Drawings of a remarkable city

Arida immortalises Groningen’s icons

Drawings of a remarkable city

Have you ever noticed those amazing, detailed drawings of iconic UG buildings UKrant posts on its Instagram account? Student Arida Fitriana Yasmin makes these at our request.

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Denise Overkleeft

Door Denise Overkleeft

17 June om 11:25 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 17 June 2020
om 12:27 uur.
Denise Overkleeft

By Denise Overkleeft

June 17 at 11:25 AM.
Last modified on June 17, 2020
at 12:27 PM.
Denise Overkleeft

Denise Overkleeft

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Each month, we post a photo of a drawing with the actual building in the background. It all started a little less than a year ago when Arida posted a drawing of city market Merckt on her own Instagram page.

Arida (25), who’s doing a master in the history of architecture and town planning at the UG, arrived in Groningen in 2019, after a long journey. It was an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar country, with unfamiliar architecture. Arida hails from the Indonesian island Java.  

While she was wandering her new home, she came upon the new Merckt building at the Grote Markt. Arida took a picture of the building and decided to draw it.

She used the tag #ukrant, and we took notice. We asked Arida to do more of these drawings. Not just of any buildings, but of iconic university property. Arida has drawn the Academy building, the Linnaeusborg, the Harmonie building, and the medical faculty. Right now, she’s working on a drawing of the University Library.

Remarkable city

Arida says Groningen is a remarkable city. ‘The UG dominated Groningen; its buildings are everywhere’, she says. ‘The university hasn’t played it safe when it comes to the architecture of these buildings: they’ve used so many different building styles. It’s an interesting mix of the old and the modern.’

This inspired her to start drawing again. Arida has her method. First, she visits the building to take pictures from all sides. Then, she decides from which perspective to draw it, after which she starts the drawing itself. 

It can take her hours or even days to finish a single drawing. ‘I’m a perfectionist which means I’m not easily satisfied’, says Arida. That’s because of her upbringing. ‘My parents always urged me to do my best in school and get excellent grades.’ 

Passion 

She’s had a lifelong passion for architecture. ‘When I was a kid I would tell everyone that I wanted to be an architect. Even though I had no idea what that was.’

In high school, it was believed that if you were good in maths and you liked art, you would become an architect, she says. ‘I happened to be great at numbers and art was my favourite subject. It was an easy choice when I went to university.’  

But it’s not always been easy, she says. ‘The road to becoming an architect is hard: I had sleepless nights for four years and was even admitted to the hospital once. But I know I’ll be able to get a good job an architect. That helped me get through it.’ 

Escape

A scholarship made her dream of studying in Europe a reality. She really wanted to study in the Netherlands. ‘Because of our mutual history’, she explains. ‘When Indonesia was still a Dutch colony, the Dutch constructed a lot of impressive buildings here.’ 

Capturing the buildings on paper is her way of escaping the pressures of the world. ‘Everyone has their own way of escaping study stress. I draw.’

They don’t want beer, they want to study

Students happy that Forum is open again

They don’t want beer, they want to study

While many thirsty students flocked to the reopened cafés and their outdoor spaces, others are huddled over their books. The relaxation of the corona rules means that the study spots at the Forum are available again.
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Denise Overkleeft

Door Denise Overkleeft

3 June om 11:28 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 4 June 2020
om 20:39 uur.
Denise Overkleeft

By Denise Overkleeft

June 3 at 11:28 AM.
Last modified on June 4, 2020
at 20:39 PM.
Denise Overkleeft

Denise Overkleeft

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Volledig bio
Student editor
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One of the students making use of them is Merve Ayanoglu (30), who’s working on her master thesis for her master in youth 0-21, society and policy. For her it’s the Forum, rather than the pub, that makes her happy.

‘A lot of my friends are international students and they all went home. I missed being surrounded by people. The Forum is a lively place, which I find motivating.’

Crowded

The Forum might be lively, but in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, it can’t get too crowded. Before you’re allowed in, you have to answer a few questions, like whether you have any cold- or flu-like symptoms. If you’ve answered every question in the negative and disinfected your hands, you can go in.

Inside the Forum, people have to stay a safe distance away from each other; they need to leave at least four steps between them on the escalator. Students are allowed to sit down at every other table. Visitors who don’t follow the rules will be addressed. ‘Would you please move one seat over? You can only sit at the tables with a green dot’, an employee says to a student who’s at the wrong table. 

Exams

The rules take some getting used to, but the reopening is perfect timing for some students. Medical student Mrwan Almuteiri (22) has an exam in three days.

‘At home, I just can’t get motivated’, he says. ‘I’m so happy the Forum is open again. It’s quiet and calm here; the atmosphere is unique.’

Mathematics student Laura Oldenburger (19) is making good use of the reopened study facilities. ‘To be honest, I kind of pretended I was on holiday the past few weeks.’ She lives with four roommates, and while that makes for a fun house to live in, it’s not a great place to study.

She has a much easier time focusing at the Forum. She hopes it will stay quiet for now. ‘Otherwise I’d have to wait in line in the morning, just like at the UB. That would suck.’

Sit-in to protest racism: ‘In four years, I had only one black professor’

Sit-in to protest racism

‘In four years, I had only one black professor’

Hundreds of people gathered at the Grote Markt on Tuesday night for a sit-in to protest against racism. UG students helped organised the protest.

By Denis Overkleeft, video by Rianne Aalbers
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‘It was unbelievable’, says psychology student Mirjam Derko, one of the organisers of the ‘Sit-in against anti-black violence in the US & EU’. ‘I didn’t expect to see so many people, especially during a pandemic.’ 

Mirjam is president of the Women’s March Groningen, who organised the event – one of many all over the world since large protests erupted across the United States last weekend – together with the Groningen Feminist Network and Black Ladies of Groningen.

It’s difficult to say how many people attended the protest exactly. The city of Groningen said it was eight hundred – the number allowed because of the corona pandemic – or maybe a thousand. The organisation thinks there were 1,500 people.

Safe distance

One thing is certain: many people wore face masks and sat down to show their support. They all kept a safe distance from each other, sitting down on the colourful crosses the organisation had drawn on the Grote Markt in chalk. ‘The markings were two to three metres apart’, says Mirjam. All protesters had their own little spot. 

They all watched and listened to the speakers making their voices heard in front of the municipal building. The young black women talked about racist police violence, sang songs about justice, and urged the crowd to sing with them. ‘Our goal was to raise awareness of racism, because it is everywhere. Even in the Netherlands.’

Dutch racism

Amberlee Siland (22), who studies business administration, was also at the protest and experiences Dutch racism herself. ‘At work, people act differently around me because of the colour of my skin’, she says. ‘They’ll stop talking about disadvantaged neighbourhoods once I join the conversation, for example.’

Biomedical sciences student Soeraya agrees. ‘Racism is always an issue; it’s become so normalised.’ It’s the small, innocent-seeming things that can be so insidious. ‘Like people touching my curly hair when I don’t want them to. It’s really annoying’, she says.

Role models

The Dutch form of racism is also apparent in other ways, like the lack of role models in important positions, even at the UG. ‘In the four years that I’ve been studying here, I had only one black professor. That’s it’, says Mirjam.

‘Black students need role models, people to look up to. But it’s difficult if they can’t identify with any of the people in power at the university.’ 

It’s high time for an honest and open conversation about this, she feels. ‘There is no such thing as colour blindness. Racism is deeply rooted in our society and we need to talk about it.’