One of the most enjoyable things about living in Mallorca is constantly coming across new artists. Claudia Keupen, recent winner of the Artists of Mallorca Art Prize 2023 is an exciting recent discovery.
A professional artist, Claudia studied history of art at the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich. She was examined in free painting at the Academy of Art, Bad Reichenhall in Southern Germany. ‘I’ve painted my whole life,’ she told me. ‘It’s my mission.’
Claudia has lived in La Vileta, Palma, not far from Son Moix for the past eight years with her husband, a photographer, and her 13-year-old daughter. Home is a 19th century house which Claudia and her husband reformed. Her studio is the large entrance hall.
Created in 2020 to be the home of art and artists in Mallorca, Artists of Mallorca is dedicated to ‘allowing artists to have their own voice and to speak directly to art lovers’. The Artists of Mallorca Art Prize was launched in 2022.
Claudia won the prize with a painting on canvas inspired by the words ‘Don’t wait any longer. Dive in the ocean, leave and let the sea be you’ by 13th century Persian poet Rumi.
The large painting, which measures 1.90 metres by 1.30, is one of a series of five titled Poems to the Ocean.
As Claudia told me, ‘I feel the painting expresses the sense of connection to the sea that I feel strongly in Mallorca very well.’
Mallorca itself is particularly inspiring to Claudia. ‘The nature is beautiful and the light really special. The colours change with the island in winter. You just have to feel good if you’re blessed to live here.’
The poems of Rumi are also a profound inspiration. ‘For me he’s a spiritual poet,’ Claudia said. ‘I collect his poems and I like to repeat selections from them over and over in my paintings, as if they were mantras. This repetition represents going deeper and deeper into the poetry.’
Natalia Spitale, Miguel A. Delgado and Petra Eveline Dahmen at Can Prunera Museu Modernista, Sóller on 26 August presented Claudia with her prize after a jury selection. Artist Sharon MacLaren announced that she was the winner.
Speaking to Claudia, I got a real sense of what winning the Artists of Mallorca prize means to her.
‘I’m so happy,’ she said. ‘I was given the prize by the mayor or Sóller. All the other finalists who exhibited were there too. The press came. There was a really nice ambience. It was so exciting and cool.’
Claudia’s next step is to find a gallery on the island to represent her. She toured the galleries of Palma as part of the recent Nit de l’Art in the city looking for a gallery that fits her style.
Looking ahead, Claudia is planning to continue the two strands of her art. One of these combines portraits of women with words. The other is more abstract, similar to the Poems of the Sea series but also using words from poems, song lyrics and other sources of inspiration.
‘These are my two anchors,’ she told me, ‘and I’ll always switch back and forth between them.’
For Claudia Keupen, Mallorca is the perfect environment for artists. ‘There’s so much to inspire us,’ she explained, ‘and the people are so nice and friendly. The Mallorcan people who surround us seem to accept us. Our neighbours actually said “we’re a family”. That makes me so happy and I can translate it in my heart.’
She continued, ‘I’m really full of inspiration and joy. I hope people can see that in my work and that it inspires them too.’