Maze de Boer

Common Ground

We are happy to announce that Park Sonsbeek
has a playground near the big pond. And not just
any playground: these colourful swings, slide, and carousel come from Jakarta. They used to be located in a conspicuous place near ruangrupa’s original headquarter in Tebet, Jakarta. Now, at that exact spot, multidisciplinary artist Maze de Boer (who lives in Amsterdam) places comparable playground elements made by Dutch producers in their place.

In Indonesia, playgrounds are often in shopping centres or at private day-care locations rather than on the corner of the street. There are also fewer regulations concerning the design and safety. Will these differences keep children from playing when they see a playground? “Playing is universal,” says Maze.

Maze often attunes his work to the historical background and social context of the exhibition and/ or location. The idea of a “playground exchange” refers to trade between the Netherlands and Indonesia, which began in 1595. Another inspiration was Fabriekskinderen, a novel about child labour in Dutch factories, written by Arnhem’s Jacob Cremer in 1863. Eleven years later, child labour in the Netherlands became a thing of the past.

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