New rector reveals updated portrait gallery ‘that everyone can relate to’

March 27, 2024

On 26 march, rector magnificus Carolien Kroeze revealed the updated portrait gallery in Omnia. The gallery, which features portraits of rectors, has been expanded with a video artwork displaying the daily reality of WUR employees and students.

The screens had been on the wall for a little while, hanging between the stately, traditional portraits. Now they have been officially revealed by the new rector magnificus prof. dr. Carolien Kroeze, their purpose is finally obvious. A sequence of footage shows a variety of employees and students of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in their own surroundings, from lecture halls to greenhouses and conference rooms to libraries. The videos were made by artist Giacomo Sardonini, who shot footage at a variety of campus and satellite facilities. Attempts have been made to obtain permission from all individuals. In case this was not successful: those who recognize themselves on the screen can contact

“The new portrait gallery shows the full scope of WUR’s diversity,” Kroeze explains. “The screens show the daily activities that take place all over the campus. All those different people make WUR what it is: a diverse, international organisation that appreciates everyone in their own right. For now, the screens are still surrounded by male rectors, but Kroeze’s appointment gives us the prospect of the first portrait of a woman.

Everyday diversity

The screen shows a different subject every few seconds, showing researchers performing trials in a greenhouse, employees of Facilities and Services tidying a conference room, and students working on their laptops. The artist, Sardonini, shot footage in a variety of locations, including a fieldwork site and lectures. This resulted in a varied collection of footage, which is now continuously shown in the gallery.

The updated portrait gallery is the final chapter in a story that started roughly a year ago. On International Women’s Day, dr. ir. Sjoukje Heimovaara, president of the executive board, hung a mirror in the gallery. This served as a symbol of reflection, meant to make people think about the gallery’s past and consider its future. A working group oversaw the subsequent gallery update. Chris van Kreij, a member of this working group, stated earlier that this does not mean the project has reached its conclusion. The working group is now investigating how the gallery can be updated continuously with new footage.