Peewit Lucy & Jorge Orta

Sloten
‘In Sloten you feel the proximity of the residents everywhere you go: laundry drying in the wind, benches in front of the house, tools in the garden. The Peewit Fountain tells the story of the children who grow up in such a closely-knit environment and are familiar with its traditions and customs. The girl standing on the boy’s shoulders is holding a peewit in her hands, a bird that has been part of Friesland since time immemorial. ‘But the Peewit Fountain also has a universal message.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

The haphazard stack of buckets, jerry cans and tubs beneath the feet of the boy, which form the basis of the fountain, are implements you come across anywhere in the world. They refer to something that we in our society possess in abundance but that cannot be taken for granted in other parts of the world: water! Water is the source of all life. ‘The water pours into the containers in a continuous stream and pours out just as lavishly, as if the stream were never going to dry up. The two children have climbed up the containers to free the peewit from an old Frisian tradition: the gathering of peewit eggs in the spring. For the peewit has become an endangered species due to the rapid growth of intensive agricultural and cattle breeding technology. The peewit itself is carrying a golden key in its beak, the symbol of the city of Sloten and its closely-knit community.’

Lucy Orta & Jorge Orta (Great Britain, 1966, and Argentina, 1953) live and work in Paris. The multifaceted work of this artist couple is firmly focused on environmental problems, with themes such as food, water and ecology. Their substantial research, often involving diverse groups of people, as well as their excursions to places like Antarctica and the Amazon, have resulted in a number of important thematic projects and exhibitions and in many catalogues and monographs. One highly-praised work is ‘The Road of the Fairies’ (Spirits of the Huveaune, 2013), a series of sculptures placed alongside a polluted river in Southern France, that became a tourist attraction and triggered an effort to end the pollution of the river. They also organised several large public meals, sometimes for hundreds of people at a time, with the accent on the food problem in connection with ecological change. The Ortas’ work has also found its way into public and private collections all over the world. In 2007 they were given ‘the Green Leaf Award for artistic excellence with an environmental message’ at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo.

Fountains