Jitske Schols (b. 1969, Rotterdam, Holland) works with a variety of meda, including photography, painting, and collage. Her main focus used to be portrait photography until COVID came, which is when she started painting. Since then, she can't let go of the brush.
Schols studies themes such as time and space and revives lost female histories, bringing history back to the present. The artist became fascinated by the passing of time after reading a book in the 1980s about the former residents of her childhood home, who became an inexhaustible source of inspiration to her. Memories and imaginations play an important role in her work. The materials and processes she uses often refer to the themes in her work.
After working for 20 years in communications, Schols decided to commit herself to art. She is known for her photographic portraits in Dutch national newspapers and magazines. In 2017, she gained the Dutch National Portrait Prize.
Artist Statement for ‘As It Goes’
What if you were 17 years old when one day a man, 10 years older than you, stands in front of your door asking your father for permission to marry you...and your father agrees? It happened to Schols’ great grandmother in 1914. Her story is the central starting point for the set of paintings Schols made in the series 'As It Goes'.
Great Granny Elsa happily grew up in Sweden together with her parents and siblings. She enjoyed seeing her friends, going to school, and had a crush on a boy. Age 16, she accompanied her father on a business trip to Holland. During a formal business dinner she became acquainted with the Dutch national tennis champion. She immediately impressed him, but it wasn’t quite mutual. Back in Sweden the year went by, when suddenly, the doorbell rang. It was him.
As was the prescribed custom of the time, she had to obey this request to get married. Was she even a little flattered by it? We won't know. But what we do know is that Elsa had to pack her bags and leave her home to start a new life away from her comfort zone in a different country in a distant and frosty aristocratic family where she didn't know the language and the rules to play the game, while her husband turned out to be dominant and stern.
What followed were 14 pregnancies, two secret university studies, secret renowned parties, and a small heroin act during WW2. Her eight children, her dogs, and her parrot were her mainstay and her greatest happiness in life.
Although in ‘As It Goes’ each painting tells a little part of Elsa’s story, the works represent much more. When painting, Schols steps back to tell a more universal story. There are many girls around the world that are not free to make the choices they want in life. And so many people who are left behind their place called home.