As an artist who is inspired by archives, community, and a sense of ‘place,’ recent Scottish transplant Natalie McIlroy was the perfect choice to curate a new exhibition in The Hague City Hall entitled ‘Expat Impressions of The Hague’. The exhibition illustrates the expatriate experience in The Hague, combining letters, journals, photographs, and other primary sources in a visually striking display that immerses visitors in the past several decades of life in The Hague, inviting them to see the city through the eyes of the expatriates who have made it home.
McIlroy’s credentials are as international as the exhibition’s focus. She has worked as an ‘artist-in-residence’ in Boston (USA), Spain, Scotland, England, and now the Netherlands, with additional exhibitions in London, Aberdeen, Vancouver, and Cuneo (Italy). She has a fascination with cultural history and gathers much of her inspiration from visiting archives, museums, libraries, and local history centres.
Bringing the Past of The Hague Alive
For this exhibition, McIlroy has used source material from a variety of local archives, dating from the 1950’s to the present. Rather than presenting it in simple chronological order, she has chosen to arrange the material by theme, honouring the multi-faceted beauty of everyday life in The Hague by creating displays showcasing topics such as Food & Drink, Flowers & Nature, and Housing & City Geography.
One of the defining characteristics of McIlroy’s work is the way she engages with local communities, involving them in her projects in unique and collaborative ways. During the upcoming exhibition, visitors will be encouraged not only to view the displays, but also to contribute their own impressions of The Hague by writing them on decorative postcards that will be incorporated into the exhibition on an ongoing basis.
Three organisations have partnered to create the exhibition: The Expatriate Archive Centre, which preserves primary source materials documenting the expatriate experience; The Hague Municipal Archive; and ACCESS, a non-profit that provides practical information, advice, support, and services to expatriates in the Netherlands. Sponsors include Shell, The Hague Bridge, CB&I, Rabobank, the American Women’s Club of The Hague, and Petroleum Women’s Club The Hague.
When and Where
The exhibition will be presented in both English and Dutch. It is free, and will run from 26 October to 14 November 2015 in the Atrium of the City Hall in The Hague. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 to 19:00, Thursday from 7:00 to 21:30, and Saturday from 9:30 to 17:00. The mayor will officially inaugurate the exhibition at an invitation-only reception to be held on 4 November. For more information, contact The Expatriate Archive Centre at (0)70 427 2014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.