Light calligraphy tour in Netherlands

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna, ‘Desplegar el plan natural en toda su amplitud’ (‘To Deploy the Natural Plan in All its Amplitude’), Heliographies of memory series, 2017. Radio Kootwijk, Netherlands.

Inscription and Erasure.
Heliographies of memory in Netherlands

Said Dokins

Not long ago we had the chance to visit Netherlands, thanks to the invitation of Amsterdam Urban Art Museum / Street Art Today, Heerlen Murals and Locatie Spatie in Arnhem. Traveling between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Heerlen and Arnhem we got to know a little part of Netherlands culture and to discover places with a strong historic and symbolic value. The project was titled ‘Inscription and Erasure’ and was focused to obsolescence spaces, where history is rewritten in different levels, sometimes hiding the trace of time, some other times, evoking the old days nostalgia.

One of the most stunning experiences was visiting Radio Kootwijk, a small village with around 120 inhabitants, in Apeldoorn municipality. Intentionally isolated in the middle of the woods of Veluwe region, A Building was constructed in 1917, designed by the architect Julius Maria Luthmann. It had the important role of housing a communicational complex where trans-Atlantic connections were established between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia) during the Second World War.

The obsolescence of Radio Kootwijk was due to the development of new technologies, radio transmissions were changed by satellite communication. Even though the radio transmitters where destroyed, Building A stands as a monument to this history, presenting the reinforced concrete and all the characteristics of Art Decó.

In order to do this piece, we went through many adventures. We parked in a forbidden spot, then we walked 20 minutes on a rocky track, where wild boars where ready to attack us, finally, in the middle of nowhere, there was the tower. It was slightly raining, and while we were shooting, police arrived and kicked us out of the place, we didn’t know it was forbidden to be there at night and take photos. We were able to do just two shots, but it was one of the sessions we enjoyed the most.

Heerlen Murals

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna, Erased trace, Heliographies of memory series, 2017. Schaesberg Castle, Landgraaf, Netherlands.

Owing to Heerlen Murals invitation, we worked during a week on the production of a new series that will be presented next year, as a big format photograph situated in the center of the city, along with a large-scale mural, following with the tradition Heerlen is well-known for: mural intervention.

One of the things that stand out in Heerlen is the palimpsest that at first sight is possible to observe in its architecture: a city with traces of the Roman occupation and Medieval remnants, in contrast to Modernist and Avant-Garde architecture, all along in the same place. In the city center, we can find the most emblematic building in Heerlen, the Glaspaleis, built in 1935 by Fritz Peutz, a jewel of Netherlands modernism. A few steps away, there it is the Pancatiuskerk, a Romanic style church, erected between 10th and 12th centuries. Next to it, we look at the Grass Palace Music School, constructed in 2003 by Jo Coenen, Wiel Arets Architects, an icon of contemporary architecture.

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna ‘Inscripción y Borradura’ (‘Inscription and Erasure’), Heliographies of Memory series, 2017. Heerlen, Netherlands.

…every erased trace, in consciousness, can leave a trace of its erasure whose symptom (individual, or social, historical, political and so on) will always be capable of ensuring its return.

Jaques Derrida

By the end of the 19th century, Heerlen had become an important industrial center in the Netherlands due to mining. The government ran coal mines as state industries, generating jobs and a population growth without precedents. Coal mining became the basis of the city’s economy. In the early 20th century the industry had a turbulent expansion. During those times, a lot of ancient buildings were destroyed to build new ones, according to the new modern image of Heerlen. However, the glory didn’t last long, by mid-century the coal production stopped being profitable facing the competence of countries like Poland or the United States, as well as the discovery of new energy sources, such as natural gas. Suddenly, Heerlen industry stopped producing, and by the 60’s the coal mines were closed. More than 60000 people lost their jobs. The State relocated some governmental offices (ABP, CBS) to create jobs and ease the crisis, but it didn’t work out entirely. Today they’re still working hard against unemployment and to improve local economy.

Nowadays it’s hard to find traces of the mining industry. Almost every coal mine has been transformed in green hills, through an erasure operation known as ‘Van zwart naar groen’ (from black to green). The old mining area is now called Parkstad Limburg. Material testimonies of the mining past has been rigorously demolished. Just a few monuments still remind us about once dominant industry, perhaps a commercial mall that refers to mining towers shape. It seems that this episode has been deliberately erased, physically and symbolically, despite the great importance it had for local history.

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna, ‘The return of the ghost’, Heliographies of Memory series, 2017. Heerlen, Netherlands.


We visited Arnhem thanks to the invitation of Locatie Spatie and we decided to work on The Airborne Monument, a monument placed in the center of a memorial situated in front of the John Frost Bridge, dedicated to the fallen soldiers during Market Garden Operation, in the Second World War. The monument is a damaged column that belonged to the Justice Palace, in which appears the inscription: “17 September 1944”, referring to Arnhem Battle. We worked on this piece in the exact day of the Commemoration, and the memorial was full of photographs, flowers and candles. It is the only day of the year in which social memory activates through the monument.

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna, ‘the issue is never abstract war, but always concrete war, specifically imperialist war, and that is a phenomenon of economic life WB), Heliographies of Memory series, 2017. Arnhem, Netherlands.


It is surprising how many bicycles can be seen in Amsterdam! kilometers and kilometers of cycling routes, canals with small boats that can take you from one place to another. We were invited by Street Art Today to collaborate in the project of the Urban Art Museum, that will be open next year.

We worked in Amsterdam-Noord, the old industrial area across the IJ river. Currently, it’s going through an accelerated process of gentrification, that has given rise to a new urban area at the river shore with hotels, restaurants, galleries and museums that have turned the neighborhood into a place of production and consumerism characteristic of post-industrial cities. From another perspective, the local people of that side of the river that had lived there through generations in social care housing, feel every day more unconnected to their own neighborhood.

Said Dokins & Leonardo Luna, ‘Desplazamientos’ (‘Displacements’), Heliographies of Memory series, 2017. Amsterdam-Noord, Netherlands.

The Biggest Mural in Munich / Said Dokins / Calligrapy

My last huge mural in Munich supporting the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art | MUCA. The mural is in the heart of the city, a stone's throw from Marienplatz, at front of the Museum there is a power electric plant that feeds the city, it has a more than 1200 square meters wall, so is the biggest mural in Munich.

Said Dokins, Chalchihuite, 2017. Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art, MUCA, Munich. Photo: Leonardo Luna

This piece is a reflection on time, in it's multiple dimensions. On one side, the concept of cyclic time, represented by a great circle, denominated by Dokins "Chalchihuite", related with jade stone, preHispanic symbol of protection, water, vital cycles and vegetation. On the other side, he approaches the concept of time as a current situation, present time, where armed conflicts and wars produce extreme situations in diverse places on Earth. Dokins reproduces in his own unique style a poem by the Syrian writer Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said) about time, where the author does a deep reflection on Syrian War and human condition. For Said Dokins, the subject of refugees is very important within European context, especially in Germany and in Bavarian community because, despite the creation of several programs for refugees in Munich, due to the political and social situation in the city, the segregation between these communities is very pronounced. This mural is a call for diversity, flexibility an openness of society to migratory flows and to the new time that is arising in Munich.



“Chalchihuite” Said Dokins new wall in Munich Vía: I Support Street Art

Said Dokins has just finished his last work in Munich for MUCA and we had the opportunity to see the process of it. The Giant Façade in the exterior of the Museum belongs to a power plant and it has a 1000 square meters wall which makes it the largest painting in the city. The outdoor area will also become an additional exhibition space and part of the event area for the MUCA URBAN ART FESTIVALwhich will run parallel to the Grand Opening and will run until the end of August 2017.

The wall titled –CHALCHIUITE- a term of Aztec origin which alludes to a magico-religious protector that in the past was made of jade, semiprecious stone, and which for it effects it was necessary to warm it to the sun. Also here the sun makes sparkling the gold and silver letters on the wall maybe in connection with this idea to charge of protection energy and turning it into a gigantic amulet.

Besides Said´s chalchiuite contains poems referring to the seasons directly in connection with the texts that surround it, words that speak about the time. The work of Said always loaded with social background turns his interventions into something more than a mere aesthetic work of art. On this occasion he has chosen Adonis’ stanzas, pseudonym of the Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said, from the poem “Time” to embrace the verses of Chalchihuite a deep reflection of the time and its destruction in relation to these times of continuous armed conflicts.

“Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire.
My soul has forgotten the things of its passion,
forgotten its legacy, preserved in the house of images.
It no longer remembers what the rain pronounces,
what the ink of trees inscribes;
no longer paints anything
but a sea gull flung by the waves onto the ropes of a ship;
it no longer hears anything
but iron screaming: Here is the city’s breast,
a moon is ruptured, tied to the umbilical cord
of a ghoul of sparks;”
He has chosen calligraphy from typologies of the average age but approached from techniques of Japanese writing that the artist himself knows by converting the own action of the writing in an authentic performance.


Said Dokins in Letrástica Festival

Said Dokins, Chalchihuites, Guadalajara, México, @LetrástcaFest. Video: La Musa Fea

Here you can find some pics and amazing video by Rodrigo Courtney from La Musa Fea Productions about the last huge wall by Said Dokins in Guadalajara, México for the International type design, calligraphy and lettering Festival Letrástica 2017

This mural is a tribute to ancient wisdom, indigenous cosmogony and ancient thinking and refers directly to the prehispanic rain god Tlaloc, represented by those two great circles made using calligraphy and the geometric elements that accompany them.
For Said Dokins there is a very strong relationship in the representation of the circle in multiple ancient cultures, he began performing these circular representations when he was a child studying Aikido and discovered in a book about Zen Buddhism, the practice of Ensō (円相), a way to cleansing the mind to prepare it for creation, is a hand-drawn circle made in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes with a Japanese brush, is one of the most typical subjects of Japanese calligraphy. In both pre-hispanic and Japanese culture the circle symbolizes the universe and the void, zero, flow and constant energy.

Chalchihuites / Said Dokins / Letrástica Festival from Said Dokins on Vimeo.

Said Dokins + Ugly Food House

Ugly Food House invited Said Dokins for a Visual arts residency specializing in printing methods, Dokins worked with SatterUgly and the Master Print Ivonne Adel-Bureos in a Limited Fine Art Print Edition and we want to share with you the result, all process was documented by Rodrigo Courtney by La Musa Fea Productions:

El Ocaso (The sunset)
Author: Said Dokins
Screen Print. / 100% cotton paper 290g
56 x 76 cm. Edition of 20. Apr 2017
7 layers on fine cotton paper. Each layer made by hand with different calligraphic tools: Automatic pens, Luthis pens, Japanese brushes and several kind of nibs.
Signed and numbered in the bottom
Each piece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity numbered and signed by Said Dokins and the Master Printer of Ugly Food House: Ivonne Adel- Bureos
​Each print is embossed with the Ugly Food House chop in the lower left corner

The theme of the edition revolves around the sunset as a phenomenon of inspiration, where sunlight illuminates the upper layers of the atmosphere and light is refracted in all directions creating all blue and gold metallic. Also from different mythologies is in the afternoon when the spirits of the dark arise, where a change of mood is generated towards the night, where the subject is dominated by the passion, more than by reason. Somehow also the sunset and this change towards the dark, is reflected in the tone in which the poets have approached the subject. Dokins inscribes various poems of Japanese haiku that are related to this phenomenon, in each layer is creating a texture where reflects the mood of sunset and where the sunset gives way to the rule of the Moon.
There are only a few copies left, so if you are interested do not miss yours, please write to Ugly Food House - Art &

Ugly food House
01 33 1697 0405
General Arteaga #445
Guadalajara (México)Facebook:



El texto que se representa en este muro corresponde al fragmento del poema 'Mi Merced' creado por Natalia Saucedo Mejía a la edad de 12 años en el año 2002:
MI MERCED (Fragmento)*

Alerta en mi corazón el mercado que me vio crecer
Cae poco a poco con crueldad
Mi vida corre aquí
No puedo dejarlo ir.
Desde aquí oigo el ruido de las máquinas
Que poco a poco
Mi mercado destruyen
Señores y señoras que sin puesto han quedado
Sean fuertes
Los que amamos al mercado llorando por dentro
Sonriendo por fuera
Corazón marchito
Esperanza viajera.

Natalia Saucedo Mejía
Ciudad de México, 2002
Taquería El Pollo
12 años


La Merced es un barrio de gran importancia histórica donde se desarrollan actividades comerciales desde hace más de cinco siglos y que se remontan a las antiguas acequias de México-Tenochtitlan que comunicaban al imperio Mexica con Xochimilco, vía fluvial donde se instalaron mercados en los que desembarcaban diversos productos procedentes de Texcoco, Chalco y Xochimilco. 

Durante siglos, gran parte de lo que hoy es el primer cuadro de la Ciudad de México era ocupado para el comercio, siendo el centro de abastecimiento más importante de la Ciudad. En el siglo XVIII, tras varios intentos de ordenar toda esta actividad, se creó el mercado El Volador ( ubicado en el actual Palacio de Justicia ) y un siglo más tarde, en 1880, en los terrenos del antiguo Convento de La Merced se construye el famoso Mercado de La Merced que había iniciado sus funciones desde 1861, de ahí el nombre de dicho barrio. 

Desde esta fecha a la actualidad, el mercado ha pasado diversas peripecias, su reubicación hacia la calle de Rosario colindando con el anillo de circunvalación, el apogeo y la posterior caída del comercio a mayoreo con la construcción de la Central de Abastos en Iztapalapa, restauraciones a causa de varios incendios sufridos, la expansión del mercado informal y puestos que conforman el tianguis.

Bajo un esquema de pauperización y precarización de la zona a través del descuido en los servicios públicos, infraestructura, seguridad y desarrollo social, así como la violación de los Derechos económicos, sociales y culturales por parte de las autoridades, desde finales del 2013 hasta la fecha, el barrio de La Merced se encuentra en un proceso de cambio. El Gobierno del Distrito Federal dio a conocer a través de la Secretaría de Desarrollo Económico (SEDECO) un plan para la restructuración de La Merced con el argumento de que se encuentra en un estado de 'deterioro social', se sumó al plan de reordenamiento del Centro Histórico que había empezado años atrás con la intención de incrementar el plusvalor de los bienes inmuebles y el interés comercial de varios empresarios, entre ellos Carlos Slim.

Como en la mayoría de los procesos de gentrificación, estos planes se han generado sin tomar en cuenta a los habitantes del barrio, sin las consultas ciudadanas pertinentes y excluyendo de la toma de decisiones a quienes afectan directamente estos cambios, generando procesos de exclusión social y el arrebato de fuentes empleo, en aras de una 'limpieza social' que solo beneficia a los grandes inversionistas.

Bajo esta situación, el proyecto Wall Dialogue 2 se desarrolla dentro de un estacionamiento en donde varios comerciantes de La Merced transitan diariamente, buscando crear un espacio de discusión enfocado en la relación entre  el arte urbano y los procesos gentrificación, buscando nuevas perspectivas en el ámbito del arte urbano y las necesidades de la comunidad.

Esta pieza creada por el colectivo artístico oaxaqueño Lapiztola en colaboración con el artista Said Dokins, es una reflexión sobre el acertijo que representan los complejos códigos de identidad del Barrio de La Merced en la Ciudad de México. El colectivo Lapiztola plasma a través del esténcil, el rostro de una niña portando una blusa regional de Oaxaca (en el mercado, la mayoría de la población de llega a vender sus productos provienen de Oaxaca y Chiapas), mientras que Said Dokins plasma con su estilo personal de caligrafía las palabras 'DEL BARRIO' y dentro de ellas el poema 'Mi Merced' que escribió Natalia Saucedo cuando tenía 12 años y que habla sobre el sentir de la gente del mercado que ha sido víctima de estos cambios que ha sufrido La Merced en los últimos años.

*Compilación de “¡Lleve sus poemas por kilo y calientitos!”Niñ@s poetas del barrio y mercado de La Merced. Publicado por Periódico de Poesía, No. 76 / Febrero 2015, Dirección de Literatura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México:

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