Anitra Hamilton

Delft, 2012



Delft, 2012
porcelain paint on china
12 + 3 artist proofs
diam. 24 cm

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Delft is a companion work to the previous project, Ming. Ming featured a series of white, made-in-China plates. The artist hired a Chinese art student to hand paint the word Ming on to the surface of the plates using traditional blue porcelain paint. The project refers to colonization. Delft Blue - the classic blue and white Dutch porcelain - would not exist had the Dutch Colonists not left Europe to plunder the far East. The artist’s family were Dutch Colonists. Delft follows through with the sentiment of Ming. In this instance the artist has hand painted the manufacturer’s mark of de Porceleyne Fles (The Porcelain Jar) aka Royal Delft, the only remaining porcelain factory in Delft. The mark normally found on the back of the plates appears on the front surface. A small VOC, the insignia of the Dutch East India Company, can be found on the back of the plate above the mark indicating that the plate was made in China. During their expeditions to Asia in the 1600’s the VOC - the first mega corporation and the first to issue shocks- not only traded in spices and fabrics, they hijacked Chinese culture. They imported traditional blue and white Chinese porcelain into Holland and incorporated it into their own version in the form of Delft Blue. Delft Blue is now a visible representation of Dutch culture. As anyone passing through Schiphol airport or tourist shops throughout the Netherlands will notice, the gift shops there are rife with ubiquitous blue and white Delftware.