Our names are Li Ying Hu and Maura Meijer and we are students in 4VWO at the Berlage Lyceum in the South of Amsterdam. This week, we have an internship at the Street Art Museum in Amsterdam, in the neighbourhood of Nieuw-West. Our first thing to do here was to take a tour through the collection of the museum and get to know the neighbourhood.
The collection consists of more than 150 artworks, but we did not see all of them. They were not all in the same place, so we had to go through the neighbourhood in order to see them. This way, we did not only see street art, but also a lot of places we have never seen before, considering neither of us had really been in Nieuw-West before.
The first work we saw was ‘Last Kiss’ by Nafir, just around the corner of the museum office. It portrays a couple kissing, but a rope is tied around the neck of the man - he will be hung soon. Although it is just a kiss, people in the neighbourhood saw it as a sexual image and wanted it to be removed, which did not happen. Personally, we think it is a beautiful piece of art and you can really feel the emotions the artist put into this work.
Another work that we really liked was ‘Fatherhood’, a large piece by Stinkfish. It shows a seemingly poor man carrying his son on his back.
As the neighbourhood it is in is on the poorer side, this is very meaningful. It pays tribute to all the children that have to grow up without their dad. We have seen multiple works by Stinkfish during our tour. His style is easily recognizable because of the yellow skins of the people and is also very impressive with his use of spray paint directly on the wall combined with his use of stencils.
A very different work we saw was ‘Scared plots on the door’ by OakOak.
This is a very simple but original artwork on a door and some sort of electricity box next to it. It is a funny and playful-looking piece, since it makes inanimate objects like doors seem like people with arms, eyes, arms and most importantly, emotions We have seen multiple of OakOak’s artworks on our tour and they were all more about the originality and the idea of the art more than the complexity of the painting and the preservation of it.
One of the most impressive works we have seen was ‘Glory’, created by artists Pez and Recall.
In the middle you see the famous Milkmaid, who pours a tiny little bit of milk, which represents the welfare of this neighborhood. Another playful change the artists made in the Milkmaid, is that her bare leg is showing. The milkmaid is surrounded by many blue Guacamaya - the only parrot that lives in - Colombia in the style of the artist Pez. His signature is a little fish, we can also find that in the eye of one of the birds.
In the artwork Courage you can see Amelia Mary Earhart. She was the first woman to fly over the Atlantic ocean. This work is made by Btoy using very detailed stencil art. Btoy is one of the few female street artists which makes her very special. She has a few works here in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Most of them are legal, but this artwork was made on someone else's private property which makes it illegal. Later, this work was legalised.
One of the small works we have seen, is called ‘Walking alone’ made by Iranian artists Icy and Sot. It was made using the stencil technique and black and white spray paint. In Iran, street art is different from here. When you make illegal street art in Iran, you get punished by a week of jail. In the Netherlands, that might be a fine or one day of jail.
We really enjoyed the tour and learned a lot about SAMA's street art collection as well as Amsterdam Nieuw-West.