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Living a question

My name is Mare Hilstra and I am born in the Netherlands in October 1989 in a creative family as the youngest of four children and the youngest of an identical twin. When I was a little girl I was a dreamer, my favorite color was blue, nature was my companion and this has never changed.

Being raised on an island, with two story-loving parents I learned to see stories in the smallest of things. One of my first poems was about being able to think about something and a tree waving at me. About ten years later I moved to Amsterdam to study philosophy to deepen my thinking. 

After not finding what I was looking for I changed my studying career into art and focused on poetry and public space. I started to create site-specific art pieces like 'a little house of contemplation; a hut in the forest I maintained for 10 years as a place where people could write, think and read, 'Skemere'; a poetry happening on a soccer field to promote the old word and ritual of being in twilight - and serving in the role of the first official island poet of the municipality where I came from. This idealistic poetry path while living and working in the city ended in feelings of panic and burn-out. At some point I wrote a poem where I asked Pan-, the old god of the wild-  if he could help bring me back to the wild. On one of my healing walks half a year later I found a piece of a giant antler from the last ice age next to the sea. To me this was nature asking me if I was truly ready to listen. 

Not so long after I found the antler, I moved to Sweden (2018), the country from my childhood books, with lots of trees waving at me and space to think. Here in a little village I knew I had come home to a place where I could root, live a life in connection to the land and in a creative and open community. Besides, I could move into a big old wooden house where I still live and work from. With this change I have started to visualize my questions, stories and poems. First into collages and in the recent years it has evolved more into abstract bigger painting. With my love for locality and space I often use recycled or reclaimed materials and exhibit in places that I feel a special connection with.

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