BIJLMERBAJES BEACH CLUB - COURTYARD OF A SOON TO OPEN BEACH CLUB LOCATED IN A FORMER PRISON AND RUN BY NEWCOMERS GETS A PAINTJOB

BIJLMERBAJES BEACH CLUB

COURTYARD OF A SOON TO OPEN BEACH CLUB LOCATED IN A FORMER PRISON AND RUN BY NEWCOMERS GETS A PAINTJOB

The Bijlmerbajes, a former prison in the south east of Amsterdam, was used as a refugee center from 2016 until 2018. During this period United Painting, in collaboration with Refugee Painting, were responsible for colourfully decorating large parts of the outside of the building as well as ‘A Beautiful Mess’; the restaurant inside. This allowed for a design continuity that flows throughout the building, both inside and out.

In 2021 the building complex will close for good. With this in mind the restaurant rebranded themselves and also turned the courtyard outside into a beach. They asked United Painting to return and create some new work that was both keeping up with the summer feeling they were trying to create, but also needed to have a connection to the already existing work.

For this part of the project we re-connected with some of the participants from previous projects such as the refugee centers in Heerhugowaard and Geuzenveld in Amsterdam. This not only helped with the team spirit (many participants had previously worked together) but it also ensured that we had an experienced and motivated team which enabled us to work efficiently.

The initial idea was to paint the entire courtyard that surrounds the beach but the sand was delivered earlier than expected so we were unable to work as of course, paint and sand don’t mix. So, we had to reevaluate our plans. We decided to focus instead on the entrance hallway which in itself is no small feat in regards to size. The result was a brightly painted tunnel using our signature patterns and with arrows marking out a clear 1.5 meter walkway for both entering and exiting the complex.


IMPROMPTU COLLABO WITH HEDY TJIN, WHOSE PORTRAITS TO HONOUR VICTIMS OF RACIAL VIOLENCE BLENDED INTO OUR TOLHUISTUIN WALL IN AMSTERDAM-NOORD

IMPROMPTU COLLABO

WITH HEDY TJIN, WHOSE PORTRAITS TO HONOUR VICTIMS OF RACIAL VIOLENCE BLENDED INTO OUR TOLHUISTUIN WALL IN AMSTERDAM-NOORD

The Tolhuistuin, a cultural center in the north of Amsterdam had heard of our other projects in Amsterdam-Noord and decided to allocate a part of their art budget for a similar mural next to their garden, situated on the road leading to the ferry.  Last year we had already painted several murals in the North of Amsterdam in collaboration with ‘Verdedig Noord’; colourful backgrounds to which portraits of local heroes were added.

On the very day we started painting the background of this mural, George Floyd was murdered by the US police. This caused a wave of protests against police violence and racism all around the world. While we were painting, we were discussing that within light of these global protests, it would make more sense to portray the people that had died as a result of police violence instead of local heroes. During the days after the painting of the background, the idea grew on us and we felt that it was the right time to do it.  As we wanted this mural to really stand out and be different from the ones made further north, we decided to team up with Hedy Tjin, an amazing artist and graphic designer with a very unique style in portraits.

The background was painted in close collaboration with ‘Verdedig Noord’ and participants were arranged via both parties. This painting crew, consisting of both new and old northerners, managed to paint the entire background in just one day. Once completed, we talked with Hedy about her ideas regarding the design and the colors of the portraits. Hedy used what paint we had leftover as the basis for her portraits. Once finished, we added the last layer of stencils which included the names of the people portrayed on the wall and the people that helped realize it.


DEFEND THE NORTH - TRANSFORMING AN UNDERPASS INTO A RIOT OF COLOURFUL THREE-DIMENSIONAL CUBES TOGETHER WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS AND 'VERDEDIG NOORD'

DEFEND THE NORTH 

TRANSFORMING AN UNDERPASS INTO A RIOT OF COLOURFUL THREE-DIMENSIONAL CUBES TOGETHER WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS AND 'VERDEDIG NOORD'

The municipality of Amsterdam requested that we continued our work in Amsterdam-North, specifically in the area known as De Banne. We suggested several possible locations however our main goal was to paint the underpass that connects Banne 1 with Banne 2 with both a footpath and a cycle lane. After some deliberation we received permission from the council to start painting. Together with local residents and Verdedig Noord we transformed the underpass into a riot of colourful three-dimensional cubes which was welcomed by everybody in the community, from children to the elderly.

Before we painted the underpass it was, like most underpasses, full of graffiti. To this day however our work remains untouched, a testament to its success on many levels. For this project we made use of a special floor paint developed by Engels, one of the oldest paint shops in Amsterdam. This paint is thick and sticky and was able to cover even the most problematic of areas without the need for either an undercoat nor sandblasting, a truly remarkable product.


IN CELEBRATION OF TOGETHERNESS, A GROUP OF OLD AND NEW AMSTERDAMMERS JOINED FORCES TO CREATE A 200+ m2 CARPET ON THE DAM SQUARE AS SEASONS GREETINGS TO THE CITY

DAM CARPET

IN CELEBRATION OF TOGETHERNESS, A GROUP OF OLD AND NEW AMSTERDAMMERS JOINED FORCES TO CREATE A 200+ m2 CARPET ON THE DAM SQUARE AS SEASONS GREETINGS TO THE CITY

On Sunday the 29th of December, right between Christmas and New Years Eve, United Painting rolled out a massive artwork (12×12) in the heart of Amsterdam, right in front of the royal palace.  In the so-called festive season, a period in which the differences in society become painfully visible, we decided to team up with a group of newcomers to create our own season’s greetings, in a time frame of no less than a week between idea and execution.

The idea for all of this was sparked during one of our recent projects; an artistic intervention in Italy at the request of the University of Florence. In collaboration with local newcomers, we made two carpets. Both the process and the outcome were received very well by the makers, the University and other residents.

Over the years, we have also built up a network in the Netherlands of newcomers, status holders and undocumented migrants involved in our projects, whenever they take part they are compensated, everyone else contributed on a voluntary basis. By doing this we set up our own end of year party, doing what we love to do: bringing people together, creating art and having a great time!

One of our designers developed a basic design which was logistically feasible in the short term, but without any aesthetic concessions. The carpet was made up of several smaller pieces of work; all different, all equal, symbolic for what we are aiming for. During the collective creation process everyone involved engaged in conversations, choosing patterns and colours and worked side by side towards a common goal. On day three, we picked up all the pieces and carried them to Dam Square for the world to see. An opportunity to collectively witness our creation, reflect on the past and concoct plans for the future.


GIANT ARABIC PATTERN SERVES AS CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND IN THE GREEK REFUGEE CAMP SKARAMAGAS

GIANT ARABIC PATTERN 

SERVES AS CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND IN THE GREEK REFUGEE CAMP SKARAMAGAS

In 2016, Movement on the Ground invited United Painting for a 2 day project in the Skaramagas refugee camp on the outskirts of Athens. With a few cans of concrete paint and a book about islamic patterns we went to work. There were plenty of people around to help us figure out how to create the shapes, with nails, wire, rocks, brushes and some paint. None of us had tried this before.