The fact that people existed on the earth in earlier times is endlessly fascinating for Karel Zijlstra. In the course of evolution men and women have developed their mental images from a purely animal-like state to the highest spiritual level. From a lack of scientific knowledge they believed in gods and miracles and told each other tales in order to explain life and make it tolerable. They formed secret societies, looking for the truth behind the reality preached to them by king and clergy.
The fascination for human evolution is the guiding principle in Karel Zijlstra’s work. Born in Friesland, he found his inspiration in the Celts who had left Eastern Europe and, by way of Friesland, Scandinavia and England, ended up in Ireland.
Their nature religion connected perfectly with Zijlstra’s intuitive, religious range of thought.
As the Celtic dancer moved upright, so Karel Zijlstra’s sculptures reach for an elevating and spiritual calm. Like the slender god-figures in misty Irish fields, they rise up out of the earth, without feet, but unassailable in their spirituality. Often these modest, slender figures are compared to Masai warriors or Egyptian gods. Quite rightly, according to the artist. Because his search for source, origin and the future of mankind is universal and spans all peoples and cultures.