A Ribbon of Memory: Exploring the Past through Art


Art is a powerful way to explore memories. In this painting, I wanted to explore the past and the memories associated with a simple pin. The painting depicts a hand, with an actual pin and orange ribbon fixed onto the canvas of the painting. The pin is made out of tin and has a portrait of Wilhelmina, queen of the Netherlands embossed into the metal.

In 1997 I found the pin and other war memorabilia in a chest that was stored on our attic. The previous owner of the house must have left them there. Other items in the box were; a flag, a flint lighter and a grenade shard with razor-sharp edges. The roughly fabricated pin stayed with me over the decades, and in 1993, I pinned it to the painting. It creates an impression that the hand is going to pin the medal to someone, or that the medal has been pinned through the flesh of the thumb.

In this painting, I take a moment to reflect on how we use medals to preserve memories. For some, they serve as a reminder of the sacrifices and accomplishments of those who lived through a war. For me, it is a personal reflection on how I found a mysterious wooden chest with war memorabilia and how I kept this simple ribbon in my possession.


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