Yaël (b. Antwerp, 1987) is a Belgian artist whose portraiture paintings puncture the membrane between dream and reality. With the exception of Ezekiel — the first and only male figure painted thus far — the majority of Yaël’s subjects have been female, tied together by their stoic gaze. A distant facial expression, void of any semblance of a smile, evokes powerful, confident figures living in a vibrant, colourful world.
Inspired by scenes of everyday life, her subjects belong purely to her imagination. With no two characters alike, Yaël allows the process of what she calls “doll dressing” to reveal their unique personality through an individual sense of style. This process – to dress, undress and repeat – can take several months or years to finalise and receive the finishing touch, their names.
Adorned with colourful clothes, accessories, hair and make-up, her works celebrate diversity and reveal her personal sense of inner and outer beauty.
Yaël began her career in Antwerp as a make-up artist for the fashion and film industry. Her exploration into portraiture only came in 2010 as a form of catharsis after facing health complications that forced her to renounce her career as a make-up artist. She found respite while realising a small self portrait which allowed her to hone-in her skills as a make-up artist and transform her passion for fashion into painting. She hasn't stopped painting since, though she might say she holds a love-hate relationship with her brush at days. Yaël relocated to Barcelona in 2018 to start fresh. With new energy, "Volver" marks Yaël's return to her hometown as a mother, an entrepreneur, and artist.
- St. Vincents