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Raul Balai: ‘In this work I want to show how the city of Amsterdam relates to my personal family history. Places such as the catholic church in Halfweg and the ground under a runway at Schiphol somehow come together with Madame Jeanette peppers, asparagus beans and Percy Sledge.’

Listen to the following audio excerpt from Eigenheimers, narrated by Raul Balai.

by Raul Balai / Frerara

What can be a commemorative place or monument in 2021 and who has a say in this? Who feels represented and at home in public space, and who doesn’t? The NDSM-werf Foundation is currently researching these questions with various artists. Collective Frerara – Frederick Calmes, Raquel van Haver and Raul Balai – is the first to present their images at NDSM, taken from a series of drawings for the City Archives with the title: ‘How the City Breathes’. This project is devoted to presenting the underexposed Amsterdam people and their stories that actually form the pulse of the city. The collective sees the city as a ‘living organ that each morning wakes up and never fully sleeps’.

The drawings for How the City Breathers were commissioned by the Amsterdam City Archives. During the coming months, this work, together with work by Raul Balai and Frederick Calmes, can be seen on billboards on the former wharf of the Netherlands Dock and Shipbuilding Company (NDSM-werf). 


Soundtrackcity met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West Het huis van Amsterdam