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The Washing Away My Sorrows series was always about the empowerment we experience when we remove ourselves from the fires that forge and shape us as women. Where I originally started with self-portraits within this series, creating awareness for climate change and our precious waters being polluted,  I now also reflect power, highlight issues and feelings through women worldwide.  The Black Lives Matters section of this series speaks to this sentiment poignantly.

For Elsabet (Elsa) Ademe and her sister Abigail (Abby), two of the beautiful models showcased in the BLM portion of my WAMS series, removing yourself from the compounding trauma of navigating the world as a woman of colour from a third world country can be extremely hard to do. I asked each of the models to think of sorrow that they wanted to wash away (before they got in the water) and for Elsa this was extremely easy to do. Her sorrow was the agony of being separated from her young daughter (who remained in Ethiopia with relatives while Elsa pursued a better life for her family in Los Angeles). The collective traumas of her past, compounded with the grief of missing her daughter and mother in Ethiopia, would seem almost insurmountable for some. But Washing Away My Sorrows isn’t just a series about what we carry into the water, but also the transformation that takes place as we emerge.

Abby’s sorrows were different. The pain that she left in the water was from her decision to separate from her life partner of 7 years. Letting go of this defining love affair with a man that she had hoped to spend the rest of her life with was extremely tough on Abby.  This is particular scenario isn’t something that is necessarily limited to the black experience, but the pain from being an immigrant rendered her pain as unique to her experience.
Washing Away My Sorrows – BLM was my attempt to place the beauty of ALL women on full display throughout my artwork. Although I’ve always celebrated the beauty of black and brown women as a person, that wasn’t always evident in my body of work. So, being a part of the healing process for brown and black women in 2020 is something that I’m extremely proud of (both an artist and a woman). I’m also super excited for the other paintings from this series that are scheduled to be introduced throughout 2022, and for the world to begin to behold beauty on its face, and not by placing an adjective in front of anything as beautiful as a human being. Our ethnic identities are just that, but the only race that exists in this beautiful world is the human race; that is what Washing Away My Sorrows – BLM is all about. Seeing the beauty and celebrating beauty.

Marissa Oosterlee is recognised for her hyperrealistic figurative pieces that captivate the viewer with not only their technical detail, but also the narratives that she brings to life. The works show her adept hand and subtle nuances, making it hard to believe that art was not Oosterlee’s first career. She started off, instead, as an aspiring semi-professional cyclist, but a heavy accident at age 20 ended her career early. One year after recovering from the accident and picking up brushes and pencils again, she became a professional artist.


•  2021 Best Portrait Award IGOR •  2021 Finalist ARC Renewal Salon •  2020 American Art Collector’s choice Award •  2018 Creative Achievement Award, Peterson Gallery – Santa Fe, New Mexico •  2017 Artist’s Choice Award Winfield gallery – Carmel by the Sea California •  Finalist Artist’s Magazine Competition 2018 with Angerona •  Finalist Artist’s Magazine Competition 2006 with Left Behind •  Nominate Kunstenaar van het Jaar 2017 with Hamkaas •  Finalist Salmagundi New York 2019 •  Honorable mention NTD TV New York.


• Wildlife in Galerie bij Leth, Emmen 2016 • Galerie de Ruimte, Geldrop 2017 • Winfield Gallery USA 2017 • Peterson Gallery USA 2018 • Palermo Italie, Expo Ricordi Futuri 3.0 2018 • Ambachtsfestival Amsterdam 2018 • Nationale Kunstdagen NL 2018 • Ambachtsfestival Amsterdam 2019 • Craft in Focus New York 2019 • Kristen Campo, Gallery New York 2018-2019 • Milaan Italie, Expo Ricordi Futuri 3.0 2019 • Salmagundi – NTD tv New York 2019 • Galerie Pictura Aijen, Bergen 2020 • Museum van Katwijk 2020 • Ton! Art Gallery Rucphen, NL 2020 • Arcadia Contemporary Art Gallery, California USA 2020 • Arcadia Contemporary Art Gallery, New York 2021 • Galerie Ton! Ruchpen, NL 2021 • KC Fine art NY Rochester 2021

Illustrations and Artworks

• Netflix • Constantin Film • Jumbo • Nintendo • Nobilis • Davilex • Tv-Fun • Pinewood Studio’s • Loes Van Delft • Restoring of Murakami Originals • Private Customers • Private Art Collectors NL, USA, UK, BE, DE, UK, Swiss, Singapore • Stal Vreedenburgh


• American Art Collector • Art Scene International • National en International Newspapers • Sterren op het Doek tv • Airbrush Art + Action • Airbrush Step by Step • Airbrush Techniques Magazine • DW News • Euromaxx • My Modern Met • Local and national TV stations in Finland, Japan, NYC, Poland, Germany and Netherlands • Worldwide and local newspapers • MAGZOID Magazine

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About The Author

Shivam Thakur

You will never make it if you care what others think. | Editor @magazinegogo | 21 | Engineering student | Fitness enthusiast |

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