Elsy Menko – Country – Artist
The language of the birds
Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (29 April 1882-10 April 1945) was an experimental Dutch artist, typographer and printer. In May 1940, soon after the German invasion of the Netherlands, he started a clandestine publishing house, De Blauwe Schuit (“the blue barge”), which ran forty publications, all designed and illustrated by Werkman.
In 1941 he first read Martin Buber’s “Legend of the Baalshem” containing twenty stories about the founder of the chassidic faith and was captivated by their meditative atmosphere and richness of images. He was inspired to start work on illustrating the stories. In 1942 he published two series of each ten stories and their illustrations to great acclaim. They would turn out to be his most important publications. “The language of the birds” is one of these chassidic legends.
On 13 March 1945, the Gestapo arrested Werkman, executing him by firing squad along with nine other prisoners in the forest near Bakkeveen on April 10th, three days before the city of Groningen was liberated.
Werkman’s works can be found in the collections of the most important museums of the Netherlands.
Source: National Library of the Netherlands
Moda grunge fabrics, machine piecing, hand and machine stitching. I have added the flowers as an ode to his life.