Dike workers (1970) Ek van Zanten

Otto Snoek
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 stand above ground on the quay, near Maashaven metro station. In 1968 a sketch of this statue, commissioned by the municipality of Rotterdam, could be seen at an exhibition of Van Zanten's work in art room Heuff in Wassenaar, entitled 'Ball-playing figures'. In its definitive form, it represents two bent male figures, who together lift a basalt block. The statue has a symbolic function: it is a memorial for the dockworker, an important memory in South Rotterdam that has become great through human labor. The work was unveiled on 11 December 1970 by the chairman of the Charlois neighborhood council 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, 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 by Dutch municipalities, and won the Hilversum Culture Prize in 1963 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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