I was born and raised in Paris, and I’ve been living there until I moved to Amsterdam in September 2018 to do my Erasmus at the University of Amsterdam, as a Humanities bachelor specialised in History of Art. I am from the 18th district of Paris, up north, between Montmartre and the African neighbourhoodBarbès. It is for me the best district of Paris, as it is very diverse and familial. Everyone knows everyone, and I grew up with all kinds of people in a very free way (which is a luxury in Paris !). It is a very beautiful neighbourhood, very exciting, where it is impossible to get bored, as so many things are going on, from music to street paintings or just new streets to explore in the old Montmartre. It is definitely a place where you feel instantly at home.
I have been practicing trapeze for ten years, and having a moment for my own body to express itself is very important for me, whether it is through dancing in the air, on the ground, or even in the club. I have also always loved going to museums and exhibitions, as well as watching films. I very much enjoy walking around the city, tasting local food, and discovering it as a museum in itself. While discovering Amsterdam, I was fascinated by the diversity of the city and the multiple nationalities of its inhabitants, especially in Nieuw-West. That is probably why I feel at home in this neighbourhood, as it reminds me of my home neighbourhood and my own origins (I am from a half-Algerian half-French family).
Since I was a little girl, my parents always brought me to museums, made me watch films, and told me stories about history of art and the history of Paris. Therefore, this gave birth to a real passion for history of art in me. I do not have an extended background knowledge in street art, as it lacks in the learning process of history of art at school, but I’ve always loved and respected the vision of street art artists, able to present a living, challenging and vibrant art that speaks to everyone in a different way while often transmitting strong and universal messages, supported by the act itself of painting the city. For me, one of the most interesting aspect of Street Art is the possibility for everyone to take over the common space, which becomes a living museum itself that is always renewed and challenged. It is not owned by anyone and cannot be judged : everyone can do it, and everything can be changed, renewed, added, or even erased. It is, for me, a social way of communicating, non-exclusive and always challenging.
My favorite artist in the SAMA collection is OakOak, as I share in his playful vision of the city. He turns everything into humour, and instead of just walking in the city without paying attention to your surroundings, you engage in a game that completely changes your experience of the city. For me, his art represents the essence of Street Art, as it pushes you out of your habits and forces you into awareness, making you realise that everything can be turned into art, and that yourself are walking in an artwork in a playful and participative way.
I want to participate in the cultural life of Amsterdam, and be active in a useful way, which led me to apply to volunteering at the SAMA. I really much enjoy studying art but I want to implicate myself in a more direct way. I also want to volunteer in my neighbourhood and help the others, as SAMA aims to build a stronger community in the Nieuw-West. I could also fulfil this will by guiding people through the collection, and therefore participating in sharing with people my passion for art. My task at SAMA is to guide people through the collection, as well as participating in writing the catalogue of the collection.
The most important aspect of SAMA, for me, is the way it guides people not only through the world of Street Art and its amazing collection, but also through the neighbourhood itself. By participating on building a strong community through workshops and events, SAMA is actively showing how free, alive and communicative the universe of Art is.
My favorite artwork of the SAMA collection is Glory by Pez and Recal. Firstly because of its beautiful colours and the brightness it sheds on the area, contrasting with the greyness of the building it is painted on. Secondly, because it shows that even a very traditional and established artwork, Vermeer’s Milkmaid, is a never-ending source of inspiration. Even though it has been seen many times, up to the point of getting bored of it, it is art itself, as Street Art, that allows us to take a fresh look a it. It shows that art is a cycle of inspiration and renewal, as a motif, and therefore a tradition, can always be challenged to give a new motif and a new interpretation of it, more present and political (the apparence of the Milkmaid’s leg is for instance).
During my time at SAMA, I would like to learn how a museum actually functions from the inside, and most of all how to transmit informations on artworks to the public in a relevant and playful way, as Street Art cannot be conveyed like any other traditional forms of art.
As a history of art student, working at the SAMA is in keeping with the whole point of my studies : exploring and transmitting knowledge on art. Being at SAMA is allowing me to put into use all the concepts and the language that I learnt, thus giving me an active field experience and allowing me to meet artists and curators, which is for me as important as studying at university. SAMA can benefit from my writing and analytical skills in history of art, as I have been studying it and writing on it at university for a while.
During my time at SAMA, I hope to archive the writing of a relevant and instructive catalogue, as well as expanding visitors’ interest and knowledge on Street Art; therefore archiving a role of transmission. I also hope to gain insight into the functioning of a museum on every aspects, from managing to curating.
The most impressive experience I have had at SAMA so far was my interview here, and the fact that I have been directly involved in a discussion on Street Art and its problematics and challenges, which gave me the opportunity to immediately understand the aim of the museum and familiarise myself with the whole world of Street Art.