Shelly Lapré (English version)

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Shelly Lapré

Shelly Lapre followed her art education at the Industrial Design Academy in Eindhoven, department Autonomous Environment with specialization: drawing, painting and performance. In addition, Shelly followed a Pedagogical Didactic Training course for artists to be able to teach artistic educational subjects.
“Our colonial history is part of our identity and has shaped us into who we are, with everything that comes with it. The trick is to transfer all this in a positive way; accessible and understandable for everyone. It’s all about us.”(Shelly Lapré)

Shelly Lapré was born in the Netherlands, but her source of inspiration lies in the former Dutch East Indies, in the country where her forfathers and parents were born. Her interest in colonial history arose from the stories of and about her grandparents and parents and out of respect for what they experienced during and after the Second World War in the Dutch East Indies, during their repatriation to the Netherlands and finally their stay in the Netherlands, where they hoped to build a bright future.

Connection: Past, Present Future of former Dutch East Indies
Technique: collage, old letters and stamps, mixed techniques on canvas.
Size: 80 x 90 cm.

‘I depicted the stories about my forfathers and my parents with the original travel and cabin boxes from the Dutch East Indies. For example, the old travel suitcase, which was used by my mother in 1950 on her boat trip with her family from the Dutch East Indies to the Netherlands, was treated with antique batik fabrics and nostalgic old family photos. The suitcase is no longer insignificantly hidden away in the attic, but is displayed as a sound box of memories of the life of my family in the Dutch East Indies.’


Dance ritual an ode to my forfathers and my parents in the former Dutch East Indies, for what they have experienced and should never be forgotten.

After years of collecting old photos, documents, books and stuff from families, buying at markets and via the internet, Shelly has collected enough material to use in her artworks. This has led to special performances, drawings, collages and paintings.

Art project

Art project with light and shadow, decor and costume. Commissioned by Ernst Jansz for the music program Molenbeekstraat and Gideons Droom, a tour of 66 performances in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Spiritual dance

Spiritual dance Drawing and painting on photo of own performance, costume and decor on wood in epoxy in old coffin.

Soundboxes of memories

Another art form of Shelly Lapre is the authentic trunk, where she makes new ‘Cabin suitcase closet’. In this work she tries to make the memories of the Dutch East Indies permanently visible to everyone and pass them on to future generations. Through Shelly’s way of working, history gets a contemporary visual language that is innovative, inspiring and accessible.

Through Shelly’s way of working, history gets a contemporary visual language that is innovative, inspiring and accessible.

Technique: collage and mixed techniques on old frayed linen cloth
Size: 110 x 125 cm

For more information about Shelly Lapre you can visit her website: