52 portraits of 52 people from Surinam and Curaçao living in Amsterdam.
I was 14 when I moved from Curaçao to the Netherlands. As I tried to make a home for myself in my new country, I gradually lost touch with my roots. It was only thanks to a chance encounter in an Amsterdam restaurant that I regained contact with my culture.
A man with a gleam in his eye reminded me of my long-lost mother. I instantly knew I had to take his picture. He gracefully accepted my request and opened up his home and heart to me – an (over) enthusiastic young man with a camera whom he had no connection to. His positivity inspired me to seek out more people from the Antilles and Suriname.
I met people from a wider range of creative and cultural backgrounds than I could ever have imagined. We discussed what it’s like to come from there and establish ourselves as artists, entrepreneurs and professionals over here.
A photography project gradually developed into a deeply personal quest to shine a light on our people. With every hour I spent locked in conversation or the darkroom, I grew as a person and a photographer, while edging closer towards discovering my own identity above the Atlantic.
Every week for a year I will present a new portrait, accompanied by an interview, to introduce these beautiful people and their untold stories of life in the city of Amsterdam.