About ‘Colored by War’: The Monument

COLORED BY WAR art exhibit, by visual artist Monica van Rijn, is an interactive, visual monument of remembrance composed of artwork, dairies, and short films and is dedicated to the postwar generations.  It contains stories that you choose to pass on to future generations.


Why?  Historians speak about the Europe of the 20th century having two parts: The terms ‘before the war’ and ‘after the war’ describe the radical effect WWII had on European life. The first generation with unspeakable experiences imprinted on their memories often fell silent. Some stories did reach the ears of their children.  We invite the second and latest generations to share war-related, family stories. If the first generation is unable to speak, we hope that their offspring will choose which story they want their descendants to remember. Some writers will appear on film to help describe how war can impact the lives of those who were born afterwards, but whose lives were also ‘Colored by War’.

Monica portrays persons and families on the front cover of unwritten diaries. The portraits come to life after dark as you can see in the animation film here:


People attending the show can add their reactions to the exhibit and film fragments directly into the diaries. The question is: are the postwar generations ready to speak up about their war- infested upbringing?

The installation is composed of paintings, stories, books and film interviews made by Monica van Rijn. The installation, measuring about 3 x 5 meters. (10 x 16 feet) will travel and will be accompanied by Monica’s paintings made over a long period of time. Monica’s work, which has always revolved around seeking refuge and safety, continues to represent relevant themes in contemporary times.

The “Making of Colored By War” was presented on December 10, 2015 at Expocafé Zamen in North Amsterdam, where Monica works.  

In Memory of Hetty Frank Davidson

July 6 1920 – December 30, 2015

Monica’s mother Hetty Frank Davidson, survivor of nine concentration camps, including Auschwitz and nine horrific transports, passed Monica the ‘torch of keeping her story’ alive during the opening ceremony.  Only a few weeks later, at age 95, Ms. Frank passed away. 

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Upcoming Memorial Day 4 & 5 May 2016

This year marks the 70th birthday of the first wave of the second generation of WWII survivors, who, have yet to tell their story. The Grand Opening of Colored by War will be held on April 14, 2016 in the theater of “De Buitenhof” in Amsterdam Zuid.

On May 4 Monica will contribute a story to the Memorial Day event at Vondel Park and Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam after which the public is invited to attend a coffee at the exhibit.

On May 5th the traditional memorial dinner will take place with prominent guest speakers.