice is grounded in printmaking, Tisna revels in breaking down the limitations of materials and reinventing traditional handicrafts. She produces highly tactile works that capture a child like sense of delight with a combination of humour and melancholy.
As one of a twin, Tisna is fascinated by dualities and her personal experience of loosing an older sister suffuses her work with warmth, intimacy and a sense of the precariousness and fragility of what we treasure.
In her latest work, Tisna Westerhof offers a witty and poignant critique of the daily diet of violent and banal imagery presented in the Western media. Through playful subversion 'Digest' prompts us to ask ourselves what the media feeds us and, as we digest it, what we become.
At first sight, the display of wall-hung plates exudes an old world, folksy charm. But on closer inspection we discover pictures of Ebola dead; a white policeman beating a black woman; an Islamic State fighter holding a baby. Painted in a naïve, tentative hand on flimsy disposable plates, these dark, unsettling images, once released from their original context, start to resonate with pathos, absurdity and tenderness. The accumulation of functional paper plates, rendered useless by painting, embodies the disposable nature of news media, where catastrophic events are reported on in a moral panic and just as quickly forgotten.