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Witte Wartena

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Little Odessa, Watercolour, 56 x 76 cm, 2009
Witte Wartena spent most of his childhood drawing in his bedroom. Situated in the attic of his Amsterdam home. While reading the Autobiography of Marten Toonder many years later, he discovered that this famous Dutch comic artist had lived there, for one year during the Second World War. Perhaps the atmosphere of this room had an effect on him and could explain why from an early age, he caught the comic bug.

Wartena's work is narrative, based on himself and his surroundings. Executed in the form of drawings, comics and installations, it features friends, family and scenes from his daily life. The drawings are made as accurately as possible in the sense that they include every detail of our every day existence, such as clutter, rubbish and graffiti: features of our present environment. Like the Genre works from the Dutch Masters, he too shares their passion of portraying people engaged in common activities. The difference is that Wartena knows these people personally.
Wartena likes also to think of his work as snap shot photos, similar to the photo albums his mother has of him since he was born: a personal history book of his life. For Wartena, creating work is a way of preserving his ever-changing reality. He sees beauty in the ever-day world. With his work he wants to make the viewer look at their surroundings with new eyes and see what he sees, beauty in the mundane.

Witte Wartena

1976 born in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands


2005 -2006 ECA Edinburgh College of Art, Masters of Design -Illustration
1994 -1998 Aki academy of visual arts, Enschede, BA Hons -Illustration


2002 Starter stipend, The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture

Solo Exhibitions

2014 The World in My Eyes, Ains Ah, Berlin
2011 Two Panoramas, GlogauAIR, Berlin
2010 Local shops, North Edinburgh Art Centre
2008 Boy, Project Slogan, Aberdeen

Group Exhibitions

2016 Drawing Front Amsterdam | Nieuw Dakota & Tekenkabinet
2016 Bedsitter Art Fair, Kantine, Cassa Nostra, Vienna
2015 A tale of two cities, Concordia, Enschede
2015 Silver linings, The Drawing Hub, Berlin
2015 Tekenkabinet, Kunstenhuis, Amsterdam
2015 Recordless Release Party, Echo Bücher, Berlin
2015 Tekenkabinet, Museum Waterland, Purmerend
2015 Sleepover, Hotel de Goudfazant, Amsterdam
2014 Shillertreff project, Cell63, Berlin
2014 30 Jahre jwd, JWD, Berlin
2014 A drawback, Quartair, Den Haag
2013 Superkauf Vol. 2, Benefizausstellung, Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld
2013 Rationalanimal, Rumbalotte continua, Berlin
2013 EinDruck Ausstellung Internationale Zeitgenössische Druckgrafik, HALLE 14, Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig
2013 Da kommt der Affe aus dem Ärmel, Goete institut Amsterdam
2013 The Picture Show, Galerie Jaap Sleper, Utrecht
2013 Afscheid Bart Hofstede, Bar Babette, Berlin
2013 1x1, Kantine Aqua-Carré, Berlin
2013 Re:Rotterdam, The Tupajumi foundation, blaak 16-18, Rotterdam
2012 The Drawing Project, The Crocus Gallery, Nottingham
2012 YOU ARE HERE, Kreuzberg Pavillon Kassel, during dOKUMENTA (13), Kassel
2012 Huis Rotterdam, Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam
2012 River of Hope", Recyclart, Brussels
2012 Gadabout, A drawing exhibition with Fiona Michie, Perennial-art, Berlin
2012 It can be a hostel too, LUXUS LOFT, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin
2012 Connective Rehearsals, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin
2012 Supermarket artfair, , Stockholm
2012 Re:Rotterdam, LUXUS LOFT, boompjes 60-68, Rotterdam
2011 The cuts are alright, Kreuzberg Pavillon Neukölln (with Skalitzer 140), Berlin
2011 A drawback, Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin
2011 XYZ ( curated by Marc Bijl and Andreas Helfer), Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin
2011 Haus Berlin, IAC Gallery, Berlin
2011 LUXUS LOFT (Increase the Value of your Property), Atelierhaus Friedenstraße 16, Berlin
2011 Open studio GlogauAIR, Berlin
2010 Open studio GlogauAIR, Berlin
2010 Between two cities, G11 galerie, Berlin
2010 A drawback at the Edinburgh Art Festival, Arts Complex, Edinburgh
2009 Charity Art Auction, St John's Church Hall, Edinburgh
2009Allsorts - A City Art Lovers' Treat, The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
2009Change at the Edinburgh Art Festival, Arts Complex, Edinburgh
2009Edinburgh House, Sierra Metro, Edinburgh
2007 Universal Design, International Art & Design Exhibition SNUT Seoul
2006-2007 Reading The Drawing - Narrative in Contemporary Art and Comics Gallerie Sign - Tentoonstellingsruimte voor Jonge Kunst, Groningen
2006 ECA Masters of Design 2006
2006 draw_drawing_2, The Foundry, London
2006 Movers 'ACCESS' Odessa, Leiden
2006 Contemporary Illustration from Scotland, Collins gallery, Glasgow
2005 Bound_less Touring Exhibition starting in Oslo
2004 draw_drawing, Gallery 32, London
2004 Film des Forêts, Château du Magnet
2004 Welcome Back, ZET foundation, Kunstvlaai 5, Amsterdam
2004 Eject, Rozengracht 207, Amsterdam
2004 Double Scotch and double Dutch, Amsterdam
2003 Lopend beeld nieuwe vide, Haarlem
2003 Söders Internationella Konst Biennal SIKB (r) Stockholm
2002 M8 present v. Oldenbarnevledstr. Amsterdam
2001 Exhibition with Remko Theunissen, Expodium Utrecht
1998 Aki academy of visual arts, BA final year degree show, Enschede


Fam. Theunissen, Amsterdam Eindhoven, Maaseik and Roermond
Jay Kirkland, Edinburgh
Marja Depla, Amsterdam
City arcives Rotterdam
Frank Pol, Amsterdam
Jeroen Henneman Amsterdam


2015 Twentsche Courant Tubantia, Expositie Concordia brengt Witte Wartena terug in Enschede, interview.
2013 Gedrukt van 1976 tot nu, Grafisch werk van kunstenaars verbonden met de AKI
2012 Weekly drawing,
2012 Botched earth, Volume 2, X= Or What is to be Done?
2008 Paper X, project initiated, Edited and Published by Sandy Christie.
2007 Universal Design, International Art & Design Exhibition SNUT Seoul, South Korea
2007 Reading the Drawing - Narrative in Contemporary Art and Comics, Softcover, Galerie Sign Groningen (Joost Polmann, Lennard Dost, Tsjalling Venema)
2006 Metropolis M, Brussels lef Over de scheidslijn tussen strips en kunst (Joost Polmann)
2006 Contemporary Illustration from Scotland, Collins gallery, Glasgow, Scotland
2004 de Volkskrant (national newspaper, comic review)
2004 Retour (comic)
2003 Söders Internationella Konst Biennal (r), exhibition catalogue, Sweden
2003 The HTV # 49 het zwartegat (monthly comic in art newspaper)
2003 The HTV # 48 het zwartegat (monthly comic in art newspaper)
2003 Kleurenkitsch witte media in de multiculturele samenleving NPS (comic)
2003 The HTV # 47 het zwartegat (monthly comic in art newspaper)
2003 The HTV # 45 het zwartegat (monthly comic in art newspaper)
2002 Blvd. Nr3 (magazine review of 'Retour')
2000 Haarlem comics festival, comic charitable contribution 'Tekno' for Enschede-disaster
1999 Het zwarte gat (comic)
1998 Het beste van Tekno (comic)
1998 De inboorling (comic)
1997 Dagblad Tubantia, (review, front page and page 2)



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