From the 21st of September 2001 until the 21st of June 2002 the art project www.breewar.nl can be followed on this website. This project, brainchild of the creative artist Henk de Boer and carried out under the auspices of the Foundation "The Paupers" ( www.depaupers.nl ) revolves around the little former island of Breewar in the deepest polder in Friesland, the Workumermeer (Workum Lake).
In this chronicle of the countryside the inhabitants and environment will be observed, and the history studied. One will be able to see how this influences the creative process and the inspiration of the artist.
The language of the project is Frisian, but a translation will be given when possible, otherwise the visitor's knowledge of languages and/or creativity will be called upon. Those who are themselves inspired can make up their own story with the pictures and pass it on.
Henk de Boer:……..I've walked here maybe a thousand times. And each time felt a sense of wonder and amazement that I was standing at the bottom of a lake! Taking a ducking in the Workumermeer, almost three meters below sea-level. Then, halfway, I encountered that remarkable eminence Breewar, an island on dry land. Inhabited only by a few cows which, from their elevation, could stare just as stupidly but far further into the world. As an artist I wanted to do something with this. I could picture myself already on the island, sitting on a bench I had placed there, under a canopy of painted linen through which the sun shines, enhancing the colours. On that same bench I want people to enjoy the silence. Only then can they appreciate which sounds really belong in the countryside. The name shall be "The Chapel of Breewar" as the island is the property of the church.
I also want to show the sea level. And I want to make a piece of music about the pumping station which is no longer there; that big building in which, year in year out, a steam-driven pump kept the water level in check. Now there is nothing to see but an electrical junction box.
……..And poems!…Yes, poems must be written!….Jacob Bouwhuis…I'll ask him. He once wrote, as Jac.G.B., about Breewar and the Workumermeer- his birthplace. As it was for my mother-in-law who lived with her family in a little house next to the steam pumping station. The Teernstras and the Feenstras with their children and grandchildren. These people should be involved, people with links with Breewar. These "Markikkerts" (Lake Frogs) can tell me the story. They can be the source of inspiration for my artistic excesses. Ordinary people- they are the central characters in www.breewar.nl.
In August I talked to my mother-in-law, Marie Visser-Muller. She was twenty when she married in 1943, leaving the Workumermeer and the poverty behind her. She can look back and recount tales of times gone by.
Then I went to Jitte Feenstra, well into the fifties and born and bred in "the Lake" He lives right next to Breewar and wild horses couldn't get him to move away.
Anna and Matteke represent the younger generation. Will they ever move away?
In mid-June I round off the project with theatre activities with as final "the Frog Concert". Last spring on a lovely sultry evening I recorded the sounds of frogs on tape. The group Skarl with guitarist Philippus Feenstra (Jitte's son) composes a piece with these frogs leading. Every day I take photos at the same three sites. These I shall use as a backdrop for a discourse on three seasons. By projecting them in sequence a short "film" is shown of nine months of Breewar.
That's how I see it at the moment, but that will certainly change, as during my searches in the archives I have come across some surprising cases. I shall endeavour to keep you informed weekly of the plans, the new drawings, the paintings and poems. It will thus be possible to follow, step by step, what there will eventually be to see in June in the fields of arts and theatre.