Sophie Steengracht (The Netherlands, 1991) is interested in mythology, magic realism, transformation and the intertwinement of man and nature. Her drawings, paintings and sculptures feature mythical creatures, flora, fauna, the earth and the sky. In June 2018 she travelled through the Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Peruvian Andes, a place of exceptional biodiversity, home to animals and plants that are found nowhere else on earth. In a forest permanently enveloped by clouds, trees form a kind of botanical gardens; entire forests seem to float rootless in the sky. In this dazzling world filled with myriad shapes and colours, where species transform and move as their environment evolves, the indigenous people see a soul in everything and tell stories of forest spirits. Fungi and lichen make paintings on tree barks and speck the soil like stars in the sky. Sophie photographed, drew, etched and painted this world, where everything is reflected in something else, where patterns repeat themselves and death is as present as effervescent life.
Sophie Steengracht in Peru is the 9th volume in the Inspiration series, an initiative by the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation. The Foundation has been supporting Dutch visual artists of outstanding talent ever since 2008. Their development and sources of inspiration are what this series is all about.