There is definitely some interesting news on the iPad. So concentrated are the two young, modern-dressed women looking at the screen. Armed with bag, iPad and headscarves, they walk through the city together. This intimate and everyday scene is the subject of The Sculpture Gallery's fortieth pedestal sculpture. Sculptor Tony van de Vorst is the creator of this colorful yet understated sculpture of the two girlfriends.
However commonplace in the street scene, it is not often that Muslim women are reflected in a sculpture. Struycken, the initiator of The Sculpture Gallery, saw this as an omission and invited Van de Vorst to make a sculpture of a Muslim woman. She usually delves into the beauty and strength of women from all kinds of cultures.
She enjoys great national renown for her oeuvre of figurative sculptures in stone, wood, bronze and plaster. Museum Beelden aan Zee in Scheveningen owns a bust of Queen Máxima and a colossal red marble mouth. In all her sculptures, Van de Vorst combines solid craftsmanship with poetic imagination and knowledge of art history. The expressive use of colour goes back to the colourful statues of saints from her youth in Brabant.
At the beginning of her career, for the Prix de Rome (1975), Van de Vorst made a sculpture of two girlfriends in the world of the famous nineteenth-century Dutch painter Breitner. That sculpture is the source of inspiration for the new plinth sculpture. Two students from ROC Tilburg posed specially for it. The final sculpture, however, is not a good-looking portrait but a mix of the models and other visual material. The headscarf frames their faces, giving eyes, nose and mouth extra expression. In this way, Van de Vorst, like Breitner before him, has portrayed women from contemporary cities. Beautiful, stubborn and strong.