Moeder en kind
Jacob Mulderweg, Den Haag
52.108211170376, 4.3069671846558 View on map
On the middle lawn of the Jacob Mulderweg stands an idyllic little sculpture: a sturdily built mother, leaning over her child who seems to want to go out into the world. Most local residents are happy with the three sculptures that sculptor Nic Jonk made for the post-war neighbourhood in which the Jacob Mulderweg is located. All streets there are named after resistance fighters who were imprisoned in the nearby Scheveningen prison. The 'Box Jumping Children' and two 'Mothers with Child' form an emphatic plea for life.
That plea is also the essence of the work of Jonk, who actually wanted nothing more than to make 'beautiful images' as 'signs against death'. Throughout his career, the ideal representation of women played a leading role. The design became more and more abstract, but he hardly ever made remarkable excursions into other techniques or subjects. Art critics have often blamed him for his lack of desire to experiment.
Probably his biggest move was not taking over his single mother's grocery shop in Schermerhorn. Instead, Jonk left for Amsterdam to work as an advertising artist. He also took lessons at the Kunstnijverheidsschool, where he was captivated by sculpture thanks to the inspiring teaching of teacher Wessel Couzijn (1912-1984). Together with Couzijn and Mari Andriessen (1897-1979), Jonk later co-founded the now renowned Ateliers '63 in Haarlem. When this form of education had developed well, Jonk returned to the polder.
There he exhibited paintings and drawings in his own gallery and sculpture garden, and later also the work of his artistically inclined children. Jonk's sculpture garden in Grootschermer became a flourishing family business. In interviews Jonk was often bitter about the criticism that he was too one-sided and commercial. According to the reactions, however, the public at large greatly appreciated 'his signs against death'.