Revisiting The Cullinans

Sanja Medic

On 13 July 2023, Sanja Medic’s new artwork “Revisiting The Cullinans” in the Asscherkwartier (De Pijp) was festively opened. At the beginning of this century, the city of Amsterdam started the renewal of the neighborhood. Step by step, the archive buildings have made way for housing. Squares with sitting and playing areas, greenery, a parking garage and catering establishments have been added. As the final step of this metamorphosis, the municipality invited visual artist Sanja Medić to create a work of art that connects the past and present of this neighborhood.

For this work, the artist drew inspiration from master grinder Joseph Asscher. Just as Asscher crafted the Cullinan into nine diamonds, the artist designed nine glass “neighborhood jewels,” reflecting the rich history and identity of this special neighborhood. To achieve this, Sanja Medić chose an artisanal, innovative, complex and almost alchemical production process.

Each sculpture refers to the transformation of a diamond: from the rough stone that is then carved, cleaved, cut and polished to a diamond. The nine Cullinan diamonds cut and polished here a century ago were accessible only to the privileged. These neighborhood jewels, however, are for everyone.

Image: Sanja Medic