For Zelfportretten van het Oude Westen (Self-portraits of the Oude Westen neighborhood), visual artist Hans Bossmann and I toured through the neighborhood the Oude Westen in Rotterdam for a month in June 2018. Each day, we visited another place, a place where inhabitants and workers come together for different reasons. Some examples of these places were Leeszaal West, Tuin De Bajonet, Aktiegroep and Huiswerkklas, the sowing atelier of Krachtvrouwen… At each place, Hans drew with participants on furniture and objects. Little dots, circles, squares. Always something simple so everyone can join. While drawing, conversations come to the surface, which I would write down into literary portraits of the neighborhood.
At the end of the tour, we brought all the objects together in a living exposition, in which the stories were read out loud in a performance. We organized one exposition in the neighborhood itself, at Speelcentrum Weena, and one in the city at WORM S/ash Gallery. At this last one, we also presented the publication by REALmag. After that, the objects went back to the places they belonged to, as a lasting memory of the project. The stories can be read (in Dutch) on www.zelfportrettenvanhetoudewesten.nl.
In October 2018 we organized a pop up exposition of Self-portraits of the Oude Westen neighborhood as a part of the Week of Echt Rotterdams Erfgoed in Museum Rotterdam.
Zelfportretten van het Oude Westen is a project on the initiative of Hans Bossmann, Brecht Hermans and Joke van der Zwaard. We work from Stichting Squares Dots and Lines and are supported by Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, Erasmusstichting and Stichting WORM.
We thank Aktiegroep Het Oude Westen, Buurtcentrum De Nieuwe Gaffel, Galerie Atelier Herenplaats, Het Finse Huis, Huiswerkklas, Leeszaal West, Naai-atelier Krachtvrouwen, Pameijer Klus & Werk, Ruilpunt, Speelcentrum Weena, Thaiboksschool, Thuis op Straat, Tuin De Bajonet, ZigZagCity Festival, Zorgcentrum De Leeuwenhoek, Oude Westen TV & Buurtkrant Oude Westen
Pictures: Charlotte Brand
Video: A Small Production Company