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"Life is a Dream" by Pez & Chicadania

Local active residents Wahib O. met SAMA in the summer of 2021, when an awarded Privacy Project was being fulfilled by local artist NOL. At the official inauguration of the first mural he expressed a lot of enthusiasm for bringing a festival or a series of activities to the Banne district. Later that year, “In October 2021, 2 neighbourhood walks were made together with residents. They pointed out the places that could be nicer and nicer. In the Huis van de Wijk they continued to talk to each other and shared ideas with each other. In November 2021, the municipality and the housing associations looked at whether these ideas are feasible. After that, residents came together to choose between the feasible ideas. These ideas were chosen: Murals of ships on the side of the flat - representing Klipper and Tjalk ships” states the municipality website.

Thus, by March 2022, SAMA was commissioned to produce 2 monumental murals within the scope and in the context of MOOIMAKERS program in Amsterdam North, Banne district.

"My idea, from the very beginning, was to treat these walls as extension of SAMA's collection. These 2 new acquisitions should be of matching quality to the rest of works by SAMA, yet ideally, have a direct connection to the wishes of the residents. And the wish was photorealistic image of the respective ship per wall."

reflects, Anna Stolyarova (founder of SAMA).


For SAMA, this was an opportunity to work with PEZ again (last collaboration being Happiness in 2015), especially in the context of Street Art & Democracy Exhibition, whereby his ICONIC FISH is protagonist of the story. At the same time, we saw a chance in working with Chica Dania, who specialises in photorealistic painting. The duo proposed 2 ideas for the wall on the Tjalkstraat, and SAMA crew together with project Vooruit and Wahib got onto door to door action and information tables, as well as flyers and word of mouth announcements during #MooiMakers workshops in the area.

The way I saw it, the collaboration with Pez and ChicaDania would enrich our collection, because, firstly, there are not many walls with their work together on a monumental scale. Secondly, Chica Dania is brilliant at depicting the kids faces, and in both of the ideas proposed, the local kid would be involved, making the whole story richer and connecting the ship to the residents. Thirdly, this wall would be a mix of 2 styles - characters and photorealism, 1 graffiti (spontaneous) and 1 classic (prepaired); considering we already had pure characters work from NOL.

continues, Anna Stolyarova.


In order to find the kids for the mural, Chica Dania and SAMA Crew went back to ringing the door bells and inviting local people to participate in the project.

The first protagonist was local boy Marco, who participated in the most of the #MooiMakers workshops and showed a lot of enthusiasm for the activities. Marco's mother later told us his story and how they were separated by COVID-19 pandemic, with Marco being left behind in Venezuela and his mom getting stuck in Amsterdam. It was Marco's 5th months in the Netherlands, attending Mondus College integration studies and learning Dutch language so that he could mix with local kids on the playground. Marco was very eager to get rooted in Amsterdam and spend with us almost every day after school.

The second child on portrayed in the artwork is also a new-comer to Amsterdam, a Ukrainian girl Veronika, whose story is very different from Marco's. Her mom told Chica Dania that Veronika, although likes Amsterdam, really wants to go back home to her father and grandparents in native Kiev, Ukraine. The family has fled the, at the time bombed capital of Ukraine, and are now awaiting finale documents about migration, just so that they could go home before 1 September, the start of the new school year.


Both stories, got translated into a skilful artwork, whereby each child is given own space on the dreamy canvas: a boy is holding onto a fish from which he is swinging (rooted) and a girl is looking longingly into the distance, somewhere out there (distanced). There are 2 Tjalk boats on the canvas, referencing the movement to/from Amsterdam, as a liberal city, where everyone can find his or her place, whether it is permanently or temporarily. The composition is completed with numerous fishes interacting with each other, just like we do in our playground in the neighbourhood where we live. They are Happy Style characters contrasting and complimenting each other.


There are many techniques for painting a monumental mural, without using projector. One of the most common ones is the Grid. The grid can be made of characters, letters or enigmatic markers. The artists left the top part of the grid visible, because it is representing the constellation of stars in the sky. The white circle in a middle could serve as a sun or a moon, depending on the viewer.

What I find most interesting about this artwork, and why it is an artwork, rather than photorealistic painting of the ship - is the protagonist. For Pez it is the Fishes; for Chica Dania - children; for housing corporation and municipality - Tjalk ship; for me - The Tree in front of the wall. And I am sure that each viewer can find his/her own protagonist; with the art-piece allowing room for one's imagination.

comments, Anna Stolyarova.


During the production the artists were interviewed by Vroom& Varossieau: https://vroomandvarossieau.com/blogs/interviews/pez-chicadania-interview


Post production, the internal article for Rochdale housing corporation was so popular that it got published for the wider audiences: https://www.onsverhaal.nl/ons_verhaal_klipperbuurt/straatkunstbrengtveelpositiefs






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