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In Memoriam Pepa

Pepa van Eden - Santolaria Garcia (Melilla, Spain 17-03-1945 - Amsterdam, Netherlands 09-01-2015)

 Having lived an adventurous life of 70 years Pepa has passed away after a short illness. Just before Christmas, totally unexpectedly, she was diagnosed as having an aggressive brain tumor, for which only palitative treatment was possible. Considering that Pepa was so active in her gallery, the B&B, the promotion of new initiatives and the Fundacion in Sabayes, the medical prognosis came as a shock.
She kept a very clear mind until her last breath, as the disease did not affect the cognitive portion of her brains. Pepa and I knew each other for 50 years and we lived in perfect symbiosis. She searched continuously for ways to bring her life and that of others to a higher level and was convinced that art was the means.
Her heart was in the African continent and she had strong emotional ties with Latin America and the Middle East where we lived and worked for many years. With her radical sense of justice she continually challenged the consensus that local communities rigorously upheld.
Pepa never wanted children, but many have found a mother in her. Her vitality and allways lively inspiration were a basis for longlasting relationships.
Although the final farewell took place in silence, I definitely wish to commemorate her with you. Though Pepa was the one who kept in contact with everybody I would appreciate the opportunity to continue our friendship.
I would be grateful to receive any reactions via e-mail but not by phone. I have published some responses to the news of Pepa’s death on this web-page

We were together in everything
 Jan van Eden



With great sadness I just learned from Adriana about the very sad news. Our very sincere condolences to you and all the family. We still remember with fondness the very fun time we had when we visited and you guys were very kind hosting is for am awesome dinner and great conversation.. Even though we meet Pepa for such a short time, her kind soul touched is on a special way. Your beautiful write up about her truly reflects what both Adriana and I saw in her since we met her and today we are remembering her in a very special way and hope her positive energy will always stay with us radiating from that very special place reserved for very unique people like Pepa..



Yesterday we heard the very sad news. At this moment we are still in shock. Your description of Pepa in the memorial text needs little additional words. Pepa was one of the warmest and inspiring persons we knew. Although we didn't meet her so long ago (was it 2 years?), she has left a big impression in our lives. Of course, at the moment we feel immense sadness: how could something so terrible happen to such a beautiful person? But we also like to think of Pepa as a very blessed person. As we knew her, she was somebody who had the courage to live and enjoy her life according to her own principles, which is something most people don’t get to do. She left us to soon, that’s for sure, she still had so much to offer life. But we hope that, slowly, the feelings of sorrow we feel now, will transform into inspiration and artistic creativity, which is what she would have liked.
For now Jan, we wish you all the strength in the world, coping with this immense loss. In the nearby future, or whenever you feel ready, we will be very happy to meet up with you and share our memories about her. We will always carry her in our hearts. 
Vanessa and Pavle


shock, disbelieve and then sadness at the news of pepa's death. We all have to go at one time or another, and not necessarily in the order in which we were born.  But pepa was so vibrant, full of life, and always with so many things still to do that... well, it was too early.
Scenes of our life in Africa, in our gardens, houses, the clubs in Kalulushi, pepa at tennis, your "double" wedding, have been flashing back for me for the past couple of hours. Pepa was one of my favourite persons and I consider myself fortunate of having counted her among my friends. I hope she did not suffer much in her last few days.
It will not be easy for you to pick up your life: you were indeed so much part of each other in many ways.


I’m so very sorry to hear about Pepa, it’s a great shock. Please accept my
condolences at what must be a very difficult time for you. I’ve never
forgotten the support and encouragement she gave us when we moved to
Amsterdam, I was very touched and inspired by her and yours generosity. It
made living at Singel 100 so enjoyable. As you say in your message she
lead a full and eventful life and touched so many people’s lives, I feel
so sad at her loss.

Louis and Becky


Bernd and me are sending you all our love, energy and our deepest heartfelt sympathies.  We sincerely want to let you know that we are with you and that we are „there“ for you.

This had been a hard way to go ……….only 2 weeks, a strong decision from strong personalities. Good to know that the journey of pain had been limited.

You have written a wonderful memorial that can not be better outperformed as it expresses the uniqueness of Pepa but as well of you both and your relationship.

Enclosed I have added an interview I have made with Pepa in 2009. I like it very much as it had been very personal and is expressing her relationship to art and underpins what you have written in the memorial.

Reading this after 5 years I was very impressed about her wisdom.

So finally we recognize a big loss. On the other hand we feel a huge enrichment of our hearts and brains. What a gain, what a richness to wear her attitude, thoughts, ideas in our hearts.

A big hug and we hope to see you again as soon as it feels the right moment for you.

Meike & Bernd


We were shocked and saddened to hear of Pepa’s death.  The sheer suddenness of it is breathtaking.Our memories of Pepa are all wonderful.  We found you both through Sergio and Carmen, and we loved to come up to Amsterdam when you had a new exhibition to spend the day shopping and sightseeing before coming to the Gallery to see yourself and Pepa, and your latest selection of works.  We have a Liesbeth Rahder painting in Aberdeen, and one by Marta Jedrysko here in London, which is part of our daily life.We are particularly glad that we managed to catch you both at the gallery in November.  We were so impressed by Pepa’s energy in supporting the Spanish community, and your plans for the Bed and Breakfast and the new Gallery in Spain.  We had a lovely afternoon with you both, and we had planned to stay in your B&B this year.

Douglas and Joyce


We were shocked to hear from you, Jan, that Pepa was in hospital, and then so sorry to get the news of her passing. She was a sparkly, compassionate lady and we can only guess how much you will miss her. We will too - and her diligent informative e-alerts of upcoming events in the gallery, and of course her handmade Christmas cards which we have been archiving over the years as our record of your art.I am happy to think we, the Hammond family, could be counted within her huge circle of friends. For those who don’t know us, I had the privilege of working with Jan for a couple of years in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980’s during his life as a geologist, and had the pleasure of getting to know him and Pepa during that time. Jan’s genius as an artist, and Pepa’s talent in caring for him and for visitors like myself, made them a very special couple. I will always remember Pepa’s houses in Jeddah and Amsterdam as welcoming places. Sabayes we have yet to visit, but hope we may still do so.

Geoff and Nasrine


I only ever met Pepa once as you know, but her warm sincere approach, her absolute commitment to her artists and her generosity with me meant that out of the many many gallery owners I interviewed she was most memorable. I have a very clear image of her taking me around her gallery and talking at length about your work. I can quite understand how this loss will impact on you and the other artists that she worked with. As you say Amsterdam will miss her, it will not be the same. She will have supported the development of a whole range of artists and they will not forget her, she will live on in a unique way.

Chris Avis


We are ever so sad and shocked to hear about Pepa. [...] Your observation that many found a mother in her was so true with us.  Not only was she so wonderful, warm and loving with Rosa, who felt very close to Pepa, but made us feel like she was our second mother too.  In fact, over Christmas we were scheming how we could send Rosa off to stay with you both over the summer for a week in Spain so she could practice her Spanish.  
Although we only met you guys a few years ago in Sabayes, and subsequently saw you just twice in Amsterdam, each time it felt like we'd known you and Pepa for years and could pick up from where we left off.  Her energy, joy of life, passion for art and intellectual rigour, and of course her fantastic cooking will remain with us forever.  Our lives were greatly enriched by knowing her yet will be much diminished by her absence.

Rafi, Sarah and Rosa


Many thanks for the news of Pepa, as horrid as it must have been for you to compose the Memorial, we were grateful to know.We are thinking of you at this very sad time. We treasure those very happy memories of you both in Jeddah, and have enjoyed her news letters  over the years of your  progress and success.We remember her vitality, sincerity, goodness and passion, and most of all, her belief in what you were both doing.She was a wonderful human being, and we were lucky to have had the pleasure of knowing her.She was so looking forward to your venture in Spain...
I  hope you can find peace out of your terrible loss and continue with your work.

Lyn y Colin Ramsay


This is such deeply sorrowful news --.  I can only add my condolences to you and join in the chorus of testimonies about Pepa's amazing personality, warmth, intellect and graciousness.   
Thank you for sharing the memorium with us.
You are in my thoughts and heart.

Katt and Lewis


I am so very, very sorry to her about Her sad and sudden passing. It was my  great privilege to have met Pepa and to get to know her. Although I lived far away in America, Pepa always made me feel so very welcome and comfortable in your home. She was always interested in what one had to say.
Her enthusiasm for life, her projects and the life of Her partner was enormously touching and endearing.
Jan, I have wonderful memories of Pepa and I think of you in this very hard time for you. My thoughts are with you.

Erwin Mahne



Tereza and me are absolutely in shock and profound denial to even find the proper words to say.  
We always loved dearly Pepa as a sister and you Jan as a committed brother more than just friends, and it'll take a very long time to believe that you both are no longer together, but the memory of Pepa would never leave our thoughts.  We wish we were able to be right now hugging you, but as soon as circumstances permit we will, and you can count on us to be your sincere and close friends for as long as our borrowed time on the face of this planet could last. I already informed our "kids" - Ana, Pedro and João - who received the news with a mix of sorrow and incredibility, and did not fail to remember Pepa's motherly love every time they stayed with you, namely in Amsterdam, and your patience was tested almost to the limits with their kids' behaviour. I will call on you as soon as my nerves manage to absorb the reality of our felt pain. Um abraço muito forte with all our love,


Tereza & Eduardo


I have just learned about your devastating loss.My heart is with you. I only have such wonderful happy heart warming memories  of the two of you to wrap around me.
With love and many thoughts

Jenny   Julian Chris Brendon Topaz and Jade



 Reunion de familiares-memoriam Pepa



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