Letters to Melly Shum

On Saturday 13 July we’ll write letters to Melly Shum, together with the artist Marike Vierstra. Melly Shum Hates Her Job, what about you?

In 1990 Witte de With organized a solo exhibition of the Canadian artist Ken Lum. This exhibition involved a billboard project in the public space, showcasing Ken Lum’s work; “Melly Shum Hates Her Job”. It was hung all over Rotterdam, from north to south. Also at the façade of Witte de With. When they took the billboard down, after the exhibition ended, protest arose from the neighborhood. Melly had to come back! Now nearly thirty years later, Melly is still hanging. Almost everyone has felt like Melly at some point in their life.

At least, Marike Vierstra has. In the same period as the exhibition was on at Witte de With, Vierstra had a job she absolutely hated. In Melly Shum she found someone equal and therefor she decided to express her frustrations in letters she wrote to Melly. She wrote about how much she hated her job, but she also mentioned how she hoped that both her as Melly would soon find something they like.

On 13 July Marike Vierstra will address Melly Shum for one last time. Together with her, we’ll write new letters to Melly, expressing our hate for our job, or encouraging Melly to stay strong.

This activity is organized in conjunction to the exhibition About Melly Shum.


  • Marike Vierstra


  • Stijn Kemper

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