Oil on canvas, 41 x 51 cm

Rene Witland (73), born in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.

When Rene was a baby his father was a mine worker in South-Africa. Although the circumstances for white people were a bit better than for black people, his parents Sjef and Carolina decided to start a new life in Amsterdam. They arrived a couple of years before World War II, what was by far not the right time. But 45 years later after the death of his parents, Rene was able to sell their small jewellery shop for a satisfying price.

Rene worked his whole life as a bartender in café ‘de IJdele Hoop’, which means the vain hope. The money from the jewellery shop is long long gone. He receives a state pension since he reached the age of 65, but he can’t stop tending his bar, 7 nights a week. Every evening at 6 he draws up at the same table in the cafe. His former boss Marina cooks him a good plate of food and a couple of gins for free. And then he helps her by entertaining the guests for a few hours.

Rene detail