• Memorial wall

Memorial Wall (#2)

September 2019 - September 2024

On September 12, 1944, the liberation of Limburg (NL) and the Netherlands began in Mesch, in the municipality of Eijsden-Margraten. During the large-scale 75-year commemoration of the Second World War, the provincial road N278 between Margraten and Cadier en Keer (NL), along The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial was transformed, from September 6 to October 7 2019, into a temporary Remembrance Road thanks to three projects by artist Jonathan Wanders: Remembrance Road (#3), Memorial Wall (#2) and Freedom & Friendship. Remembrance Road and Memorial Wall were renewed versions and a continuation of the successful projects in 2014 and 2015. Freedom & Friendship was a completely new addition.

The installation Memorial Wall (#2) consists of a triptych of 20 m wide and 4 m high that is placed against the facade of Hoeve (Homestead) Dobbelsteijn in Margraten (NL). The installation is a renewal of the 2014 edition and, like the previous edition, can be seen for at least 5 years. In this case until approximately September 2024.

From left to right, Memorial Wall (# 2) consists of: a historic black and white photo (6.5 x 4 meters), a relevant, inspiring and motivating text (5 x 4 meters) and a contemporary color photo (6.5 x 4 meters). The art project refers in an accessible way to the importance of passing on freedom - from generation to generation - and that freedom cannot be taken for granted. The aim is to excite people when they are on the way to work, school, home or visiting, to 'pick up' the thought/conception of the triptych, to think about it and preferably also to discuss it.

Memorial Wall (#2) is about a number of themes: the successful and very extensive grave adoption program in Margraten, a sense of appreciation, respect and connection between the local community and the liberators, the passing on of freedom, the Liberation story, the idea of freedom and the increasing appreciation and awareness. The most important message, however, is: the connection between generations and cultures, the spreading of a positive message and the responsibility we bear as liberated people and the fact that freedom is not taken for granted.

Photo canvas left
The black and white photo from 1946 shows a young Maria Habets-Abrahams (approx. 10 years old) kneeling in front of a wooden grave cross at The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten. It symbolizes the beginning of the then immediately successful and very extensive grave adoption program in Margraten. Maria came from Simpelveld and stayed there until her death in 2018. This photo canvas hung on the right side since August 2014. Photo: Jean Smeets, edit: JW.

Canvas middle: dutch text (translation)
Our liberation is more than
a beautiful memory.

It is a promise to
future generations,
anywhere in the world.

Freedom is not
taken for granted.

Photo canvas right
This photo of May 23, 2009 shows a young girl. On her vest it says: Girl Scouts USA. USA Girl Scouts overseas. The caption for the photo was: "American scouts put American and Dutch flags at the graves in Margraten." It was the day before Memorial Day and the flags were placed in front of the graves. They did this together with a high-ranking American, probably an ambassador. Photo: Johannes Timmermans, edit: JW.

Artist Jonathan Wanders about his installations: "We try to keep history alive through monuments and rituals. But because monuments are built to stand the test of time, they lose the power to actually excite the viewer and no longer attract attention. The same goes for rituals, the two minutes of silence – during the National Remembrance Day - seems to be a matter of checking off. More form than substance. You have to keep exciting people to keep history alive and show its relevance by making the right connections."




Title: Memorial Wall (#2)
Location: Facade Hoeve Dobbelsteijn (Rijksweg 6-8, Margraten, NL). At traffic lights, along provincial road N278. Publicly accessible
Process: October 2018 to August 2019
Temporary experience: September 2019 to September 2024
Material: Three frontlit PVC canvases with rings all around incl. three aluminum facade frames with galvanized iron wall and corner supports and elastic straps
Dimensions: Triptych of 20 m wide x 4 m high, at 1 m above ground level. Canvas left and right: 6.5 m wide x 4 m high. Center canvas: 5 m wide x 4 m high
Client: Municipality of Eijsden-Margraten
Financing and sponsoring: Embassy of the United States of America the Hague (the Netherlands), municipality of Eijsden-Margraten and RPO Rebema
With special thanks to: Embassy of the United States of America the Hague (the Netherlands), Gilles van de Wouw, Margot Krijnen, municipality of Eijsden-Margraten, Johannes Timmermans and Province of Limburg
Photos: Ralph Sluysmans, JW
© Jonathan Wanders