kunstenaar nazif lopulissa-opening unity aanslag erasmus mc onderwijscentrum-25.3.2024_Daan Stam-9
Artist Nazif Lopulissa. Image credit: Daan Stam

Rotterdam-based artist Nazif Lopulissa is the creator of the artwork, called ‘Unity’, which has been on display at the Education Centre for several months. Erasmus MC asked him to add ‘something that radiates resilience and togetherness’ to the white partition. The work consists of three layers: large grey flowers, gradient paintings over them and, at the bottom, three frames of traditional Indonesian ikat textiles.

The flowers, growing towards the light, symbolise the growth that medical students experience as human beings. Forty-four paintings show different skin colours, reflecting the inclusiveness of health care.


“It started as a simple partition, but grew into a symbol of recovery and connection”, Pauline Tio, PhD student and member of the art committee, said during the presentation. “The work reminds us that we are all human with the same desires and dreams, regardless of our external differences.”

President Frederique Verbeek of faculty association MFVR, then emphasised that the Education Centre really is a second home for students. “We all spend so much time here. We study here, we have a job at Erasmus MC and we find our friends or even our life partners here. Especially for first-year students, it must have been incredibly difficult to experience the attack when they barely even knew their way around.”

‘Beautiful, cool place’

maarten frens opening unity aanslag erasmus mc onderwijscentrum-25.3.2024_Daan Stam-2
Vice-dean Maarten Frens. Image credit: Daan Stam

Vice-dean Maarten Frens then talked about the great scars in the minds and hearts of students and staff, the most visible manifestation being the burn in the centre. “That painful memory is what caused our home to no longer become our home, as articulated in Noor-Willemijn de Wijs’ poem.”

Frens always loved coming to the Education Centre, to work quietly while sitting on the chesterfield sofas. Now he loves to do this even more, he said in his speech. “What you see happening here is exactly what we’re doing this all for”, he said, referring to the students around him. “Despite the major wounds, teaching continues, and most students and lecturers are here just like before. Nazif’s artwork reminds me every time just how extraordinary the everyday is here. What a beautiful, cool place this is. No one will take that away from us. Ever.”

Until the summer holidays

‘Unity’ is likely to stay put until the summer holidays, after which the floors and roof will be repaired further. Parts of the work will be reused and hung elsewhere at Erasmus MC.

Read more

Erasmus MC Education Centre one month after the attack, in eight photos

Work is in full swing at the Education Centre in the Erasmus MC to repair the fire damage…