Artist Joyce Valkhoff is caught up in a corrupt Arabian thriller
written by Rob Hammink
Dutch artist fights for a claim of 40 million euro claim for the stealing of her art collection.
With trust, multiple pieces of artist canvases and 15.561 euro transferred to her bank account, travelled Joyce Valkhoff in 2004 to Dubai. Not for the money. But for a new challange and passion for her work. She was the chosen one…..but the Dutch artist landed in a complot with false identities and corruption, due to the individuals surrounding President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan and the prestigious Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel ever been built. After having made the art collection in a bathroom, where she was compelled to make the 34 piece art collection, in shock, stolen her art collection and having been threatend within the UAE, she lives now in hiding. From her hiding place, she now fights for her rights.
Her house is a bunker, literally. Her secret hideaway, is totally cut off from civialization, with just a few rabbits, she tells her story of the nightmare that took place in the rich oil country. Obviously an inspiring location, due to the thousands of notable precision documentations, forms in 4 hours time an impressive claim. She has accumilated evidences, totally on her own and for the last 5 years.
For somebody that has lived in total solitude as well as having been burden with heavy psychologically stress put upon her, she still has a broad smile on her face. Different than when our first contact. Via other fax numbers and email addresses. Her telephone is tapped and her website closely watched via private satelites. Here you have copies of the dates and the times noted on them. When I contacted the Abu Dhabi Contact Center, an extension of the government, was my website watched by nameless IP addresses. These are the business cards from people that do not even exist. And these are the ground floor plans of the private quarters of the Presidents within the Arabian world, where my paintings are hanging. Top secret material.
Between the evidences is a book named Zayed. On the cover waves the former President of the United Arab Emirates, as if nothing is wrong. But there is definiately something wrong in His Kingdom. I wish to warn the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan, their Leader, for the people surrounding and working for Him. They have committed corruption and fraud. In a months time Queen Elizabeth II from England will be visiting the Emirates Palace. It sends chills down my spine having to know that she will be walking among a stolen art collection. My art collection.
With, hopefully you have enough time says Joyce Valkhoff, a former visualizer. After a free life in Sydney Australia, she found her new passion after working hours…..painting. International succes that reached even our own Royal Family. One day a good friend suggested to take a look and to go to Dubai. That is where I thought my golden future would be, because the oil state has the greatest wish of making their city, Abu Dhabi, into an international cutural city. They even are building the second Louvre and a Guggenheim Museum.
During her trip, she met her first contact, Mr Butti Saif Al Muhairi, the old protocol Director of the Jumeirah Group and Burj Al Arab. Mr. Butti was impressed by the work of Valkhoff. The man would eventually be a crucial position within the fraud scheme. It did not take long before Valkhoff, being back in the Netherlands, would hear that she was chosen out of 350 artists to the honor of making the art collection. Beter today than tomorrow. Her contact was Carrie Nicholson. But I had my needs and wants. I wanted to paint on my own linen. That was no problem. But whom was I paintng for? That I would hear later. Who was going to organise my workers permit? Important, because otherwise you could land up in jail. All would be taken care of at my arrival. On the 9th of September 2004, was just over 15,000 euro transfered to my bank account via Cornellian Gallery. A small detail, the real Cornelian Gallery is spelt with one L.
On the 15th of September 2004 Joyce Valkhoff checked in at the Royal Mirage, with her mother. Nobody greeted her upon arrival and Carrie was not to be found. The artist did prior had received a list of desired images that were needed to be made. A list of 34 paintings, had to be made, with imagery typical to the landscapes and animals of the UAE. In a bathroom of just 2 x 3 meters Joyce Valkhoff worked day and night to complete the art collection. In the meanwhile, strange circumstances evolved. Her contact person, Carrie Nicholson had gone to England to her sick and dying mother. Her role was taken over by Robert J. Pour and he introduced himself as the contractor of the building which the paintngs were ment for, which later, after investigation would be the Emirates Palace. A business card of the man, with the company name Parsons is noted. From Pour I received these interior photos, so that I would know what colour scheme had to be used. I found out later that Parsons is a bridge and road workers company, and not a builder of palaces. Thereby the real Robert J Pour is 65 years old and the man I met was about 45 years old. In a surreal situation and without a workers permit, Joyce Valkhoff concentrated on her work….painting. She rarely had time to go outside. The hotel bill rose to a stagering amount above 30,000 euro. The only one she saw at that time was Butti. He was very fond of me, at least that was my impression. He even wanted me to be his second wife. Evenually I would realise that he did not come to my room to propose marriage, but to spy on how many paintings were already completed. In the meanwhile her visitors visum was running out and at the same time the former President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, passed away. No government office was open for the extension to the visitors visum, as they were all in morning. Even our own Embassy kept their doors shut. The only one that could help me was Butti. I told him, or you are going to help me or I am going back to the Netherlands, That had effect. He extended my visitors visum. It did not take long and my paintngs were stolen out of my room.
Joyce Valkhoff takes a short break. I knew that I was twisted and in trouble with something big. A female in the UAE, has no say in the courts, they follow the Sharia Law, where if 4 Arab males says the same….then that is the truth. Anything on paper has no value in their courts. When I called Robert J Pour, he started threatening me with my life. It was beter for me leave the country, and be safe. Two days before traveling back to the Netherlands, I decovered that my paintngs were hanging in the Emirates Palace.
Thereafter a time of mental and fysical exhaustion came. Slowly she transformed with a fighting spirit. She went back to the UAE another 6 times, for trying to find the organisation behind the most expensive building ever been build. This in order to make her claim of 40 million euro, to the people concerned. Behind the curtains of the Emirates Palace is the Emirates Palace Company, the company that represents the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE. The Emirates Palace is hired by the German owned company the Kempinski Group, with their head office in Switzerland. The claim of 40 million is not only for the art collection, but also for the usage of Joyce Valkhoff property in all the years, but also for the usage and misuasge of her copyrights door de Kempinski. The Abu Dhabi police department does want to note the illegal activities, but Valkhoff cannot enter the country…..she did not receive a workers permit.
A long list a names entered the arena. People that do exist do not answer any emails or return telephone messages. Thereby the Dutch Embassy had also no effect. The Dutch Ambassador suggested to take a lawyer.The only individual that brought any input into the matter was Charles Ooms, the business advisor to Dutch citizens. He suggested to send the bill to the President of the UAE. If they have any questions to where your contract is, then tell them that your signature is on your paintngs……that is your contract.
A gost in this dramatic opera is a Mr Salem Hadher Al Muhairi, that disguses himself as being the Director of the Emirates Palace Company. In an email he notes that Valkhoff has been paid, and wishes no further contact with Valkhoff…so it says in his email. This Salem Hadher Al Muhairi was to cover up another individual. He is also a fake identity, according to the Kempinski Group. They say, they have never heard of this man, and does not even work for or in the Emirates Palace
Money is not going to make me happy. The money is not going to bring back all the years that I have been fighting for my rights. All of criminal activities is not organised by the President, because he too is deceived by his own people. If he knew about the stolen art collection, it would be the greatest shame to His family name, the worst thing in the Arabian world.
Then she stares from her bunker into the her garden, You know what, the whole affair reminds me of the matter between Michelangelo and the pope. The artist was also not properly compensated for his work for the Sixtien Chapel, maybe the pope also was deceived. History repeats itself, but this time in a sandpit with oil.