With a torch and a flag
An illustration from a collection in the Joods Historisch Museum by graphic artist Elias Smalhout (1889-1939), contains a slogan. It covers Elias Smalhout’s political elan and visual ‘agitprop’ activities: ‘With a torch and a flag’.
There is an analogy between ‘a torch’ and ‘a flag’ with the function of the artwork itself. The collection of objects in Oostpoort public space illuminates and focuses the gaze of the passer-by upon the legacy of the twentieth century.
In essence, each artwork (in public space) may be compared to ‘a torch’ and ‘a flag’. A torch is lit and the flag is raised for art. The artwork pays tribute to art ‘with a torch and a flag’.
Elias (Elie) Smalhout (1889-1939) was a diamond cutter between the age of sixteen and thirty, afterwards devoting himself to draughtsmanship and graphic techniques. Smalhout united art and propaganda in his designs for posters, banners, signs, standards, and flags for election campaigns, particularly for the SDAP. In addition, he made stained windows and provided illustrations for socialist trade union publications and Jewish periodicals.
Artwork: You Are Here
Artist: Martijn Sandberg
Measurements: (lxwxh) 80cm x 80cm x 40cm
Project: Legacy of the Twentieth Century
Realisation and completion: 2019
Location: Oranje Vrijstaatkade, Oostpoort, Amsterdam
Commissioned by: Amsterdam Municipality, District Oost