‘Everdina, Nellie & the Caravan – the artist as a voluntary instrument of the community’ Meetings and conversations, living in Zandpol, installation with caravan, published book around 2 fictional characters based on facts, mobile installation by means of Library bus Emmen, the spreading of a new story, follow-up projects, Yanthe van Nek, 2017 “
..she’s part of all of us…” Catharina, resident of Oldersheem Care Center and one of Everdina’s creators
Art and artist are often used by clients, including museums, to address societies identified shortcomings. the artist as the key figure in realizing the potential to help us all think differently. On the lookout for people ‘who don’t know it yet’. During my Artist in Residency Project in Zandpol, Veenoord and New Amsterdam I chose to turn the tables and ask the residents of three villages what it was I could do for them in my role as an artist and what the art project should set into motion. They led me along, through meetings and conversations, from touring with the local SRV and library bus, to joining the gym for the elderly, learning to play bingo and being invited at people homes. No tight schedules or set program but a letting things happen.
My meetings and conversations resulted in three wishes: parents wanted the children to be closely involved in the development of the project, and the small primary school at Zandpol (threatened with closure every year) wanted positive publicity. Talked to the elderly about the preconditions for the creation of a new story. Legion of old stories available, but not new stories. My role and place in the community were taken very seriously, my chosen position resulted in a wonderfully beautiful and dynamic process. Gradually I got the feeling that I was part of a long, perhaps fantasized, tradition, the artist embedded in a community. Residents and artist jointly own the work, residents who continue the process after my departure and let go of it. What touched me were the meals I was offered, in the evening the bell rang and the neighbor stood in front of me with a hot dish of macaroni. Elsewhere on a round of meetings, another pancake was baked after 9 p.m., because I hadn't eaten yet. Bit exaggerated, but the artist was kept alive.
The book 'Everdina, Nellie & the Caravan', part of the project, written by the residents around 2 fictional characters based on facts. The new story is included in the permanent collection of the Emmen Library and both library buses that drive around the region (https://literatuurplein.nl/detail/boek/everdina-nellie-de-caravan/1413791 →)