Tapestry on the Loan System: “Big and Huge, Just Like Student Debt”

Tapestry on the Loan System: "Big and Huge, Just Like Student Debt"

Tapestries that tell stories of their time: They’ve been around for thousands of years—with it Bayou tapestryabout the Battle of Hastings in 1066, as the most famous example. Illustrator Mart Veldhuis (1991) now adds a clue to a reality in the year 2023: the life of a so-called “unlucky student”.

The tapestry shows the lives of students who have accumulated often high student debt since 2015 under the Student Loan Scheme. In February, the House voted to reintroduce the base scholarship, which is expected to be awarded from the 2023/2024 academic year — the Senate will vote on it this summer. For the nearly 1 million students who have studied under the student loan system, the government has allocated around €1,400 in compensation to each student.

In addition to the two large lions and lions at either end of the tapestry – symbolizing the “Rijkslionen” haunting the debtor – there are countless smaller and often humorous comic passages on the nearly five-meter-wide artwork. Like a supermarket, woven with golden threads, where instead of Albert Heijn (or “Appie” among students) the words “Always Pain” are written on the facade. Somewhere in the left corner are two dice with one eye on each side: you can roll, but you only lose.

Martin FeldweissAnd personal error. 2021, jacquard-woven wool, acrylic, cotton and polyester (detail).
Photo by Killian Lindenburg/QPHOTO


“This is actually our battlefield: the debt you have,” Veldhuis said at the beginning of April while showing the artwork at the Dordrechts Museum. Meanwhile, weaving is a way of making something of value, because of the woven and fine texture. The carpet should have been big and bulky in my eyes, just like my fault. If it was a fee, it wouldn’t have the same value.”

personal error It is Veldhuis’ graduation project: he got a ten at HKU. It expresses the stress, pressure, and other annoyances of a large group of students.

Veldhuis only sells the work for the amount of his student debt: €45,879.40. So far, no buyer has been found, but this also confirms his point, he explains: “If I sell it, it may also be confirmation that people see the loan system as wrong and negative. But if I don’t sell it, it also shows how difficult it is Get rid of such a high debt. That’s why I want to sell it in one piece, otherwise the statement would be less forceful. It just shows how ridiculous such a student debt is.”

texture personal error It hangs in the Dordrechts Museum until 6/25 and then travels to the De Balie Cultural Center in Amsterdam. a company: dordrechtsmuseum.nl

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