For this presentation, we expand our MELLY’S Neighbours program with art commissions and displays that further connect our institution with our neighbouring communities. Here, we reflect upon Rotterdam’s transformation over the past three decades, as well as the changing relationships between these communities and our institution.
Late last year, we invited two visual artists and two narrators to work in pairs or individually and join us in reflection, capturing and questioning the developments in our neighborhood. They are photographer Jarmal Martis together with storyteller Nelly Dos Reis, as well as filmmaker Enang Wattimena and political philosopher Tina Rahimy.
Their research and conversations began at the start of 2020, and were guided by these kinds of questions: Who are our neighbors? Which neighbors have witnessed the development of this art institution? What is the relationship between us and them, if any? What will our institution look like in the future, considering our ongoing transformation that goes in par with our renaming process? And, how do our neighbors imagine the future of this street?
Over time, each of the projects and conversations in development took a turn. This first happened in the Spring, due to the pandemic lockdown; then, during the summer, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement in Rotterdam and internationally. Consequently, the direction of each commissioned project changed. While the key intentions remained the same, different routes were taken as a means to process a drastically altered set of circumstances. Presented in these vitrines, are the research results of Martis, Dos Reis, Wattimena, and Rahimy manifest through photography, video interviews, textile, and text.

This project is curated by Jessy Koeiman and is part of Anchored, a project series that explores our immediate environment in Rotterdam, including our building, our street, and our neighbors. It is part of our ongoing name change initiative. Experience other Anchored projects in the series on our 1st and 2nd floors.

The wall and floor graphics in MELLY are social distancing indicators; it is commissioned to Enchilada (Rotterdam). The furniture is designed by Manuel Raeder (Berlin).