The journey of Dutch creativity in Italian cities promoted by HollAndMe – Dutch Street Art In Six Italian Cities has cut the ribbon on its fifth stage, heading towards the Apulia Region. And so, the Urban Art project, itself a part of the (S)punti di Vista wider cultural program by the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy in partnership with INWARD – National Observatory on Urban Creativity – as well as with several UCAS – Urban Creativity Associations, arrived in Lecce where, from October 13th to 18th, the Dutch artist Collin Van Der Sluijs was the protagonist.
Hosted by the 167/B Street ACU, the artist created the “RISE – In the meaning of stand tall, work together and unite” work of art by using a mixed technique (painting, acrylic and spray), which featured a strong naturalistic imprint and an iconography marked by the fairy-tale traits which are typical of the artist’s style. Having discussed with the 167/B Street cultural association on the subject of local birds, the artist chose the robin (a species that is also widespread in Holland) as the iconographic element to be reproduced: in order to achieve such a goal, he first painted a canvas with many small specimens, and then reproduced them on a large scale.
The decision, taken by the 167/B Street UCA, to work with Collin Van Der Sluijs continues a path which has been built over time. As a matter of fact, in 2020, the cultural association was the winner of the competition titled ‘STREET ART – Italian and Dutch artists launch a message together’, promoted and conceived both by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Milan. The resulting ARTogether project brought a large intervention in Via Ragusa in Lecce, created by the renowned KARSKI & BEYOND Dutch art duo.
With HollAndMe we continue a path dedicated to urban art that began last year – Bas Ernst, a cultural attaché of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Rome, said. He adds: «We are happy to cooperate with 167/B Street again in order to bring the work of another important name in Dutch urban art, Collin van der Sluijs, to Lecce. The works by the six artists we are supporting with our program in Italy this year were created thanks to the commitment of formidable local partners, who enthusiastically decided to host and create them. We hope that such works of art will help create more beautiful and livable neighborhoods.
Such a work of art is located within the “167”, working-class district on the outskirts of the city, which in recent years has become the protagonist of an important process of regeneration and enhancement for the area by means of Urban Art: indeed. starting in 2017, thanks to a bottom-up agreement between the 167 B Street workshop, the Parish of San Giovanni Battista in the person of Don Gerardo Ippolito and Arca Sud Salento, 10 monumental murals have been created on as many building facades, as well as numerous smaller artistic interventions, along with meetings, conferences, workshops, exhibitions and presentations, which continue to transform the neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lecce into a constantly evolving artistic and social laboratory.
Collin van der Sluijs is a renowned painter and illustrator from Maastricht, the Netherlands, where he lives and works. He started writing graffiti at the age of eleven and at the age of twelve began his studies at the professional painting school in Goes. He spent the next eight years studying various art disciplines at different schools in the Netherlands and graduated from the St. Joost Academy of Art and Design in Breda in 2004 with a Master’s degree in Fine Art.
He is widely recognised for his extraordinary dreamlike depictions of everyday stories that question our personal pleasures and struggles, as well as society at large.
Check out below for more photos of the project.