Empty promise

Empty promise
Tymon de Laat - Empty promise

“Empty promise”
3 meter x 4.5 meter.
Spray paint on metal door.
Schiecentrale Lloydkade, Rotterdam.
Tymon de Laat 2023

For every wall has it’s story, sometimes happy and cheerful and other times that of hope for better days to come even if generations pass.

In 1951 the Moluccan community arrived in the Netherlands with the promise that it would not be long before they could return to their homeland in return for fighting Indonesia alongside the Dutch colonizing army KNIL. The Moluccan tribe, warriors by heart, were displaced and brought here to the Netherlands by boat, whole families that were only allowed to bring one suitcase to pack their life in. Upon arrival on the docks of Rotterdam and Amsterdam they were told that soon they would return and just have to wait with patience. They were sheltered in former concentration camps and distanced from Dutch society as it would only be temporary situation. Now in 2023 whilst the 4th generation of Moluccans are born the promise of their land has still not been fullfilled. How can something be given whilst it was not yours to give away in the first place you might ask. So do the Moluccans some of which to this date still have their suitcases packed and ready to return home and have their promise fullfilled.

The model @iiam__nika is a 4th generation Moluccan that stems from her grandfather Halawane that arrived on the boat Atlantis in Rotterdam 1951 only a stones throw ways from where this mural has been painted.

Thank you @schiecentrale_events for being open to this project and let me paint a mural with local relevance. Merely by stating and aknowledging the past we can build on our future, not with judgement but with understanding that we all have a place. Eventhough it started with an empty promise our future together as a Dutch nation should be filled with hope as we all look for a home.

A big thank you goes out to @jantien_nika_joaquin and all her support on this theme, Hans and Roel for your trust.
Soon there will also be a monument realised by the @landelijkmoluksmonument that will go deeper into this subject and help us commemorate this part of our history.

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De Laat started painting murals and canvases, often based on his own photographs of the people he met during his travels. He exaggerates the natural lines in their faces, and fills the spaces that appear between those swirling lines with swaths of vivid color. The linework and color palette he applies in that way, are a means of translating his memories of Latin America to visual imagery. The food, the architecture, the clothes, and particularly his respect for the culture of indigenous peoples; it’s all in there, as de Laat transitions it over to enliven drab Western concrete.

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