Int. artists discover new tourist attraction Zaanse Schande
September 22th 2011 - What a coincidence! Thursday Sept. 22nd, the day the Zaanstad city council decides about a development plan which allows the detention boats to stay there a few extra years, a group of international artists discovered the Zaanse Schande ('Zaanstad Disgrace'). A place which inspired them to paint in the afternoon and to have an improvised exposition in the night...
Around 15.30 a group of international rebel artists arrived at the Zaandam Detention Centre. De Zaanse Schande is a very special place! Maybe you know the Zaanse Schans, but to be honest windmills are boring after a while: they all look the same! But here you have a new tourist attraction which is really interesting and inspiring in a very weird way...
The artists found pretty fast a beautiful spot at the parking place. From there they had a good overview: the boats, the fences, the guards, etc. When they started to make their pieces of art they even got response from the people detained in the boats. One showed a piece of paper behind his window with bars, others greeted with noise. Guess that was the best part of the inspiration the artists needed. Unfortunately the artists couldn't do much more than waving back.
Around 16.00 a van from the department of justice came along in the area behind the fences. The driver showed interest by talking with the artists. Before him there were already other figures (guards) who came along; they didn't say much. One of them (guess it was one of the boat bosses) walked a bit further and started to call. Couldn't hear what he said. Let me guess: "Ohhh, police we now have some artists here who are painting detention boats... Could you please come as soon as possible!".
16.15 a van with 2 male and 1 female police arrived. The big question was: "What are you doing?". The reply was quite obvious: "Painting and making beautifoool art!". Seintje, one of our dearest rebel artists, answered the police in French.
It took some time, but after a while they understood. They even liked what the artists made: "I wear an uniform, but i'm a human and also like art". Also the police woman gave compliments.
Last but not least the artists had to give their ID's and some of them even their addresses - but it was clear the police didn't want to arrest the artists for making art: "Could you please stop after a while because the people in the boats are getting a bit restless because you are here. We hope we don't have to come back".
16.45 the painters left after waving goodbye. They got some last noise back. It was time to leave for a short break elsewhere.
Around 19.00 the rebel artists arrived at the Zaanstad city hall. At the entrance security asked what the plan was. "We are invited and we want to show our art inspired by the Zaanse Schande!".
If we should behave normally we could go upstairs to the coffee space close to the hall where the Zaanstad city council meets.
There the waiting started. One by one the members of the city council entered. Many of them were interested in the improvised exposition. The artists tried to convince the members of the city council "what an extraordinary location the Zaanse Schande is - and what a great opportunities it should have as a tourist attraction! And look at these boats; couldn't people have a tourist tour inside?!".
Also spontaneous talks about the development plan and the people detained for having no papers followed. Several members of the city council took a painting with them into the hall: Jan de Vries (D66), Patrick Zoomermeijer (SP), Natasja Groothuismink (ROSA) and a few others.
The strange thing was people from parties like VVD (right wing liberals) didn't have time to talk with the artists: it was a pitty, they missed the chance to receive free art.
19.30 the meeting of the city council started. The artists left: the outcome of the meeting should be too predictable (the detention boats will stay till 2013) - but the best compliment for the rebellious character of the art made by the artists followed at the beginning of the meeting of the city council: all 6 members who had a painting got the urgent request to first remove the paintings from the hall...
We understand clownpletely: art screaming for freedom could be very dangerous!!!
Photographer: Karen Eliot