Annelies M. Dykgraaf was born in Nigeria, West Africa and spent her first eighteen years in rural areas where her parents lived and worked as missionaries and teachers for 42 years. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a minor in French, from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Annelies studied during her Junior year on scholarship with the Cleveland Institute of Art in Lacoste, France. She is a founding member of the Art Center Cooperative Inc., a Not-for-profit Co-op of artists with a gallery downtown on Adams St. She was the President of TAC from Feb. 2009-2010. She is also a founding member for JCAAA (Jacksonville Consortium of African American Artists). Annelies is a board member of the Beaches Fine Art Series and functions in the role of Visual Arts Coordinator. In June 2008, Annelies was awarded an Art Ventures grant from the Community Foundation in Jacksonville.
Annelies is accomplished in acrylics and oils, but her medium of choice is woodblock print. Her work largely portrays people and recounts images/stories of her life in Nigeria. The hands-on creation of pottery and calabash pots, and the African use of simple geometric patterns and shapes is reflected in her choice of woodblock as an art form/medium and in the patterns used in her woodblocks. Annelies carves into a block of wood using various cutting and marking tools or sometimes a burner, inks the block using either oil or water based print ink, lays a piece of paper on top, and rubs the paper with a spoon and/or roller until all ink is absorbed into the paper, pulls the paper off the wood, and a relief print appears on the paper (usually the negative of the image on the wood).
Often incorporated into her reliefs are drawing motifs from the tradition of wood carvings, textile patterns, uli motifs and symbols from various West African tribal folk tales/myths. She has adopted the symbol of the lizard into her own work, which represents good luck in the forms of a protective spirit, protector to unborn children, fertility symbol, household tranquility, being plentiful, and wisdom (Ibo, Dogon, Barnum, Babanki, Avadi and Egyptian cultures).