New work of art inspired by the ideas of Abraham Kuyper

The tapestry 'Trinity: Kuyper revisited' by Wafae Ahalouch hangs next to the entrance to the Auditorium.

11/06/2020 | 8:00 AM

As of today, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has added a work of art to its collection: a tapestry inspired by the ideas of Abraham Kuyper. On the occasion of its 140th anniversary VU Amsterdam asked Wafae Ahalouch to depict the current significance of Kuyper's ideas. The tapestry hangs next to the entrance to the Auditorium in the VU Main Building.

Magical covenant between head, heart and hand
Ahalouch was particularly struck by Kuyper's statement that 'God created a magical covenant between the head, the heart and the hand'. She felt this principle applied both to her own life and artistry and to all human existence. You need all three to be a complete human being. This is an apt inspiration for VU Amsterdam, where you develop not only as an academic, but also as a human being.

Strong psychological effect
In this work of art, Wafae Ahalouch has depicted this philosophy of Kuyper's in her characteristic manner. Images from popular culture and graphic colour drawings are subtly reversed, exposing misconceptions in society. As with fairy tales, this has a strong psychological effect.

The hand as a creative force
The work shows the contours of the heads of a man and a woman in which the female dominates slightly, an anatomical heart as a mechanical pump, a hand holding a pen and drawing lines: the hand as a creative force that leaves its mark in time.

Spirituality and divine light
The drawings are grouped in a yellow-rimmed central piece that acts as a kind of mirror within a diagonally drawn pentagon. The graphic black and white lines fanning out create the effect of a spectacle or a circus. This is reinforced by the bright orange 'blobs' in the upper and lower quadrants. In colour theory, orange stands for spirituality and yellow for energy; in a more religious context it represents divine light.

Soft and cerebral
The soft and cerebral character of the tapestry contrasts with the brutalism of the VU Main Building. For centuries, tapestries have been used as a medium for telling stories about, for example, religion or battles. Within the academic and somewhat formal environment, this tapestry appeals mainly to universal human values.

Declaration of love
The tapestry 'Trinity: Kuyper revisited' is a declaration of love by Wafae Ahalouch for the fundamental outlook that Kuyper believed was needed to reform the world. We are part of a society and we need our heads, hearts and hands to give meaning to the lives of others.
The work was created with generous support from the Kuyper Fund and the Mondriaan Fund.
Photo credits: tapestry Trinity: Kuyper revisited, Wafae Ahalouch

For more information about the
For questions please contact Wende Wallert, VU curator of art.
Tel: +31 (0)6 21 43 94 51 email: