Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Zijlstra, Willem - VM - Willem Zijlstra

Willem Zijlstra: Agnus Dei
Behold the Lamb of God
by Willem Zijlstra
During a church service in which we sang about ‘the Lamb of God slaughtered for us’ I thought: ‘Do we still know what this is all about?’
Then I bought a lamb. I filmed it during its birth, its life, and while it was being slaughtered. I stood face to face with the essence of this biblical theme: an innocent animal, barely half a year old, is brought to the slaughter without resisting, without having done anything wrong.
Next I had the lamb stuffed. I built an altar of newspapers, piling up the inability of human beings to live in peace. Unfolding the papers I found this title: ‘Man is capable of anything.’ It was an article about the Holocaust.
The moment the lamb put its head next to this title and the photo of Auschwitz it became to me a touching icon of Jesus himself, who voluntarily gave his life as a blameless and everlasting sacrifice.
Willem Zijlstra: Agnus Dei, 50x85x62 cm, stuffed lamb, newspapers, 2005.
Willem Zijlstra (1954) studied at the Art Academy in Amsterdam. He works as an art teacher in secundary education and teaches painting at the Gooise Academy in Laren, The Netherlands. In his autonomous work forms take shape based on observation or themes such as growth, sacrifice, and horizon. While trained as a painter and draughtsman, over the past ten years his focus has shifted towards three-dimensional work in bronze, wood and other materials suitable for a powerful rendering of his themes. Since two years he also explores film and a more multidisciplinary approach. In 2005 his work Agnus Dei was exhibited in the Singer Museum, Laren, The Netherlands. This caused some commotion due to the confronting character of the work. This made him glad. He says: ‘I like to put dead and dried out images on edge again.’  
Artway Visual meditation February 26, 2012