My Town, 2012-2016

'My Town: a celebration of diversity' exists of 179 panels. Each panel represents one of the many cultures that are living in Amsterdam. This subject has been inspired by Barbara Broekman’s fascination for the fact that so many cultures are living together in one city. Amsterdam has been Barbara Broekman’s hometown from date of birth. 

Each individual panel shows a powerful (textile) image from a particular culture. These images have been selected from motives in different kinds of daily life materials, like umbrella’s, curtains, tablecloths, hats, shawls and flags, but in such a way that the original context is not traceable. The original composition and colours have been maintained in the final image, nothing has been added by the artist. This makes the images true ambassadors of these cultures. The viewer may not always recognise the image immediately but he will feel the impact of the culture directly.

By combining these details related to the colour schemes and decoration schemes of all cultures of Amsterdam in a systematic manner, a monumental work arises. The total image is a decorative patchwork, closer by, pieces of the puzzle tell an independent story. The eye of the viewer wonder between the abstract total composition and the different elements so has an active part in reading the picture.

In this respect, this piece is comparable to Broekman’s earlier geometric work, where the basic principle was a systematic ordering of pure colours. What is totally different in this work is that the concept has been the starting point. Not the artist has defined the total image but the chosen structure has determined the final imagination. The starting point has of course been the vision of Barbara Broekman as citizen of Amsterdam and a professional artist on the city around her. 

'My Town' is realized in a variety of different materials. In close co-operation with the Amsterdam Museum the project is realised as a Axminster woven floor carpet in the famous “Schuttersgalerij”. This unique museum street in the centre of Amsterdam accommodates large 17th century’s paintings of city governors of Amsterdam. The total dimensions is about 40 meters long and 3,5 meters wide.