Karel Zijlstra

Available works

Artist statement

Human evolution is the leading motive in Karel Zijlstra’s work.

During thousands of years men and women evolved from bestial creatures to spiritual human beings. Lack of scientific knowledge made them believe in gods and miracles. Life was explained and made bearable by storytelling.

Karel Zijlstra is inspired by the Celts, who came from eastern Europe through Holland, Scandinavia and England to Ireland. Like the upright Celtic dancers, Zijlstra’s statues reach out for elevation and spiritualization. His figures show no feet, they rise out of the misty Irish land like thin Gods. These slender, introverted figures are often compared with Masai warriors or Egyptian gods. Rightly, according to the artist. Because his quest for origin, genesis and future of mankind is universal and embraces all people and all cultures.



Karel Zijlstra was born in 1958 in Leeuwarden, NL.
He now lives and works in Vlieland.

He was trained at the Academy of Industrial Design in Eindhoven.
Since 1989 he dedicated himself completely to sculpting. In this period he discovered Celtic and Medieval literature.
Until today the King Arthur legends, the Holy Grail and Percival, and the Irish myths and legends inspire his seemingly weightless bronze figures.



Absolute Art Gallery, Brugge, BE
Galerie De Twee pauwen, Den Haag, NL
Château de Drulon, Loye sur Arnon, FR
De Pruimengaard, Wijk bij Duurstede, NL
InterAtrium Gallery, Porto, PT
Galerie Mark Peet Visser, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, NL
Kunstsalon Eindhoven, NL
Galerie ‘t Aambeeld, Wanroij, NL
Château de Drulon, Loye sur Arnon, FR
Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk, NL
Galerie de Kliuw, Heeze, NL


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