Perhaps, Geraldine Zwanikken’ s uncompromising determination of spirit was spawned in the Japanese internment camp in Indonesia, Where she was born of Dutch parentage. Indecision and survival are not complimentary and thus, it was that from earliest childhood, Geraldine Knew she would be a dancer, even as she played childish games among the piles of exquisite materials in downtown Djakarta’s cloth markets (Where incidentally, she developed the discerning eye of the artist she was to become). Back in her native Holland, she did study dance and joined the renowned Dutch National-Ballet Company. However, amidst a successful career with the troupe, she was overwhelmed by the creative limitations of movement; the use of the body in natural and emotional ways of expression. She established herself as a solo artist, but again, at the height of success, turned to search for a broader and more meaningful, creative life. So, with her husband Kees and two sons (Christian and Louis), at last arrived in Portugal. There they learned a new language and single-handedly rebuilt the ruins of an ancient Franciscan Convent in the remote and historical village of Mertola, perched high above the Guadiana River, deep in the Alentejo next to Spain.

With the support and encouragement of Kees ( who was a superb photographer), an expansive new life is developing. Indeed, the core of a cultural center was growing and already gaining attention in Portugal and other countries. Geraldine has established courses of creative activity involving movement, dance, yoga, health awareness and consciousness expansion that have attracted individuals of all disciplines and nationalities. The Medieval church has become an arena for experimental dance performances and a gallery Atelier for Geraldine’s exciting and innovative explorations into the word of visual art. Now a days the atelier of Christians’ Art in moving objects it is precisely in this realm she found find her ultimate realization and recognition. The creative life, as Geraldine Zwanikken has demonstrated, is not permissive or self-indulgent but a stern master of dreadful inner discipline! it is a force that levels the lesser individual and makes stronger the strong!

 Trevor Hellems



1942 > Born August 6 of Dutch parents, Bandung, Java, Indonesia.

1954 > Moved to Holland with her parents.Academy of Classical Dance in Amsterdam with a scholarship of Dutch Ministry of Culture.

1963 > Engagement with The Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam.

1975 > Choreographs and performs first own (solo) program Dance Recital.

1978 > Choreographs and performs (solo) program Enroulement, Singer Museum, Laren, Netherlands.

1979 > Choreographs and performs (solo) program Fragility Cycles.

1980 > Moves to Portugal with husband Kees Zwanikken and sons Christiaan and Louis to rebuild the ruined monastery (The Convento).
Organizes workshops and expositions under the title: Art and Movement.

1981 > Enroulement & Fragility Cycles, Dance Festival Holland, Hot Theater, The Hague and De Ijsbreker, Amsterdam.

1985 > Mina, diaporama/ performance.

1986 > Marble, diaporama/ performance, Cultural Centre São Lourenço Amansil, Portugal.
The Flying Herd, exhibition, Mértola.Tapestry, Gallery Kramoris, Long Island, U.S.A.Collages, Gallerie Curiex, Bussum, Netherlands.

1988 > 5 Mulheres do Alentejo ( 5 women from the Alentejo), Cultural Centre São Lourenço Almansil, Portugal.Collages, Galerie Pirmasens, Germany.

1989 > Salinas, diaporama/ performance.

1990 > Via Gloria, diaporama/ performance.

1991 > Currais, diaporama/ performance.

1998 > Light Work, Exhibition Space Rapenburg,  Amsterdam.

-in March 1998 the death of her mother Jeanette Everdine van Maarleveld. In May of the same year husband Kees Zwanikken passes away-

2000 > Light Work, The Cosmos.
Creates a permanent exhibition space with works in progress at the Convento.

2001 > Becoming student of the R.S.E school of Ramtha (Ramtha School Enlightment in ancient wisdom).

2004 > The Water Museum, a project to restore the Convento ’s ancient irrigation systems originally developed by the Moors.
Creating new gardens as living sculptures.
Drawing and writing two books: What Does the Plants Know What we Don´t Know & The Dance Of The Falcon.

2009 > Collaborating with filmmaker Jarred Alterman on his doc/art film CONVENTO.

2013 > Lightwork, Pirâmide.
Lightwork, Light On The Penedo.