Monument for Invisible Particles

Saskia Janssen, artist, detail of silkscreen, Dutch Tax Office Bonaire

Saskia Janssen, artist, work in progress, Bonaire 2010

‘Monument For Invisible Particles’, commissioned work for the Atelier Rijksbouwmeester Monument for Invisible Particles is a series of 15 large-format colour photos made for the Dutch tax office in Kralendijk, the chief town of Bonaire (one of the main islands of the Netherlands Antilles).It is a commission from the Atelier of the Chief Government Architect in 2010. The tax office employees were keen that the work of art should be made in collaboration with Bonairian children and at the same time be a work that devoted attention to the island’s cultural history. During workshops lasting several days, the children cut out the shapes of cultural elements on the island which they thought were important, all from memory. They cut out the outlines of divi-divi trees, cactuses, saltpans, little slave huts, lighthouses and flamingos. All the cut-out paper on the table was then divided into two piles: a pile with cut-out forms in which you can clearly recognise these elements and a pile with the shapes that are left behind: the remnant forms.The first pile contains unmistakable symbols of the island, those that are also to be seen on postcards and in tourist guides. The shapes in the second pile are more mysterious, even though you know that they are the by-product of recognisable forms.These remnant forms could also be seen as symbols for all the fragments of culture which have become invisible, because they continue to exist only in memories, music, stories or history.They do exist, but they cannot be seen with the naked eye. All these mysterious remnant forms were enlarged and sawn out in wood together with the children. These wooden objects were then painted in typical Bonairian colours, reintroduced into the landscape, and subsequently photographed. The resulting series of photos can be seen as a small monument, a reminder of all those invisible fragments of culture that are not immediately visible to us yet are still important enough not to be forgotten.


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Saskia Janssen, artist, silkscreen for Dutch Tax Office Bonaire




Installing the photos in the new building of the tax office, Kralendijk, Bonaire, 2010