'Playing with Christmas' - 2018

In the winter period, the Grote or Pancratiuskerk in Emmen organizes exhibitionbs that are linked to the religious tradition. The inspiration square commission - in search of the nuances in a (birth) story - Bart Drost invited to make an exhibition during Christmas time.

The show was open under the title 'Playing with Christmas' on 29/11/2018 - 6/02/2019 on Wed, Thu, Sat 13-17.

From the accompanying booklet 'Hurray, a boy!' :

"... exhibiting in a church building is not strange to me. I have often searched and found churches and churches from myself to show my work there. I prefer to work with just that specific space in mind. Then it becomes a sort of 'total spectacle'. Because using a church as a gallery is something I've found. If you want to do something with art, then make sure that it has to do with the spirit of the place.

I have something with church buildings. But whether I also have something with faith? Doubtless! Even if only by the fact that I was Roman Catholic baptized, I did the first communion and spent many hours in my Sunday in church services. I remember the place where we, our family, were sitting: in the right side aisle overlooking a pi├Ęta. That image promptly stood for a bronze 'leaf-blind'.

Another thing: when I was a little boy, I wanted to become an altar boy. Our chaplain in Venlo thought it necessary for me to memorize the Latin texts associated with the Mass. I did not manage that. I did not get anything from 'other beliefs' at all.

I have reacted cautiously to the question of making an exhibition on the occasion of the Christmas season in particular. Why celebrate the birth of someone whom we know is being murdered in such a gruesome 33 years later?  Then prefer Easter. Because say it yourself: getting up from the dead, that is the better work! "


written words

In preparation for this exhibition, in conversation with a dozen churchgoers, answers were formulated to questions such as' What is Christmas? ',' What is the Christmas message? ',' Who are the main characters in the Christmas story? ',' What symbolizes Christmas, which color suits? "

The answers were noted by the participants.


drawn words

As inspiration for the exhibition, Bart Drost was in conversation with 12 churchgoers after a service in the Pancratius church. Each of them wrote about 25 words in response to 'five questions around Christmas'. Drost created a translation of 28 of these.

From the accompanying booklet 'Hurray, a boy!'

"Soon it will be October. I get a little bit distraught. 2018 until then does not appear to be the year of new drawings or paintings. I have not had a pencil or brush in my hand since January. I take back the sheets with the words and put me at the work table. Graphite marker at the ready. Because it has to be 'an exhibition' prompt thoughts about framing. But I do not want to make any new investments in that area. So I started drawing on what was available: the bracts of small, wooden lists A4 format. Wonderful material. MDF, smooth. The pencil glides smoothly over it. And it is strong, so I can get a lot out of it.

Look, you would say 'that goes smoothly', and that was true. But it turned out to be only a short drawing period. After more than 20 drawings it stops. There was apparently drawn what had to be drawn: hope, light, warmth, shepherd, sheep, the child, angels, stars, comfort, love. "


From the accompanying booklet 'Hurray, a boy!' :

'How did the work process go on: drawings were made, the young Pancratius was fully in the picture. The tone in the email-exchange stimulated me, gave me the freedom to search for themes that play a role in the Christmas period in addition to the familiar birth story. Several titles were reviewed. 'Thou, be welcome now 'From salvation and comfort', 'Do not fear'. It eventually became 'Playing with Christmas'.

The thoughts tumble in my head. Confusing, indeed. But also liberating. And something about 'Back home'. Yes, Jesus was a boy. Why was not a girl born then? And yes, there were muses again on my path. In the person of Pancratius and Andrew. Suddenly Martijn appears on the scene. A reflection from an exhibition that I made in 1990 for the littlke church of Persingen. The only one of my projects that has a boy's name: 'Seven carpets for Martijn'. It would be the last exhibition in that church in a series of six. If the boys had already appeared as mischievous boys, as lost sons, as frightened swimmers, as small emperors and as adventurers, in 1990 the boy from my inner world showed himself and he is officially in office as a musket boy.

It is 1990. On the cold stone floor of the church are 6 woolen rugs that together form the seventh garment. Decorative motifs: fish, flowers, leaves, stars, zebra stripes and red with white dots. One photo belongs to each garment. To this end, all walls of the studio are painted with motifs that are sigificant in my paintigs: leaves, flowers, dots, stripes, stars and fish. The muses boy walks, sits or stands in the studio, amidst the motifs. He is the leaf, the flower, the dot, the stripe, is the star and is the fish. He is me, the man, the artist.

For this exhibition I have made a new version of it. To celebrate the birth, of the possibilities that a new life offers.'


In the booklet 'Hurray, a boy!' the artist tries to give an insight into what happens as soon as he is asked a question like this and contains thoughts, associations and ideas that slowly but surely led to this exhibition.

issued in 2018
full color digiprint
96 pages, glued



When Bart Drost wanted to print a new year card this year, he wanted to use one of the drawings he made for the exhibition and then color them. But those drawings were in Emmen. At home in Nijmegen they only exsisted as digital photoos on his labtop. So he went to work with the paint program. And see! In no time, the mouse swept over his desk. That gave so much pleasure that he finally colored all twenty-eight drawings. And of course that had to be a book.

A little further and you make a nice movie with the best wishes for everyone.

Back to archive


Bart Drost

free artist

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen
The Netherlands