A Laugh a Day
In 1965 I moved from Groningen to Amsterdam, to experience the freedom that Amsterdam’s famous for. But it turned out to be a city with a lot of prejudices. In the street people called me names. And in the home I rented, I experienced physical violence from neighbours. I still can’t fully comprehend what it was exactly that put people off. Maybe it was my perfervid use of colours in the way I dressed?
Later we experienced a personal drama as a family. And the neighbours’ violence rose to a point where I ran off to one of the Dutch islands Vlieland together with my children to find peace. It was a warm welcome there, people were happy to have us. I still return every summer.
At one point, for reasons such as school and housing, we had to return to Amsterdam. We got on with our lives and I became a model for painters. That worked therapeutically for me. Every time again it’s exciting to see how you turn out on the artist’s easel; how people see you. Last year a group of artists arranged an exhibition around me; Seeing Sien.
A laugh a day, that was and still is my aim. If people see me and my man walking down the streets it’s like a party. ‘How wonderful to see you two so happy,’ that’s how total strangers come up to us. Why is it possible now? I have no explanation. I’m a positive person and I think that, in the end, the positive attitude and the colourful appearance have won.