Who is Laya?

‘Make a wish’ says the inscription on the brand-new mural.
Photo: Roelof Kleis

‘Make a wish’ says the inscription on the brand-new mural. Writer and musician Laurens van der Zee has a wish: he wants to know who made it. Was it a WUR student?

Van der Zee is the initiator of the Beelden van Wageningen (Images of Wageningen) app, which contains a collection of all art in public spaces around the city. In this case, “art” is a flexible concept. ‘We also include remarkable objects and murals. Elements that determine the identity of the city of Wageningen’, as he describes it. And so, suddenly, there was a new object. New, because traces of paint are still present in the grass.

Weather station

The mural adorns a small powerhouse in the middle of the field along the Nieuwe Kanaal. The building is the last remnant of the WUR weather station, which stood in that field until 2008. The station had to make way for the advancing housing development of Kortenoord. The equipment is now located elsewhere in the Binnenveld along the Grift. The building and a lamppost are all that remains.

 Het heeft iets surrealistisch, met die lantaarnpaal ernaast 

A ‘bizarre location’ for this kind of painting, according to Van der Zee. ‘There is something surreal about it, with that lamppost next to it.’ The painting represents a couple dancing. ‘Pide un deseo’ it says in Spanish. ‘Make a wish.’ The artist signed the work ‘I am Laya’. But that is not enough for Van der Zee. He wants to know who Laya is.


Van der Zee suspects that the maker is a foreign student or employee at WUR and supposedly a woman. Based on the signature, the Spanish, and because the place is only a few hundred meters away from the student housing on the Haarweg. ‘I will include this artwork in Beelden van Wageningen. That is why I would like to find the name and other details of the artist. It would make me happy if the creator would check in with us.’

Façade statue

On a side note, Van der Zee also has a puzzle to solve. For years, he has been looking for the façade statue Land- en Tuinbouw (Agriculture and Horticulture) by Cor Hund (1915-2008; no English Wikipedia entry). The statue is property of WUR and adorned the façade of the Agricultural Plant Breeding Laboratory on the Haarweg until 2010. In that year, the building was demolished. Afterwards, the statue was lying on campus on a fenced area with building materials behind Zodiac.


However, the statue has since disappeared. ‘It has bothered me for years that this rare statue is gone’, Van der Zee says. ‘At the time, I brought it up in my Kunstraadsel in de media series (Art Puzzle in the Media; article in Dutch), but to no avail. Perhaps it was stolen, or maybe it was broken and is currently at a restorer. But it could also simply be stored somewhere.’

If you have any information about the maker of Pide un Deseo or know where the façade statue Land- en Tuinbouw is located, please contact Resource: roelof.kleis@wur.nl

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