Marjolein Efting Dijkstra, PhD
I am trained as a researcher in art history and ethnology. Over the past 15 years, I lived in Costa Rica, the United States of America, Germany and my native country, the Netherlands. I specialized in folk art, the aesthetics of everyday life, and human-animal relations. In December 2010, I published the book The Animal Substitute: An Ethnological Perspective on the Origin of Image-Making and Art. My present focus is on human-nature relations.
This website offers a brief introduction to my work.
Art works need not start their lives as art. Many older works that museums now present as art were originally created for utilitarian purposes. Most art today, however, is created as art and does not need to undergo a functional change to assume this role. Such art practices may nevertheless have their roots in utilitarian practices. In The Animal Substitute: An Ethnological Perspective on the Origin of Image-Making and Art (Delft, Eburon Academic Publishers, 2010), I explore how art practices-which produce non-utilitarian works-can originate from utilitarian practices. I do this on the basis of North American duck decoys and other animal substitutes that originated in utilitarian contexts.
My biggest passion is biodiversity conservation. I therefore founded a biodiversity farm in Costa Rica, called Finca Oropendola. In addition, I work in Europe on an educational program to teach children about the natural world of insects.