“This Is Where You Can Find Me - Illustrated Sentiments on Rotterdam” Concept, coordination and art direction 

I invited fourteen Rotterdam-based illustrators to take the reader on an unconventional journey through the city’s most popular and overlooked areas, resulting in a collection of colourful illustrated personal stories. Be it commentary on the burgeoning gentrification of neighbourhoods, nostalgic yearnings or a poetic declaration of love for Rotterdam’s surrounding green spaces, the illustrators’ idiosyncratic creations for this book pay homage to the city while touching on the power of illustration to bring communities together through evocative imagery and compelling storytelling.

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Participating illustrators:

Melcher Oosterman
Floor Milou Smit
Conform Cox
Carmen José
Nino Maissouradze
Xaviera Altena
Rachel Sender
Soña Lee
Laura Hopmans
Lucia Lenders
Michael van Kekem
Cesare Davolio
Masha Krasnova- Shabaeva
Johan Kleinjan

Introduction text by Marianne Klerk
Graphic Design by Koehorst in ‘t Veld

There is a walk I like to do from my house. Walking up the stairs from Schuttervaerweg to Beukelsbrug, you’ll come across a path leading to bushes, trees and a vast field of tarmac. There is a strange amount of clothes that seems very out of place. Jeans on bushes (several pairs), a sports bra pressed into the wet, muddy ground, children’s underwear hanging from a branch. There are traces of human life everywhere you look on this path: burnt wood, empty milk cartons, toilet paper. But the tall bushes and narrow path insist on making you feel like you are surrounded by nature. Clothes and nature. And then suddenly, you reac a segment of a railway track. The end of the line. Or a souvenir of what used to be. A tall, black stoplight stands amongst the trees; its use long disappeared, it is currently wanting to become another tree. These are the remnants of a train track of the MerweVierhavengebied, once one of the largest fruit ports in the world.

The Van Nellefabriek pokes its red neon sign from over the bushes. Trees overlap gridded façades.

The Marconitowers (later renamed Lee Towers) greet the walker at the end of the path. The towers are a few centimetres wider on each floor so that they appear to be flat to the viewer. I see colourful street bollards, overflowing bins, and a playground so subtle that it almost disappears. The traffic gets louder. The city is undeniable.

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© Rachel Sender, 2020 — Rotterdam, the Netherlands