My new project is called Coexist New Netherland.
I examine the remnants of Dutch identity in New York and translate this into new work. This research I’ve started in 2016 after visiting New York City for the first time. I’m back in the city often to visit potential places to make casts. By molding the Dutch 'leftovers' I will give a new perspective the history of New York and the Netherlands. My work brings the viewer to a new place with the consideration of the past.
The most proud I am of the fact that many people wanted to be part of this new work and I could cast them! I met beautiful people the last couple of months that wanted to share very emotional stories about their families history in slavery. It gave me strength to continue this project. In the beginning I was very insecure about the fact that I was creating a work as a white privileged woman. What do I know about slavery?
But after meeting more people and sharing stories, people said to me; 'If you don't do it, who is?' And it is true! It made me sick that we (Dutch people) look very nationalistic at NYC. We must recognize our history, including the dark pages!
Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as "Go back and get it" and also refers to the Asante Adinka symbol represented either with a stylized heart shape or by a bird with its head turned backwards carrying a precious egg in its mouth. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."
The sankofa bird appears frequently in traditional Akan art, and has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future.