What about the representation of queer art(ists) in the public space? A retrospective of Stichting NDSM-werf

Queer and Pride will take place in Amsterdam from 22 July to 6 August. A definite moment to reflect on the values that are central during these weeks: social justice, anti-discrimination, and (inter)national solidarity, to name a few.

Queer Amsterdam: ‘We try to ensure that all voices in the community are given a place’. This also includes a place in the urban public space of Amsterdam and beyond. In that context, we look back at (and look forward to) which queer artists and works of art have left their mark on the public space of the NDSM wharf so far. But beyond that, it is pivotal to mention that we recognize that the queer community in its entirety is still severely under-represented in the arts sector and in the public space in general

Zanele Muholi (they/them)

South African photographer Zanele Muholi is a committed photographer who explores and documents black LGBTQI+ identity in South Africa through an activist lens. For more than twenty years, Muholi has captured black queer, transgender, and intersex people through their lens. This has resulted in powerful contrasting black-and-white portraits with which they reclaim the meaning of ‘blackness’ and undermine the clichéd, stereotyped images of black people. Last year in 2022, three of these images could be seen on the NDSM billboards spread across the wharf.

Goldendean (Dean Hutton) (they/them)


With the work ‘Big Fat Trans Light MerQueer’, the South African Goldendean was part of the exhibition (Come To) Light in 2021 at NDSM. This work is a hybrid between man and sea monster that seems to have crawled out of the IJ water, inspired by folktales about sea-lake-people. Goldendean shares moments of gentle courage to affirm the right of all bodies to exist, to be celebrated and protected. A tenderqueer invests in an audience to respond kindly, to keep our bodies safe together, and to give queer space.

This work was realized by Stichting NDSM-werf and is now going to Glasgow where it can be seen from 13 to 28 October 2023 during the “Take Me Somewhere” Festival.

Yamuna Forzani (she/her)

Artist, designer, and queer activist Yamuna Forzani can currently be seen at NDSM with her work ‘Dazzle Trip’: three visuals on the NDSM billboards, ‘A big heart inflatable’ inflatable, video installation in a sea container and a special Dazzle Ferry wrapped in a Dazzle wrap. This series of images and artworks celebrate gender diversity in public space and provide a glimpse into Forzani’s universe. Inspired by provocative prints and graffiti influences, Forzani makes contemporary collages and graphic patterns with tags. Those who zoom in on the patterns see references to pop culture (symbols and emojis), but also an activist tone, with statements such as ‘trans rights are human rights’. In addition to being an active member and organizer in the ballroom community, Forzani is the winner of the Dutch Design Awards in 2022 and her work can also be seen in Rademakers Gallery.

Dazzle Trip can be seen until August 20, 2023 at the NDSM wharf and on the ferry between NDSM and Amsterdam Central Station.

Let Me Be Myself (2016)

The 240 m2 mural of Anne Frank in combination with a variety of colors and geometric shapes has become one of the eye-catchers of NDSM.
This work, made by street artist Kobra on behalf of Stichting NDSM-werf and the STRAAT Museum, represents the message of resistance, hope, and freedom for everyone and against oppression from anyone. The portrait points out to the passer-by the importance of fully respecting everyone’s identity.

The Narcosexuals

On September 16 and 17, 2023, the production The Narcosexuals by theatermaker and artist Dries Verhoeven will come to NDSM. With this loop-performance, Verhoeven investigates the world of chem-sex: sexual drug use, a phenomenon that is gaining popularity, especially among gay men. Scrolling through their phones, the actors look for sex, top-shelf sex, sex beyond the imaginable. This production has been nominated for the VSCD Mime/Performance Award season 2022/2023.

The NarcoSexuals – SPRING ’22 from Dries Verhoeven on Vimeo.

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