In 2016, Favelapainting returned to The Netherlands to start the first project in their own country.
The refugee crisis in Europe finds cities in need of new and fast solutions to help create a humane and livable situation for refugees in their new temporary homes. In Amsterdam the former ‘Bijlmerbajes’ prison was closed and quickly turned into a temporary refugee living facility. Prisons are not the most welcoming places and the Bijlmerbajes is not different. The Amsterdam Painting project aims to transform this huge complex with six giant grey towers that have long be a eyesore in Amsterdam’s skyline. The project aims at transforming the buildings, both in-and outside, in order to recreate their new identity as a new home to the refugees. It will offer opportunities in form of skill training, network building and job opportunity, while empowering the participants to ‘make the place their own’.

We want to create a more welcoming place for refugees. Not only for them to find a safe and pleasant place to stay, but also one where they can grow and develop as human beings. We hope to create positive and innovative attention towards the Bijlmerbajes and show the potential of its new inhabitants. Also, the resulting design patterns can be used in many more ways than just for wall beautification. They can be used to print fabric, to generate products, which can then be sold to sustain the project and to generate income. There is enormous potential to build this into for-profit endeavors. Also, much collaboration with external partners is possible, ranging from design collectives to fabric producers, but also design schools, academies and universities.

This community artwork started in the summer of 2016 and aims to last at least 1,5 years. The artwork will have a significant visual impact and will be created in phases (interior/exterior). The project is a collaboration with all involved parties, including COA (Center for reception of refugees), the city government and private parties like the refugee company. It’s the goal to include as many people and transform as many of the many grey spaces as possible. Imagine painting the whole building, inside and out, including the massive towers, creating a visual ‘postcard’, a new monument for the city and its new inhabitants.

So far, we already painted the new entrance of the Center for Asylum Seekers ‘Wenckebachweg’ together with a group of volunteers and refugees. In order to do continue our work during the winter, we have weekly participatory design workshops, where the participants can help create the design ideas for the project as we go. The project should soon become autonomous, yield a multinational team that collectively creates something amazing and transform a place with a very negative image to something extremely positive.


Results of the first phase:

AT5: Kunstenaars pakken bijlmerbajes aan:


NOS op 3: de bijlmerbajes wordt een kunstwerk: