About 2020

Exhibition and events suspended until further notice due to COVID-19

Opening gala and prize giving
7th March 2020
Finissage and visitors’ choice award
4th April 2020
Regular opening hours
8th March to 4th April 2020
Thursday to Sunday
12:00 to 18:00

NDSM-Fuse Gallery
1033 WC Amsterdam



Welcome to the Smash the Narrative project. The purpose of this project is to use art to promote public discussion around major political and social issues. Every two years we award a prize for art relating to a specific topic.

Last year’s theme was alternative interpretations of nationality, “Alter-Nation”. We had over 100 entries from around the world. The top twenty artists were showcased in a month long special exhibition at GO Gallery Amsterdam. The top three artists were awarded prizes of €2,500, €1,000 and €500.

This years theme is titled “You can’t paint that!“. The topic is taboo and censorship. This is an important issue at the moment with governments, educational institutions and big tech companies taking it upon themselves to decide which ideas can and can’t be discussed. We would like to encourage artists to think about what it feels like to be told they should avoid expressing certain ideas or alternatively the necessity of limiting creative and intellectual expression to avoid causing offence.

Why Smash the Narrative?

Narratives are the stories which we use to make sense of the world. But the same set of objective facts about a series of event will be interpreted as radically different stories by different groups of people. It is all too easy to become complacent and take the narratives we hear in the media or from the people around us at face value. The purpose of this project it to challenge popular narratives and encourage people to question the way they view the world.

This art prize is designed to encourage artists to examine evolving notions related to national identity in the current year and express them through their work in a manner that can have an impact on the the general public. Artists are encouraged to push the boundaries of discourse and create work that is leads to viewer to look at life in a way they had never considered before.


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Saturday 7 March

16:00 – 17:00
Grand Opening & Award Ceremony

Grand Opening of You Can’t Paint That art competition exhibit, with thought-provoking art from all around the world, brought together by Smash The Narrative.

Join us for the festive kick off and the awarding of our 1st & 2nd prizes for the art competition! With drinks and snacks and thought provoking art! And a chance to vote for your favourite for the Public Choice Award.

Music by Bahghi Yemane
Hosted by Xina Mercken (Storytrooper)

Sunday 8 March

15:00 – 17:30
Stories Without Heroes / Debunking the Monomyth

The myth of the Monomyth – sharing stories without heroes 

It is said, in the halls of storytelling, literature and film, that all myths tell one story: the monomyth of the hero’s journey. A hero sets out on a quest, encounters enemies that work against him, wins a decisive victory and comes back with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. 

What a story! A story of battles and villains, good versus bad, success and not giving in to the forces that work against you. But is it truly the only story? 

What about tales with no winner or villain? Is the hero always good? Is his violence justified? Why is he usually a man? What about heroines who return home from their victory only to discover that they are still lacking privilege? Who decides who’s the hero and who’s the villain? And what about compromise, acceptance, community…?

During Debunking the Monomyth we share stories without clear heroes or villains, without battles or victories. And discuss the effects this monomyth has on storytelling and society as a whole.

15:00 How Battles Kill Our Stories: a condemnation of the Hero’s Journey – diatribe & open discussion

16:00 That’s Not A Story! – sharing stories without heroes

Want to share a non-hero story yourself? Bring it with you! We have space for spontaneous stories.

Saturday 14 March &
Sunday 15 March

13:00 – 15:30
Habitat of Dissent / Artistic Interventions
Current: a space

As artists who have recently moved to the Netherlands for residencies, Sarah Naqvi, Pankaj Tiwari & Abhishek Thapar are now identifying their roles as artists in resistance rather than residence.

“It is our attempt in recognising our position and in creating agency in the ongoing revolution happening in India. Understanding that the spaces we occupy here in Netherlands, currently provide us with the safety and visibility that the millions in protests lack in India. It is thus become imperative to collectively work as acting mediums to amplify the visibility of the protests in India.”

The popular Indian media is complicit and has played a huge role in hate mongering and creating obstacles for any attempt at dissent. As far as non-resident Indians go, a narrative has been tailored to label them as BJP allies, and the artists seek with this performance to reclaim their voice, build a space of engagement and dialogue and dismiss the false forced one.

Habitat of Dissent is a durational performance of artistic interventions exploring the idea of ‘safety net in resistance’ and building a culture of care.

Saturday 21 March

15:00 – 17:00
You Can’t Say That / Spoken Word
If Walls Could Talk 

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Or can you? It seems the list is growing for things we can’t say, or more accurately, topics we don’t understand fully. Unpopular opinions hunger for nuanced discussion, which is exactly what we’re missing in an increasingly polarised world. We want to challenge norms and ways of seeing the world with the respect and complexity they deserve. Not an event for the simple minded. 

Want to participate? Interested poets can email host of the event Clarissa for a slot at clarissasay@gmail.com with two written pieces or videos of their performance.

Sunday 22 March

13:00 – 18:00
You Can’t Cut That / Collage Party  
Pytr Baum & Edo Poland (Cut & Paste Art) 

Open Collage Party! Come grab some scissors & glue and join us to create your own narrative! 

YOU are the censor.

Collage is a tool for freedom of expression. Our base material is the social narrative as it is expressed through the media that we use; pictures in books and magazines.

Our goal is to sublimate the narrative by censoring it: quite literally, we put the scissors in it. We cut off what we don’t want and we add what we like and whatever the outcome it is always a map of our inner state and a comment on the social narrative. Through this process of sublimation we attain artistic freedom. 

You Can’t Cut That Collage Party is hosted by Pytr Baum and Edo Poland. 

Saturday 28 March

14:00 – 17:00 
Alternate Perspectives / Stories that Matter  
Tours That Matter

The tours of Amsterdam sell a similar story, a cozy mix of cheese, clogs, water, tolerance, weed and red lights; selling an image those living in Amsterdam often do not recognise. 

Tours That Matter – Amsterdam wants to break this narrative, using tours as a tool of protest. Their aim: to create awareness of the topics that really matter, give voices to the stories of people and places that are less heard and to support local initiatives. Using stories as a form of protest.

Come settle on our pillows and listen to stories sharing alternate perspectives. And perhaps even share your own story too.

Sunday 29 March

14:00 – 18:00
Rock ’n Roll Rebellion / Punk Extravaganza
Rock ’n Roll Sailor presents The Electrosun Project

The Electrosun Project is a collective of solo artists, initiated by writer, installation artist and performer Rock ‘ n Roll Sailor to bring spoken word, music and visual arts together in a contemporary stream of consciousness, without stepping into the old opposition of individual against collective and based on the experience that through sharing our extremes and accepting, we can broaden our experience to such extent that we dynamically relate to others, to nature, to ideas… that is where Art becomes the great communicator.

For NDSM Fuse The Electrosun Project presents:
Hard Kock (vocals, guitar & electronics)
Mr. Moodswing (electronics)
Valal (bass, synths & keyboard)
Lady M & Jasiek (contemporary dance)
Rock ‘n Roll Sailor (host & lead vocals)
& …. more surprise members! 

14:15 – First performance
16:15 – Second performance

Thursday 2 April

15:00 – 18:00
Circular Aurality / Forming Sound & Space
Vincent Arp

Friday 3 April

12:00 – 15:00
Circular Aurality / Forming Sound & Space
Vincent Arp

An exploration of non-linear musical concepts and the connection between sound, space and time.

Music is the aesthetic perception of sound in time and sound creates, fills and defines space. In the conventional western framework, musical pieces are considered to have a beginning, a development and an end. Vincent Arp sees this as an analogy of the general western conception of human existence and the narratives found in all facets of western culture.

In Circular Aurality Arp spreads the musical elements of the composition sonically around the room, creating multiple possible narratives at once. The musical development is defined by the movement of the listener through the space, while the musical elements and sounds are being created, formed and transformed in real time.

This performance/Installation will premiere on 2nd of April and is dedicated to Vincent Arp’s uncle Klaus, who passed away in 2016. The day of the premiere will be the 70th anniversary of his day of birth. He was a big influence on Vincent’s musical and artistic development and continues to inspire him till today. Recordings he made on Klaus’ instruments will form an integral part of the installation.

Friday 3 April

15:00 – 17:00
For the Little One to See / Auditory Dance 
Nahir Francis 

As a black non-binary “queer” person Nahir Francis spent much of his time and energy unpacking and processing the social aspects of his life. Leaving him wondering now what lessons he might have learned if he had seen accessible representations of people like him when he was a child.

Now as a performer he brings us an auditory and visual/physical performance, seeking to underline the importance of wonder and existence through shared stories, queer community awareness and live self-expression. 

Saturday 4 April

12:00 – 18:00
Embodying Truth / Artistic Intervention 
Renzo de Pablo 

In Embodying Truth Renzo de Pablo chooses to embody truths that have been silenced to avoid others feeling guilt, shame, discomfort or sadness. Truths that are not his alone, but the collected unheard and censored truths of his father, brothers and self. As siblings, as family members, as strangers, as black men. 

Embodying Truth is a durational performance that will start at Central Station from where Renzo will travel back and forth by ferry, bringing with him the materials he needs to create a space in NDSM Fuse where he can voice his truth.

Finissage and audience choice award



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