On Thursday afternoon, an exhibition was opened at the Erasmus Gallery, commemorating Carmen Heijmerink, who was the driving force behind Erasmus University’s art collection, until she and her partner and colleague Jeroen Bodewits died in a car crash in 2014.

The exhibition was curated by volunteer Kim de Vries, who used to work with Heijmerink and Bodewits, and by Heijmerink’s sister and daughter. It showcases works which were particularly meaningful to her.

'Painful, but great'

“It’s a painful experience, being here, but also great,” said Heijmerink’s sister Judith at the opening of the exhibition, which drew quite a crowd. “Carmen herself found this the most enjoyable part of her job: curating exhibitions. It has allowed us to look at the things she poured her heart and soul into through her eyes.” She said curating the exhibition was “nice” and “comforting” work to do.

Big heart

Heijmerink was an Erasmus University employee for 28 years. According to her collaborator Kim de Vries, she had “a big heart” and “a great love for the arts”. “We faced some pretty major challenges, such as the removal of Petri’s Eggs and the restoration of the Karel Appel artwork at Building H. Also, acquiring a new large work of art. But even so, we always had a great time here.”

The exhibition showcases works by Escher and Jeroen Bodewits, as well as a work by Erwin Olaf, which was Heijmerink’s final acquisition. It will be open to the public at the Erasmus Gallery until 12 May.