As it goes (2021)
What if you were 17 years old when one day a man, 10 years older than you, stands in front of your door asking your father for permission to marry you… and your father agrees? It happened to Jitske Schols’ great grandmother in 1914. Her story is the central starting point for the set of paintings Schols made in the series ‘As it goes’.
Great granny Elsa happily grew up in Sweden together with her parents and siblings. She enjoyed seeing her friends, going to school and had a crush for a boy in the neighborhood. At the age of 16 she accompanied her father on a business trip to Holland. During a formal business dinner she became acquainted with the Dutch national tennis champion. She immediately impressed him, but that wasn’t quite mutual. Back in Sweden the year went by, when suddenly the doorbell rang.
As was the prescribed custom of the time, she had to obey this request. Was she even a little flattered by it? We won’t know. But what we do know is that Elsa had to pack her bags and leave her place called home. To start a new life away from her comfort zone in a whole different country in a distant and frosty aristocratic family where she didn’t know the language and the rules to play the game.
How did she do? At 17 she was first pregnant and 14 pregnancies followed. Her husband turned out to be dominant and stern. She secretly followed two university studies, organized widely renowned parties and helped people in WW2 for what she was awarded by Eisenhower. Her eight children, her dogs and her parrot were her mainstay and her greatest happiness in life.
Although in ‘As it goes’ each painting tells a little part of Elsa’s story, the works represent much more. When painting, Schols likes to step back a little to tell a more universal story. There are many girls around the world that are not free to make the choices they want in life. And so many people who left behind their place called home.
As it goes is a story about surviving and persevering, about courage and love, and above all about making the best of it despite everything.