Mekhitar Garabedian – Appeldonkstraat
The initiative was initiated by Isabelle Dethoor, who was supported from the beginning by Wim Augustijns, a community worker. Thanks to them the group of sponsors, composed of residents invested in the neighbourhood, was created. With this project, they wanted to improve their quality of life.
The residential district of Willebroek-Noord, whose central axis is Appeldonkstraat Street, is undergoing many works. The area was surrounded by vacant lots, allowing the emergence of perspectives for the development of the entire district. The public space is mainly used as a passage. At first glance, the area seems rather strange. Nevertheless, it is an extremely fascinating and warm place to live. It is a melting pot of cultures. As soon as the weather permits, people go out on the street and live outside (they drink tea, talk, eat, play with the children......).
The Willebroek-Noord group of residents has come up with a joint artistic commission.
1. The delimitation of physical space.
Willebroek North is a complex and extented region. The group decides to propose Appeldonkstraat as a concrete location. The choice of this location is inextricably linked to the substantive concerns of the group.
2. The content of the order.
The group believes it is important for an artist to respond to the diversity and the vitality of the neighbourhood. To do this, many useful elements are available: the Willebroek dialect, with local and imaginative characters and words, a "street song", the rich street life of the past in this former working-class district (enthusiasm on the football field, more than thirty cafés in the Appeldonkstraat...) but also the mixture of cultures that have settled here for years with their own language, culture and little stories. This is where Appeldonkstraat stands out from other districts.
The search for this individuality or identity, as well as the intensification and safeguarding of spontaneous encounters in the neighbourhood, must be the anchors of artistic integration in this place.
On the basis of these criteria, the following guiding concepts emerge:
- Poetry in language and/or image
- Subtle rather than monumental
- Stimulation rather than demarcation
- Stratified rather than unambiguous
- Content rather than form
The mediator proposed several artists. In the end, the choice was made for Mekhitar Garabedian. In his work, the artist works with text and language, origin, adaptation... Thanks to his personal history, he is strongly committed to multiculturalism.