Actress Inki Brugman has been exposed to the suicide of a young girl up close. Touched by the tremendous impact of this, I realized an art project in honor of all the children who had ended their lives. The result of this project can be seen as of Friday over the weekend at Portrait 2022 in Amsterdam.
Inki Brugman and one of her friends had daughters of the same age and both mothers and daughters spent a lot of time together. During puberty, Briggy, the daughter of her friend, had a hard time in life. “For a while it had a lot of ups and downs,” Enki says. “But when she seemed to be getting seriously better, she decided to take her own life. It was early this year, on February 8. She was only nineteen years old.”
She continues, “When something like this happens, everything really stops. With five friends, we spent those first months at Hester, Briggy’s mother, spending time together. And soon I felt like I wanted to do something with the event.”
Brugman, who works as a therapeutic educator and illustrator, initially wanted to make a portrait of Brygge for her friend, but while she was thinking about it, she came up with the idea of expanding this plan. “After all, it so often happens that children take this step, Briggy is not alone in this. How wonderful it would be to bring all these children together in one new, imaginative picture.”
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She has made calls on social media requesting photos of deceased children who chose to do so. Many parents and other family members responded, about seventy in all from all over the country as well as Belgium. Brugman started working with those photos.
If you look closely at the painting, you can see different eyes, ears, eyebrows and eyelashes. There really is something in it from all these dead children
, I’m handy on the computer and I initially built a new image using Photoshop where all those images were processed. Then I transferred that image to canvas.”
Brugman deliberately made the image somewhat androgynous, so it is not entirely clear whether it was a boy or a girl. But he is a believable person and if you look closely at the painting you can clearly see the different eyes, ears, eyebrows and eyelashes. There really is something in it from all these dead children. Every freckle, every mole belongs to one of these babies.”
She placed that “born” child in a field of white daisies. As a symbol of purity, but also as a calming ingredient. The result led to warm reactions from the participants. “Parents felt that their child was no longer alone, but with fellow sufferers. They thought it was a great idea. For their children, but for themselves as well.”
The painting by Inke Brugman can be seen from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 October, with about 100 other works selected, at Loods 6 in Amsterdam. The original canvas is auctioned online, but people can also purchase a print via: inkebrugman.nl/project-IM. Proceeds go to 113 suicide prevention and scattering of Brygge’s ashes in South America.
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