The Red Button
About the work
This painting is an image of the beautiful staircase of the former Schippersschool on the Grondherenlaan in the Charlois district in Rotterdam.
The school building originally had a central escape stairwell to which all classrooms open through a central hall.
The building, built in 1915, has since been converted into luxury apartments, preserving the original character of the school as much as possible. Fifteen classrooms have been converted into ten homes. The Schippersschool has also been designated as a municipal monument.
In the painting, three alien elements have been added to the stairwell. In the middle is the 'red button' that also gave the title to the painting. At the bottom left on the floor is a gun and at the bottom right on the stairs is a bunch of flowers. These elements refer to current events.
For example, dozens of schools for (secondary) special education in the regions of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are confronted with violent violence and more weapons possession among their students. They were seriously concerned about security and recently raised the alarm. At checks, the schools find more weapons, including butterfly knives, machetes and (as pictured here) pistols.
There has been gun violence in schools for a long time in the United States. Shootings take place regularly. For example, on May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old young man killed 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school in the US state of Texas.
The red button is central on the painting with the text 'Emergency' on it. Some companies are already advertising this emergency button for schools. For example, Multibel writes: 'Unfortunately, schools regularly have to deal with aggressive students and fights, even confrontations with parents can arise during parent meetings. To make your employees feel safe, you can let them use fixed or portable emergency or panic buttons. In this way, your colleagues receive an alarm within seconds and can assist quickly.'
Let's hope that the use of weapons, such as the gun at the bottom left of the painting, can still be effectively counteracted and that the flowers - bottom right on the stairs - never have to be placed on the school stairs in the Netherlands.