Art & Design Magazine

Second Mural in Amsterdam

By Aerosolarabic @aerosolali

second Mural in Amsterdam

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September 2012, I returned to Amsterdam to paint my second mural in the city.  It was part of the ‘Three Artists, Three Cities’ project where myself and 2 other artists Martin Travers and Benjamin Benrakad painted the mural in Holland. Prior to this mural, we had already painted murals in Casablanca and in Birmingham, now we come to the Niew West area in Amsterdam. The area is relatively poor with a number of ethnic communities settled there, mostly of Moroccan origin.  The three of us painted this mural over a period of three days.  As always with the murals i paint, we attempted to create something that resonates with the community, reflecting their issues and speaks to them directly.  We were informed about the popularity of Street Soccer in the city, where many local people had gained international recognition, and had become unofficial icons for the city, where local youth saw them as role models.  In one local person’s words ‘either they sell drugs, or they get into street-soccer’.  That was their reality. We captured the image of local hero Nabil Akaazoun- a renowned Street-Soccer player – and decided to incorporate his figure playing with what appears to be a ball,  into the mural.  Looking closer, one may see something entirely different.  This was deliberate.  We decided to keep the theme ambigious, where one may not see a footballer, but just a young person – with maybe not a football – but perhaps the circle representing the globe.

2 years ago when i visited this area, we noticed something directly in front of this building- a giant palestine flag hanging from the balcony of one of the residences. This time, we saw it still there, but to our surprise, we witnessed the demolition of that building, with the flat that had the flag standing proudly – being cleared out – the resident standing on his balcony next to his flag, while all his belongings where being removed by a removal truck.  After enquiring we discovered that the flag would dissappear in a few days once the building is torn down. This flag was known locally, it had become an icon on this street and much loved by the locals!  We decided to extend the life of that flag and give it a new home – incorporated into the new mural we painted.  The owner of the flag was immensely pleased that support for the plight of Palestinians would continue even after his relocation from the area.

So the flag became something that physically hung within the mural by being nailed into wall, the young footballer looking up towards the sky in the direction of the flag – alongside the painted silhouettes of a flock of birds. From the roof of the building we dripped paint down the entire side of the building (which was fun to do!) For some- the figure in the mural no longer appeared to be a footballer, but perhaps he is watching the paint drip.  Or perhaps he is a Palestinian looking upwards towards the flock of birds and the flag of Palestine.

NOTE*Although the figure of the footballer has been adapted greatly, the image was inspired by a photograph of Nabil Akaazoun taken from a street soccer clinic of Imagine IC (

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