Amsterdam Art Weekend:

Promoting Accessibility to Contemporary Art

By PIERRE DU PASQUIER | December 16, 2019

Cover photo by Andrea Valdivia / The Amsterdammer 

Tourists staring at the artwork of Nokukhanya Langa exhibited at Galerie van Gelder during the Amsterdam Art Weekend on November 23, 2019. 

The 8th edition of Amsterdam Art Weekend took place from November 21 to November 25, 2019, connecting all the contemporary art venues, art professionals, collectors and art lovers of Amsterdam. By allowing the visitors a chance to listen to the finest art representatives and giving them the opportunity to talk to the artists, the event proved Amsterdam as being one of the cultural capitals of Europe. With more than 50 exhibitions and over 250 artists, the event had an array of opportunities to satiate everyone’s needs. 

The event was held in various new galleries like AKINCI and the Lumen Travo Gallery. AKINCI displayed Heroines, a shared project between the international visual artists: Melanie Bonajo; Sarah Naqvi; and Lungiswa Gqunta. By using a combination of humour and sobriety, this exhibition drew attention to a feminine approach to art. Meanwhile, the Lumen Travo Gallery displayed the latest project of Thierry Oussou: Political Strategy. In this piece, Oussou explores the concept of “daily policies”, about one’s daily decisions; be it mundane or imperative. Oussou coins the term, the Adji, emulating the oldest African board game, to represent these daily decisions. He reflects that the strategies from the game can be applied to the actual political situation in Africa. Ultimately, Oussou concludes that art is the act of “taking banal things and [turning] them into art.”  

Among these exhibitions was the Creator by Claudia Martinez Garay, who used painting and installations to showcase the socio-political memory of her country, Peru. Garay combined regular objects like vegetables and healing plants to represent the daily life of her ancestors.  

One of the highlights of the art weekend was the tour guide who showed the visitors his personal favourite galleries of Amsterdam. The tour kicked off with Galerie van Gelder, where the works of Nokkhanya Langa and Birta Gudjónsdóttir were on display. Notably, Langa utilizes abstract shades of colour to ruminate soft political art. The room was designed with nimbly fluttering bats, hovering eyes, and luminous plants to emulate a forest scenario. Lastly, the visitors went to Van Zijll Langhout to see the exhibition Compost, which aimed at questioning the current digital culture in modern societies by using residues of processed data and hardware. By addressing contemporary issues like media usage and technological waste, this piece managed to capture everyone’s attention. 

The Amsterdam Art Weekend achieved its goal of making contemporary art more accessible. It is a highly recommendable event to everyone: art enthusiast or not.