The Dame

The typical Dutch landscape with its new tight polders, dairy industry, potatoes and carrots inspired Nienke Brokke to do something with it. The artist wants to return the ‘voluptuous’ capriciousness of nature to this industrial agricultural landscape. The shapes of round buttocks in a literal ‘dike body’ seemed to her to be a nice contrast to the generally straight, tight dikes, while the monoculture of the vast plowed fields requires extra attention to biodiversity for birds and insects. Nienke sees a large, voluptuously shaped dike, overgrown with herbs and grasses. A breeding ground for insects.

The Dame

In the vast Frisian polder landscape, parallel to the austere Seedyk, a large reclining nude rises, covered with herbs and grasses.
It is large, +/- 60 meters long, locally 8 to 12 meters high at the hip and shoulders; like a voluptuously shaped dike. Her ‘fertile’ shapes refer to the arable land, to where food is grown. Associations with big buttocks, full breasts, milk and real butter are legitimate. Like a patroness, she lies there as a ‘dike body’ in the landscape. Just as the sea defense provides safety, it offers biodiversity in the arable land that is mainly dominated by monoculture. Dijk van een Wijf will also be a research project into how dikes in the Netherlands can be sown more sustainably and bio-diversely.

This research is taking place in collaboration with Van Hall Larenstein, Radboud University, the municipality of Waadhoeke, the Province of Fryslân, Bouwbedrijf Dijkstra Draisma and Cyril Liebrand of EurECO Ecological Consultancy, communities and nature organisations.

About the shape

The Dame lies stretched out on her side, turned in on herself. The shapes rise from the ground like a natural curve and the posture is at rest, relaxed. Her face is turned to the earth as if she is just rising from her sleep. The varying length of the herbs and grasses on the skin of the sculpture will influence the shape. It will make the contours softer or more pronounced. Recognition of the image is very important. The biodiverse vegetation is a maximum of 70 cm

About the location

The Dame/Dijk van een Wijf is being realized near the village of Oosterbierum. The linear character of the polder and also the linear nature of the artificial sea defenses provide the dike with the right contrast and is therefore a perfect location. The large scale of the landscape does not allow the dike image to clash with its surroundings; instead of being a giantess, she takes on a human scale again in this landscape. For tourists visiting the Frisian North Coast, the location offers a nice resting point to admire from the Sedyk Dijk van een Wijf.

About Nienke Brokke

The visual work of artist Nienke Brokke always has a narrative element. The study of theater design at the Rietveld Academy has contributed to this.
As a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ in theatre, Nienke likes to work with multiple art disciplines that together form a whole. Because of that narrative side, Nienke Brokke designs educational projects in addition to land art and theater sets. She is good at connecting content with an art discipline.

The land art project ‘the Dame’ was her graduation project at the Rietveld Academy in 1997.

More information: NienkeBrokke

Possible realisation: 2025

Location: municipality Waadhoeke