June has been a big month for Street Art Museum Amsterdam! Just yesterday we submitted an application to Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for a subsidy to create a collections catalogue, we’ve secured a location for a new work by feminist activist and painter from Saudi Arabia, Noura Bint Saidan, and shared our collection and social mission of using street art as a tool to dialogue and social change with students from the University of Washington for the fourth year in a row. We also participated in We Make the City Festival with Amsterdam Impact Hub, and even took a break to dance in the rain at Mystic Garden festival on June 15th, where we brought an installation made in collaboration with Delft artist, KOEMA.
SAMA is always eager to expand its network into new areas of the cultural sector, and so naturally, we’re excited to participate in Amsterdam events like Mystic Garden Festival to reach new audiences and increase our social impact. KOEMA created three “dream catchers” for us, from repurposed waste materials and layers of dried paint stripped from walls scheduled for demolition, which we placed throughout the festival grounds at Sloterplas lake for the festival’s “Mystic Treasure Hunt.” Anybody who found all three dream catchers and tagged themselves on the Mystic Garden Instagram or Facebook pages was entered to win either two tickets to Mystic Garden’s Melodies Special in August, or two tickets for a free Street Art Museum Amsterdam tour. SAMA doesn’t just help connect you to subculture art – we also help you party.
KOEMA seeks to push back against the mass consumerist and destructively disposable nature of capitalism by upcycling the forgotten by-products and waste materials it produces. He began his current practice before the Prinses Irenetunnel in Delft was destroyed in 2015. As the oldest and largest graffiti wall in the Netherlands, KOEMA couldn’t let this critical piece of Dutch countercultural history be destroyed and forgotten, and so he decided to strip and salvage it, and turn it into jewelry and installation art, meanwhile doing his small part to disrupt the cycle of production, consumption, and disposal (to find out more about his process, click here). Besides stripped paint, KOEMA utilizes recycled or repurposed materials whenever possible, further reducing his consumptive footprint and extending the lifespan of already existing objects.
As a museum with a conscience, it is important for SAMA to both help increase visibility of the artists we work with, as well as increasing our own reach in Amsterdam in order to expand our current social, cultural and artistic initiatives. Given that true graffiti and street art are fundamentally anti-commercial (and that SAMA works from the same grassroots ethics inspiring graffiti) our non-profit museum has a smaller publicity reach, meaning that – just like in the graffiti world – we must rely on our networks of artists and other cultural innovators to reach beyond Amsterdam Nieuw-West. The more we have partners like KOEMA and Mystic Garden Festival helping us out, the more we can expand our initiatives to create art in the streets and engage with community-generated social projects in Amsterdam. And, the more we do that, the more we can do our part to increase exposure of the artists in our collection and other initiatives we work with. We believe that if we’re active in supporting and working collaboratively with other areas of the cultural sector, we can all leave a bigger mark, inspire farther-reaching social dialogue, and positive impact.
Graffiti wouldn’t exist without collaboration, and neither would we. Thanks to Mystic Garden Festival and KOEMA for bringing us to the party!