Keeping Connections Strong:

Dr. Pamela Croft produces Mural in Stolen generations exhibition in Holland .



Aboriginal Artist Dr. Pamela Croft was in Holland in april for the exhibition “Zoetermeer Down Under : living in two worlds ” organised by Dreamweb and the city museum of Zoetermeer , a town adjacent to The Hague . What comes alive with the help of her hands, and the hands of schoolchildren, visitors, artists and immigrants in Zoetermeer is a stunning piece of mutual art. Using Aboriginal symbols as a connecting force, Pamela creates a story on one of the bigger museumwalls. It is the story of the connection of Holland and Australia , the 400 years of bounds are celebrated this year, and the connection of people in general. With the display of the Duyfken, the Dutch explorers ships that once touched Australia ’s soil in 1606, the story begins.

“The Dutch where traders, and left our country”, Pamela Explains the hundreds of schoolchildren visiting the exhibition. “Where the English came and claimed our land, an unexpected turn of Aboriginal history, and a painful history. The handprints that we ask you to put on the mural, represent in our culture, the connection of our spirit with the land. This makes us strong, today and in the future”. And so the mural slowly gets it’s colors, handprints and design, and takes it’s strong place within the exhibition.




Keeping Connections strong is in the first place about people connecting to eachother. The mural itself depicts aboriginal symbols as central connecting elements. Around it are the handprints of the participant and the Zoetermeer community.


In the Mural, Holland is connected to Australia by means of a blue waterline. This symbolises the bond between the two countries, dating from 1606. The Dutch connected to Aboriginal Australia as traders, landing on the West coast of far North Queensland in the gulf of Carpentaria. Contact was recorded by Aboriginal oral history, and the first ships like the Duyfken where depicted in rock art. Also the stories continued to be past on to new generations. Contact was short and the Dutch went back home.


Australia is symbolised by the Aboriginal flag, and Australian and Aboriginal visitors of the exhibition put their handprints on it. The handprint symbolises in Aboriginal culture, the connection of the persons spirit with the land. Holland is symbolised by the aboriginal symbol for gathering place or waterhole, in the color green.




Different animals such as the salt water turtle, the barramundi fish and the bush turkey and the goanna and kangaroo found their place and surround spirit figures. These figures symbolise women, men and children and a spirit figure representing both the Aboriginal and Dutch ancestors. 


The making of the mural has been a gathering, with the museum as meeting place. Peoples from different backgrounds and ages came together, sharing their world. Most of these people have had the experience of living in two worlds, and the visit of the museum made it possible for them to share this history and their stories, and even to be of help in their healing process for some of the visitors.


The hundreds of handprings made by young schoolchildren from Zoetermeer also symbolise the hope for a strong future where people with different background and colors of skin come together and share their stories.




The concept of the exhibition itself is the display of  13 portraits of Aboriginal people from the Stolen Generations,  together with Dutch immigrants and newcomers / immigrants from different countries in Zoetermeer. Dreamweb’s director Lucien Lecarme, fotographer Frits Falkenhagen and Rob Tol went to Australia in January 2006 to talk to the Aboriginal people, and organisations like the National Library and the National Sorry Committee. After the travel through 4 states, and the often intimate and deep encounters with the people that now are part of the exhibition, back in Holland the exhibition was made public to press and people. It is officially part of the 400 years celebration programme and the Australian Embassy was present at the opening, together with the Major of Zoetermeer, a town with 120.000 inhabitants.


Some artwork is displayed, like work of Pamela Croft, and Robert Campbell Jr’s  Bicentennary, a loan from the Worldmuseum in Rotterdam . The exhibition runs to may 28th. A Dutch Sorry day will be held at may 26th.

More info

Info about the Mural Pamela did in Atlanta, USA

Read the Dutch info about the Mural in ENIAR



Impressions of the Mural


more impressions !    *    Downnload Dutch pressrelease about the Mural  *   English expo info


Photo's about the travel to Australia in Januari 2006


Locatie tentoonstelling: Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer

Periode: 23 februari 2006 tot en met 28 mei 2006

Openingstijden: zie



At the opening of the exhibition, Mr. Jeff Hart from the Australian Ambassey in Holland presents the Delfts Blue plate with Dutch and Aboriginal designs as a gift for the Town and Major of Zoetermeer.



more info : tel :+31-20-6793831  *  fax:+31 (0)84 748 3010  e-mail 








Impressions of the Exhibition