Platform for Unasked Art

First opening: The Thumb – A concrete ‘like’ for Papa Adema


“The Thumb” is a small ferro-cement sculpture made by Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries and placed in the Papa Adema sculpture garden near the Artis zoo. In this surrounding, the sculpture refers to the beginnings of the artist’s creative imagination, and to gatherings in public space.


This sculpture started as a material test for ‘the monument for okay people’. The monument is a five meter high, concrete pentagram with its thumbs up. Domenique built this sculpture in the summer of 2014 in the geographical center of the Netherlands, as a homage to all the okay people that he knows. From friends to artists, writers and physicians.
Domenique considers Papa Adema’s sculpture garden, near the Artis zoo, to be an oasis in the city. It is a playful rest place as an alternative for the fast and commercial city. The thumb sculpture is a sort of mini ‘monument for okay people,’ and an anthem to this oasis. It reminds Domenique of his childhood in the East of Amsterdam, where his mother picnicked during lunchtime with him at playgrounds in the neighbourhood, and of his weekly visits to Artis zoo, climbing on the concrete white dinosaurs of Artis.
Is it a coincidence that these dinosaurs are made of the same material as the thumb; ferro-cement? A construction technique that is developed to make strong and inexpensive boats. A concrete armored construction with several layers of chicken wired mesh, plastered with a mix of sand and cement.
Although we can’t answer this question, we only know that Domenique started to develop his imagination in this surrounding.

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