“Connecting people is one of the underlying values of our organisation. If we only create ART and do not connect it to PEOPLE, what is the point? Then it's just like advertising.” Anna Stolyarova, Curator SAMA
Connecting people is an integral part of what SAMA are trying to achieve in everything we do. Nieuw-West and West of Amsterdam only now begin to connect to each other, just like women only now begin to visit this café predominantly occupied by males.
“I have my camera always at hand and all the time I take pictures of unaware people. I also found pictures abandoned on the floor and others I have bought in street markets. The interesting thing for me is to give new life to these portraits, make a new larger scale picture on a wall, make them travel."
interview with Vandalog
The original choice was a girl from Spain who was supposed to be our first ‘high-end-non-graffiti’ artist. However, owing to pregnancy and the fact that she has never painted a wall or did any research prior to arrival – we were in a bad shape. A day the girl left Amsterdam, Skount contacted us and asked if he could visit the wall. Upon his arrival, we have officially invited him to finish the mural. “I will keep the tree and the background”. “I will call it the Tree of Life”. “DESTINY” -Dianne and I did a classic spontaneous high-five. “OK. If it’s Destiny, than we’ll add 3 characters – Moras.” The first 2 represent the people who say “I don’t need to do anything, it’s all decided”. The 3rd character – those who go their own way, even if it leads them to Monkeys or off the wall, or he has to start again and again. After a bottle of wine, Skounts said: “let’s add the 4th character, he’ll play music for them. There is always music.” Next day the artist was some 3 hours later and Dianne and I almost gave up: Destiny L - nobody wants to paint this wall. However, when Skount has turned up it was clear that something terrible happened: 6 people were supposed to be on the train – 3 missed it and 3 made it. Out of those who made it, 2 died and 1 is in the critical condition. The train crashed in 2013 in Galicia, Spain. The guy, who survived, was a teacher of our artist from 10 years ago and tought our Skount how to paint with spray. Skount could not go neither to funeral of his friend’s fiancé nor to the hospital. He translated all of his feelings and emotions to the wall. Have a look at the pain on the face of his friend, whilst the other 2 personages in the composition have a natural expression. Check out every detail, every stroke of the brush – you feel the love and the pain.
When Skount told us that Spok is in town, we just knew that this was a present from an angel. Spok was on the list of favourites for a very long time now. I was abroad at the time so I asked Dianne to supervise the production. “I see abstract”, said I to Dianne when she sent me the final image of the wall. “The artist asked to tell you that in Today’s world – Altruism is an Abstract. What you do with SAMA is pure altruism and is so rare in a classic ‘street art festival culture’.”
Safety in a difficult part of town is not counted by number of policemen on the streets but by the behavior of the residents. Dangers are all around you, one can drown in a spoon of soup; however it is how one deals with those dangers that becomes relevant in the real life. By protecting someone weaker that yourself, you become a symbol of heroism. And that’s how pay it forward works. Safety is viral.
Thyrisa is 1 year old now. She is showing her personality and her character traits. She is born a Twin by horoscope and duality is present in her spirit. However, duality is not always negative : there is no black and white, there is blue and yellow. The stencil used for each painting is the same, but the colours and the composition around it are different.
FUTURE OF THE BARRIO
“These are all the walls that you have have already painted. A reflection on Tolerance mural.” Each dot, each line, each geometric shape is a resident of the area. Together, like notes in a symphony, they create a harmony in the composition of our area, our lives, our conducts.
“It’s you. And deconstructed. This is your bike, which you used to go up-down the street to bring us things. Confetti is you spitting and waving your hands all the time. The unfinished stories and your annoying tweeting phone. The complexity of you and your ability to come outside of the box.” I was smitten. Then the Turkish boy asked and the answer was: Turkish flag. Then the old Dutch lady: Deconstruction of the song he was listening. Kenor is liquid. His answers, his artwork fits everyone.
Original sketch from the artist “one of Vermeer maids growing magic mushrooms” got rejected and provoked certain antagonism in the artist. He sent us his 2nd idea “You want a boring Van Gogh, you can have it”. However, after already 2 days painting outside, and receiving more and more fans and admirers on an hourly basis, Uriginal asked to add Cruijff to the composition. “Everyone in the ‘hood is wearing Ajax gear. And in Barcelona, Cruijff is more known than Van Gogh”.
Two most known faces of Amsterdam are looking at the ubiquitous representation of a resident from the lesser marketed area of Amsterdam. The portrait could be of a girl or a boy, black, Asian, mediterranean, white, old or young. This is not someone recognizable or famous, but none-the-less very warm and attractive. The sunny face is opposing the coldness of Van Gogh’s eyes and Cruijff’s shark-teeth as symbolism of sincerity over commercialization.
We are proud to put a spotlight on amazing local activities and residents organizing it through our wall painting sessions. Visibility through art was our motto 4 years ago when we started and remains the same.
Editor — Anna Stolyarova, Curator Street Art Museum Amsterdam
Video — Danny le Bruin, Art Student
Photography — Justin Felter
Photography — Stephanie van Loonen, Art Student
Creative Direction Assistance — Mario Genovesi
Photography — Anna Stolyarova, Curator