Coin on a Mission

Coin on a mission
Coin on a mission

Photo: Ernst Moritz

 This diverse exhibition is a collaboration between the Rijksakademie (Royal Academy of Visual Arts), Wereld Natuur Fonds (Dutch World Wildlife Fund) and Centraal Museum. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Wereld Natuur Fonds, the Rijksakademie asked 12 artists and designers to design a special commemorative coin. All twelve designs with the winning design are shown in this exhibition, as well as a selection of works from the versatile Centraal Museum collection.

Pass on the earth

Since 1962, the Wereld Natuur Fonds has actively and successfully worked toward the protection of nature all over the world. Their mission is to conserve this planet’s wonderful array of animal and plant species, but also to work with people in creating a world in which humans and animals can live in harmony.

In every project, the Wereld Natuur Fonds seeks collaboration with other parties, such as governmental bodies, businesses, partner organizations and local communities. It deals with threats to nature and also works to find solutions for a responsible and sustainable use of natural resources. 

Coin design – Rijksakademie project commissioned by Ministry of Finance

One could see a coin as the smallest imaginable sculpture for the largest imaginable public. The Netherlands plays a unique role in the tradition of designing coins. This tradition, together with the new developments in this field and the cross-overs between design and visual art, make for fascinating Dutch Design.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance, the Rijksakademie for visual arts frequently organize coin design workshops. This year, twelve artists were asked to explore the remarkable possibilities and limitations of designing a coin, the Wereld Natuur Fonds commemorative coin serving as the objective.

This exhibition shows both the results of this process and the questions that were raised. Questions included: “How can emotion be represented within the technical limitations and requirements of the Coinage Act?”, “How do I give shape to a collective identity?”, “What does ‘value’ mean and how can it take shape?”. This topic also evokes questions on ecological issues, climate change, nature and sustainability.

‘Nature is the teacher of art’

‘Artis natura magister est’. This proverb - nature is the teacher of art – set above the entrance of the famous Amsterdam zoo Artis, expresses the importance of nature as an inspiration to artists. This significant role seemed to decrease with the introduction of abstract art and the industrialization of design. However, a new view on nature developed during the second half of the 20th century, as the realization hit that humans were rapidly consuming the earth and its natural resources. Artists and designers started once again to portray this problematic relationship between humans and nature in their work.

This exhibition will display a selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, objects of use, and fashion items from the Centraal Museum collection which are directly or indirectly inspired by this relationship. The political relevance of coins will also be shown along with that of the Utrecht bishops. 


Charley Toorop, Bloeiende appelboom, 1945 (detail)
Charley Toorop, Bloeiende appelboom, 1945 (detail)

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