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Babs Haenen’s Alma Mater

Have you ever wondered from where Babs begun her artistic journey? Her Alma

Mater? That is the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. The academy laid the

first stones of Babs’s artistic foundation, encouraging her to experiment, take risks

and develop her personal style.


Before diving into visual arts, Babs did a different kind of art. She worked as a dancer for many years. This background in movement influenced her art, giving her works their signature dynamic and fluid quality.


In 1974, she started studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, where she stayed until 1979. It is known for its innovative approach to art and design. Established in 1924, it was originally called the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs (Institute for Arts and Crafts Education). The academy was renamed in 1968 after Gerrit Rietveld, a key figure in the De Stijl movement.


During the mid-20th century, the academy focused on functionalist and socially

critical ideas, influenced by Mart Stam, a socialist architect and educator. However, in the 1960s and 1970s the school emphasized autonomous visual art and individual expression.


The Gerrit Rietveld Academie remains a vibrant centre for creativity. The academy

constantly evolves, with new buildings like the Benthem Crouwel Building and the

Fedlev Building enhancing its facilities. The education model, with its focus on

personal expression and practical skills, continues to shape many talented artists and designers.


After becoming a successful artist, Babs returned to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 1994 to teach, a role she continued until 2013. Having worked closely together with her until now, I strongly believe that Babs as a teacher draws from her own knowledge, thus encouraging her students to experiment and find their own artistic paths, like she did.


Babs’s artistic journey from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie shows how this institution nurtures creative talent. From her days as a student to her years as a teacher, Babs’s journey reflects the academy's lasting influence in the world of art and design.


More interesting facts about Babs coming next! ヽ(•‿•)ノ

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