For the Birds Semâ Bekirovic

Courtesy of the Artist Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

For this exhibition, Semâ Bekirovic has transformed Garage Rotterdam itself into a large artwork, For the Birds (2020). The skylights have been completely covered with vegetable fat and strewn with bird seed, turning Garage Rotterdam into a life-size fat ball for birds, which will peck the roof into life this winter.

Less than a week after the opening of the exhibition, Garage Rotterdam was commissioned by Stadstoezicht (Municipality of Rotterdam) to remove the artwork again. It would cause nuisance and it is not allowed to feed birds in the city center (and in many other parts of Rotterdam). Although this was a unique situation for Stadstoezicht and they could appreciate the work of art themselves, the conclusion was that it was not allowed and that it had to be removed immediately.

You can imagine that this is a big disappointment for us, but this is exactly the discussion that Bekirovic wants to provoke; what is the relationship between humans and animals? And how do we deal with animals in the city? ‘The dividing line we draw between us and them is one that we keep in our minds because we are perhaps not able to bear the fact that we are, quite simply, nature’, she said.

On 8 February it was decided to remove For the Birds by Sema Bekirovic. Her work The Others can still be seen at Garage Rotterdam. In The Others (2008-2011) we see a nightly picnic, the daily life in a forest when there are no people around.

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