The Sentinels on the bridge of Venlo, 2007, are part of the 100 key works that have been selected by ‘BK-informatie’, a magazine for visual artists.
For the 40th anniversary of ’BK-informatie’ 100 public art works from 1945 to the present day where appointed by a special group of experts. Over the past decades, these artworks have become a familiar part of the Dutch street scene. The works are a unique kind of heritage, characteristic of the Dutch way of dealing with public space and a representation of political and social ideas.
The Sentinels are four cast iron protectors, made by the Japanese-American Dutch artist Shinkichi Tajiri (1923 - 2009). The statues stand on the Maas bridge between Venlo and Blerick and were made in memory of all war victims in the Second World War.
During the phased liberation of the Netherlands, the Americans and British attempted to conquer important junctions around Dutch rivers with Operation Market Garden on 17 September 1944. The Maas Bridge in Venlo was of strategic importance in this, but the Allies encountered resistance from the Nazis. From 13 September to 19 November, Venlo and Blerick were continuously bombed by the Americans, but the occupiers blew up the bridge themselves, on 25 November. It was only after the war, in 1957, that the Maas bridge between Venlo and Blerick was rebuilt.
In collaboration with Shinkichi Tajiri, who was living in Baarlo at the time, the municipality of Venlo decided to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the bridge with the four Sentinels.
Client: Municipality of Venlo
photo by Egon Notermans