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Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum crawling with giant ants

Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum crawling with giant ants

Saturday, September 17, 2022, 10:29 GMT+7
Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum crawling with giant ants
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

AMSTERDAM -- Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, home to Dutch masterpieces like Rembrandt's "Nightwatch", will temporarily have its walls and windows overrun by 700 giant ants, as part of a new exhibit.

By breaking artwork conventions, "House Taken," by Colombian artist Rafael Gomezbarros, wants to draw attention to migration and forced displacement.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Inspired by the Colombian conflict between the government and guerrilla groups which started in 1964 and forced millions of Colombian citizens to leave their homes, the bodies of Gomezbarros's ants are made from two casts of human skulls, representing both victims and perpetrators, Gomezbarros told Reuters.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

The ants' legs are sticks from Jasmine trees, used during the conflict to cover the bodies of victims to mask the smell of death.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

The meaning of "House Taken," which has previously shown in Colombia, Bolivia, the United States and Sweden, changes over time depending on its audience, he said.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

People migrate for different reasons, Gomezbarros added, such as "a country in bankruptcy, war or lack of opportunities."

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

"The ants symbolise the industriousness, resilience and cooperative spirit of people", Rijksmuseum curator Julia Kantelberg explained, adding that letting people make their own associations is part of the artwork's goal.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

"Casa Tomada" is part of a larger exhibition, "Crawly Creatures", which will start Sept. 30 and run up until Jan. 15, 2023. It focuses on the ever-changing perceptions of crawly creatures, such as ants but also toads, snakes and spiders, in the arts and sciences.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

AMSTERDAM -- Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, home to Dutch masterpieces like Rembrandt's "Nightwatch", will temporarily have its walls and windows overrun by 700 giant ants, as part of a new exhibit.

By breaking artwork conventions, "House Taken," by Colombian artist Rafael Gomezbarros, wants to draw attention to migration and forced displacement.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Inspired by the Colombian conflict between the government and guerrilla groups which started in 1964 and forced millions of Colombian citizens to leave their homes, the bodies of Gomezbarros's ants are made from two casts of human skulls, representing both victims and perpetrators, Gomezbarros told Reuters.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

The ants' legs are sticks from Jasmine trees, used during the conflict to cover the bodies of victims to mask the smell of death.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

The meaning of "House Taken," which has previously shown in Colombia, Bolivia, the United States and Sweden, changes over time depending on its audience, he said.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

People migrate for different reasons, Gomezbarros added, such as "a country in bankruptcy, war or lack of opportunities."

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

"The ants symbolise the industriousness, resilience and cooperative spirit of people", Rijksmuseum curator Julia Kantelberg explained, adding that letting people make their own associations is part of the artwork's goal.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

"Casa Tomada" is part of a larger exhibition, "Crawly Creatures", which will start Sept. 30 and run up until Jan. 15, 2023. It focuses on the ever-changing perceptions of crawly creatures, such as ants but also toads, snakes and spiders, in the arts and sciences.

The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters
The exhibition Casa Tomada from artist Rafael Gomezbarros is displayed at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

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