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Documentary Photography and Video


born in Vught, The Netherlands

1951 to 1955
lived in Curaçao

have been living in Amsterdam

qualified as an interpreter in French language

hostess at the Dutch Pavillion at the World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan where I was immersed in a multimedia spectacle of film, music and photography. When I received a camera as a present from Fuji, I knew immediately what I wanted to be: a photographer!

stewardess at KLM, spent all my free time teaching myself photography.

became a professional photographer

freelance photographer; have worked on my own projects and many commissions such as a still photographer on film sets and in the theatre (Het Werkteater); for magazines, annual reports, photobooks, and advertising. From 2001 I started filming, organizing and working on my own documentaries.

most of my work takes place in Curaçao and other parts of the Caribbean

working on documentary that takes place in Curaçao, “We Are All Equal”

I went twice to Bangladesh to photograph “The Garment Girls”

Personal Statement

I try to observe and to understand, to get involved with the people and the places that I want to photograph. My starting point is always a mix of curiosity, surprise and fascination. What counts is what belongs to the subject, to the project I am working on.

The writer Frank Marinus Arion has best described my photographs in his forword to the book on Curaçao: “The sole criterion that the artist appears to have employed is the impression that the behaviors she photographed have made on her. (- -). In these pictures I often gained impressions that ‘did something’ for me and imbued a kind of familiarity with the environment in which these originated. Here I can enjoy them all the more because I know the background so well. And so much so because Ariëns often reinforces my own impressions: various aspects which I have always considered unique are also seen as such by her”.

Commissions and Prizes (selected)

A annual assignment by the Netherlands History section of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam together with Bertien van Manen.

1981 Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum.
Photobook, “Selfportrait: The Women’s Movement in the 1980’s”, published by the feminist press Sara.

1994 WORLD OF LOVE, one world, four families
Photographs of an extended family in Bangladesh which was commissioned by the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam

1994 Group show in the Tropenmuseum

1995 “Scanning, Applied Art and Photography"
Group Show in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

1996-1997 ART and CULTURE in Amsterdam
Photograph’s of cultural institutions commisioned by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

1997-1998 SUNDAYS
Photographs that were commissoned by the Rijksmuseum and the NRC Handelsblad titled: “Sundays in the Netherlands”.

1998 Solo exhibition of the photographs in the Rijksmuseum
Photobook “Sundays” published by Thomas Rap en De Verbeelding.

1990 Vrouwen gezocht voor mannenwerk (women in a man’s world), show in Museon, Den Haag

A show in Spaarnestad Archief Haarlem which was a combination of photographs from their archive and my own work

2000 WOLTER & DROS 125 years
Took part in the Jubilee competition and group show called “Wolter & Dros 125 jaar, een Kunst” in the WTC Art Gallery in Rotterdam. My photographs won the competition and the prize allowed me to buy video equipment.

Group assignment by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts

Portraits of Curaçao youths and their dreams of the future, their Perspective

2004 One man show in the Curaçao Public Library and in the Melkweg Gallery in Amsterdam.

Projects (selected)

1982-1985 Dienstmaagd des Heren? (Servant of the Lord?)
Project about women and their changing position and role within the Catholic church

1985 An exhibition in the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch.
Photobook “Dienstmaagd des Heren?”, Uitgeverij Waanders, Zwolle

Photographs of the island where I lived as a child

1987 Solo exhibiton in the Canon Gallery, Amsterdam.

Photobook about the Upper Class in the Low Countries, showing their traditional culture and their special rituals

1992 “In de beste tradities” was published by Thomas Rap.

1993 ”In de beste tradities” won the first Kees Scherer Prize for the best best photobook 1991/92.
Solo exhibition in the Comeniusmuseum during the Photography Festival in Naarden.

1995-1999 CURAÇAO, an island of its own
Photographs of Curacao society

1999 Photobook “Curaçao, an island of its own”, by the Walburg Pers.

2001 Photo’s are shown during the Fotofestival Naarden.


Documentary about the carnaval in Curaçao. Aired by NPS, Wereldomroep en Tele Curaçao

2005- 2009 Many short videos about Curaçao for the education department and television. These were about identity, multicultural society, rights and obligations, an obligatory training program for young adults. More short videos were made about nature and the environment, in collaboration with Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Nederlandse Antillen and Aruba and Stichting Uniek Curaçao.

2007-2009 WHY DIALOGUE?
A documentary about the social dialogue on Curaçao and the working on a masterplan for the island. Presented by the University of Curaçao and Tele Curaçao.

Documentary about the tambú of Curaçao.

2012 First shows during the first ‘Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam’ in Curaçao and the filmfestival ‘Beeld voor Beeld’ in the Tropical Theatre in Amsterdam.

2012-2020 WE ARE ALL EQUAL
People come together to break the vicious cycle of the past.


My projects have a.o. been supported by the Fund BKVB in Amsterdam, by the Foundation Anna Cornelis Fund, by the Mondriaan Foundation, by the Prins Bernhard Cultural Foundation of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

Collections (selected):

Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Noordbrabants Museum, Collectie Hartkamp, Dunhill Dutch Photography, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, Gemeente Amsterdam, SBK, Randstad Collectie, particulieren.

Publications - photobooks (selected)

1981 Selfportrait: The Women’s Movement in the 1980’s published by the feminist press Sara

1985 Dienstmaagd des Heren? – Handmaid of the Lord uitgeverij Waanders, Zwolle.

1998 Sundays published by Thomas Rap en De Verbeelding

1990 Vrouwen gezocht voor mannenwerk, text Emma Brunt, published by SUA, Amsterdam

1992 The best traditions was published by Thomas Rap

1996 Voor Ogen Public Healthcare in the Amsterdam region, commissioned and published by SIGRA

1999 Haaglanden commision by the Chamber of Commerce The Hague

1999 Curaçao, an island of its own by the Walburg Pers.

Publications - magazines (selected):

1987 The end of the WAO in Vrij Nederland (commission) - 1988 Carnaval Curaçao in Vrij Nederland 1988 - Studentlife in South Korea in Vrij Nederland 1988 – 1994 Japanese schoolsystem in Vrij Nederland - 1999 Curaçao photo’s in VK magazine – 2000 Hangplek Suriname, series about young people in Suriname, in VK magazine en De Standaard magazine – 2001 Carnaval Curaçao in Prince Claus Fund magazine –

2016 The Garment Girls in the Volkskrant


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