Watch here a short documentary about this work:
In May 2019 I was approached by the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. I was nominated together with Fabienne to make an artwork for the rehabilitation center Basalt. I graduated from this art academy in 2018 and they knew that in my work I like to build bridges between art and society. They asked us to come up with an idea for an artwork for the rehabilitation center. So much fun! We were asked to present our own project so the Basalt employees could vote which one was their favourite. We presented our project in the cafeteria and everyone came by to vote. I won! Over 50 votes allowed me to carry out my plan. My idea was to work with mosaics, this symbolizes the process of rehabilitation for me: "You break something and you want this to be healed again, but this might be different than how it was before". But what can I make of mosaic?
During the tour in the rehabilitation center, I noticed that all waiting areas had parts of nature as their subject. But I wondered: where are all the animals? I wanted to make an animal out of mosaic! But which animal? Which animal shows strength? Which animal do people try to find in themselves during the process of rehabilitation? It had to be a powerful animal but also a calm animal. Because patience during your rehabilitation is super important. It turned out to be an elephant! This is how I got the idea to make an elephant out of mosaic. But where should the elephant be installed? Outside! The rehabilitation center has a large garden behind the building, the animal was allowed to stand there. That was a perfect place for the work. If you take a nice walk in the garden you can admire the elephant. He stands just around the corner which comes as a surprise.
From that moment on I was getting inspired by everything around me. Other mosaic works, murals, artworks. Then I started sketching. And after that I started to work with the broken tiles. I drove around in a van to look for tiles. Tiles that were trashed, but I also called shops if they still had some broken tiles. Successfully! Almost all the tiles are recycled. And finally I could get started with the elephant in my studio. I am part of the artist collective ANNASTATE and together we have an art studio complex. With all our own rooms, where I can work. On the floor I started working with the elephant snout and the tusks, then the eyes and slowly to the ears. The drawing has taken on many different forms. I cut out the shape of the animal in wood and placed a scaffolding construction behind it. The moment the drawing was finished I could begin with the broken tiles! What a job! One after the other I glued them to the frame. Finally it was time to install the work! We dug a hole for the box so the elephant was able to stand in it.
Then we filled it up with concrete so he couldn’t go anywhere. And finally he was standing! The last part was to fill the stones inbetween, I waited with this until the end. My dear parents also helped with removing the grout. I added a nice sign with the text: “Like mosaic, something that is broken can also be healed”. I installed this sign with Cees who is now my boyfriend. I ran into him again because he was rehabilitating in this center from a snowboard accident. He’s an old friend from back in the day. The artwork can be admired in the garden of Basalt rehabilitation center. I hope the work makes everyone a little bit happier. And they can admire the work during a walk in the garden.
Rehabilitation center Basalt
Royal academy of Arts
Jorick van der Meijs
Adam van der Puil
Jan Erik Noske