sydney metropolitan art gallery

Exhibition: 6th-17th Dec 2016
Peter Francis Lawrence // Earth Air Water

"Zabilou" - Isabelle Wittock-Mérenne

Africa, Australia and glass will shape Zabilou's new passion.

Born in Brussels in 1957, Zabilou travels the world with her parents as a child - via Washington DC, Brussels, Léopoldville, Paris, Brazzaville and New York.

But she does not neglect her studies and obtains a Master degree in Law and a Post-Graduate degree in International Trade (Belgium), and she does not forego the joy of starting a family either. She marries Serge Wittock in 1981. They have three children.

After working in Belgium for seven years (first in the cinema industry, then in the office of a Member of Parliament/ mayor), she returns to Africa with her family in 1988 for a first three-year stay in Kinshasa (Zaïre), where she exhibits her surrealist sculptures.

Back in Belgium after the riots of September 1991, she works in a software company for two years.

Then comes a second stay in Côte d’Ivoire that will last eight years. She organises classical concerts and competitions, and above all, works in a humanitarian organisation to help women and children. During that stay she learns to paint on porcelain and rediscovers African art.

Her interest in glass grows in the 90s through her co-operation in the building of the important collection of contemporary glass sculptures she will inherit in 2005. After she arrives in Australia in 2001, she soon discovers the importance and the dynamism of Australian and New Zealand artists in the international "Glass Studio" movement.

'Zabilou' - Isabelle Wittock-Mérenne