Children who committed suicide are remembered in works of art | Family

The artist Inke Brugman experienced a young girl’s suicide up close. Touched by the enormous impact of this, she realized an art project as a tribute to all children who ended their lives. The result of that project can be seen from Friday during the Weekend of the Portrait 2022 in Amsterdam.

Inke Brugman and one of her friends both had daughters of the same age, and both mothers and daughters spent a lot of time together. During her puberty, Bregje, her friend’s daughter, had a hard time with life. “For a while she had a lot of ups and downs,” says Inke. “But when she seemed to be getting seriously better, she decided to take her own life. It was early this year, on February 8th. She was only nineteen years old.”

Everything was still

She continues: ,,When something like this happens, literally everything comes to a standstill. With five friends, we spent the first months with Hester, Bregje’s mother, to pass the time together. And pretty quickly I felt that I wanted to do something with that event.”

Brugman, who works both as a teaching assistant and as a painter, initially wanted to make a portrait of Bregje for her friend, but while thinking about it, she got the idea to expand that plan. “It happens more and more often that children take that step, and Bregje is not alone in this. How nice it would be to gather all those children symbolically in one new, fictional portrait.”

Many comments

She put out a call on social media asking for photos of deceased children who had chosen to do so. Many parents and other family members responded, about seventy in all from all over the country and also Belgium. Brugman started with those pictures.


If you look closely at the painting, you can see the different eyes, ears, eyebrows and eyelashes. There really is something in it from all the deceased children

Inke Brugman

,,I am quite handy on the computer and initially built up a new portrait with Photoshop, where all the images were processed. I then transferred that portrait to canvas.”

Brugman deliberately made the portrait somewhat androgynous, so that it is not entirely clear whether it is a boy or a girl. “But he is a trustworthy person, and if you look closely at the painting, you can clearly see the different eyes, ears, eyebrows and eyelashes. There really is something in it from all the dead children. Every freckle, every mole belongs to one of those children.”

soothing flowers

She placed the “newborn” child in a field of white daisies. As a symbol of purity, but also as a calming element. The result led to warm reactions from those involved. “Parents got the feeling that their child is no longer alone, but with fellow sufferers. They thought it was a good idea. For their child, but also for themselves.”

The painting by Inke Brugman can be seen from Friday 21. to Sunday 23 October together with around 100 other selected works at Loods 6 in Amsterdam. The original canvas is auctioned online, but people can also buy a print via: The profit goes to 113 Suicide Prevention and a campaign to spread Bregje’s ashes in South America.

Are you thinking about suicide? Contact 113 Suicide prevention via You can also call 0800-0113.

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