Hippopotamus (1970) Robbert Jan F. Donker

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

Hippos live in central and southern Africa and live to be about forty years old. After more than forty years, the stone hippo on the Afrikaanderplein has also had its best years. Just like with real hippos, its skin appears to be the most fragile. Here in Rotterdam not because of the risk of dehydration, but because of graffiti and algae. Another ailment is that the statue has been stripped of its teeth by vandals over the years. Yet you can still see how this cheerful statue is adorned by decorative lines in its neck and floral motifs on the back. The eyes are not shown in the stone. The statue is made of sand-lime stone from France. Incidentally, when it was completed in 1970 by the artist Robbert Jan F. Donker, it was already decided that the statue may perish in its aging process.

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About the artist

Robbert Jan Donker (Amsterdam, 1943 - Rotterdam, 2016) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam from 1960 to 1965. These years turned him into a 'native Rotterdammer' with a great fondness for the Kralingen district. The work of sculptor Donker is characterized by the creation of human figures, reliefs and especially animal figures in bronze and stone.

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