Arida immortalises Groningen’s icons
Drawings of a remarkable city
Each month, we post a photo of a drawing with the actual building in the background. It all started a little less than a year ago when Arida posted a drawing of city market Merckt on her own Instagram page.
Arida (25), who’s doing a master in the history of architecture and town planning at the UG, arrived in Groningen in 2019, after a long journey. It was an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar country, with unfamiliar architecture. Arida hails from the Indonesian island Java.
While she was wandering her new home, she came upon the new Merckt building at the Grote Markt. Arida took a picture of the building and decided to draw it.
She used the tag #ukrant, and we took notice. We asked Arida to do more of these drawings. Not just of any buildings, but of iconic university property. Arida has drawn the Academy building, the Linnaeusborg, the Harmonie building, and the medical faculty. Right now, she’s working on a drawing of the University Library.
Arida says Groningen is a remarkable city. ‘The UG dominated Groningen; its buildings are everywhere’, she says. ‘The university hasn’t played it safe when it comes to the architecture of these buildings: they’ve used so many different building styles. It’s an interesting mix of the old and the modern.’
This inspired her to start drawing again. Arida has her method. First, she visits the building to take pictures from all sides. Then, she decides from which perspective to draw it, after which she starts the drawing itself.
It can take her hours or even days to finish a single drawing. ‘I’m a perfectionist which means I’m not easily satisfied’, says Arida. That’s because of her upbringing. ‘My parents always urged me to do my best in school and get excellent grades.’
She’s had a lifelong passion for architecture. ‘When I was a kid I would tell everyone that I wanted to be an architect. Even though I had no idea what that was.’
In high school, it was believed that if you were good in maths and you liked art, you would become an architect, she says. ‘I happened to be great at numbers and art was my favourite subject. It was an easy choice when I went to university.’
But it’s not always been easy, she says. ‘The road to becoming an architect is hard: I had sleepless nights for four years and was even admitted to the hospital once. But I know I’ll be able to get a good job an architect. That helped me get through it.’
A scholarship made her dream of studying in Europe a reality. She really wanted to study in the Netherlands. ‘Because of our mutual history’, she explains. ‘When Indonesia was still a Dutch colony, the Dutch constructed a lot of impressive buildings here.’
Capturing the buildings on paper is her way of escaping the pressures of the world. ‘Everyone has their own way of escaping study stress. I draw.’