Documenting the opulent Ballroom scenes of Europe
My current project ‘Opulence’ (WIP) is an ode to my late brother and all people from Afro-Caribbean descent, that still are not free to live and express their sexuality to their fullest. To this day homosexuality is strongly stigmatized and condemned within the Caribbean community. Also, black people from the former colonies and the Caribbean islands in the Netherlands are increasingly racialised and objectified. This project seeks to break out of this dichotomy by portraying these subjects in unadorned, raw yet graceful portraits.
During the spring of 2018 I started documenting the Ballroom scene in Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and Paris. ‘Families’ or ‘chapters’ organize vibrant meetings that offer emancipatory possibilities of expression that relate to gender and/or race issues in a trustworthy environment where fashion and attitude mix with mutual understanding.
Being honest and sincere I managed to gain access to this world of wonderful and sensitive people, avoiding fears of exploitation by the sensational approach of mainstream media. The black and white photography refers to the urban underground atmosphere of the previous century.
The project records my attempt to build a living archive of feelings, gender expressions and LGBTQ identities of the Black Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands as a testimony of the vitality and longevity of the Black LGBTQ community in The Netherlands and the Caribbean.
This is an excerpt from the work. Please get in touch for more information.
Awards & Grants
2019 Nomination World Press Photo: Joop Swart Masterclass.2019 Winner Selection of Dutch Photography Award.2019 Accepted participant 7th annual New York portfolio review.2018 Nomination C/O Berlin Talent Award 2019.2018 Finalist LensCulture Black-and-White Photography Awards.2018 Longlist Rabobank Dutch Photographic Portrait Prize.2017 Winner Decade Innovation Award.
2019 Aperture Gallery — Beyond Boundaries.2019 Queer Festival Heidelberg: Queer Identities in Europe.2019 Holland Festival: Eyes on Robert?2019 Fotofestival Naarden: Opulence.2018 ICP Projected: Portraiture and Representation.2018 Van Abbe Museum: The Peoples Parlement.
2019 Fotokroniek #63: Opulence2019 World Press Photo: The Politics of Representation
Selected publication / Press
2019 LensCulture — Opulence2018 Glamcult — Opulence2018 HUCK magazine — Opulence2018 Afropunk — Opulence2018 Aint-Bad — Opulence
Work, About, Instagram