Iris Kensmil

June 6 was the festive rainy unveiling of 2 beautiful works of art in Brasapark. Created on behalf of the district under the direction of CBK Zuidoost. Both sculptures are about the connection with each other and nature.

The sculpture by artist Iris Kensmil is called Iron Lady of the Bijlmer, a tribute to Hilly Axwijk. Hilly Axwijk (1934-2004) was an Afro-Caribbean women’s rights activist from Southeast. The sculpture incorporates her portrait. It looks in the direction of the G-Buurt, where Hilly Axwijk lived and worked until her death. Iris Kensmil: “Strong, black women play an important role in my work. Women who stand firmly in society and who dare to speak out, who form a sounding board for society and offer help to people who are struggling. Hilly Axwijk was such a woman, an “iron lady,” but in a positive way.

The bright red sculpture is in the shape of a tropical flower, the heliconia. This flower also has a special history. The heliconia grows in the tropical rainforest of Suriname. Rainwater remains in the calyx of the flower. Iris Kensmil says, “When people used to escape from the plantations, they could keep themselves alive with water from the heliconia.

Text: Municipality of Amsterdam