Dike workers (1970) Ek van Zanten

photo Jannes Linders
About the artwork

The construction of the Rotterdam metro gave the opportunity to add visual art to everyday life, both underground and above ground. This one Dike workers are above ground on the quay, near metro station Maashaven. In 1968 a sketch of this statue, commissioned by the City of Rotterdam, was shown at an exhibition of Van Zanten's work in the Heuff art gallery in Wassenaar, entitled 'Ball-playing figures'. In its final form, it represents two curved male figures, who together lift a basalt block. The statue has a symbolic function: it is a memorial to the dock worker, an important reminder in South Rotterdam that has become large through human labor. The work was unveiled on December 11, 1970 by the chairman of the district council for Charlois and the chairman of the Afrikaanderplein district body. The large dark silhouette is well positioned. It contrasts dramatically with air and water and has space around it, while it is still clearly visible to many passers-by.

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About the artist

Ernst Arnold Frederik Robert van Zanten (Ek) van Zanten (Zaltbommel, 1933) is a Dutch sculptor and draftsman. He studied at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, then followed an art course in Brussels, then took part in the international sculpture exhibition in Sonsbeek in 1955 and won the Prix de Rome that year. He mainly made large figurative sculptures, commissioned for Dutch municipalities, and in 1963 won the Hilversum culture prize for his Europe and the Bull (1961) there. Some 30 images of his hand have been placed in the country. He also made tokens and taught at the Minerva Academy in Groningen.

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