Nadira

Nadira is part of the series Unbé t’aweró, which the artist exhibited at FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam in 2021. Unbé t’aweró means ‘soon it will be later’ in Papiamentu, the local language spoken on the islands of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire. This series is Trapenberg’s visual interpretation of the national identity of Curaçao, where he was born and raised. In his photographs, warm memories of his youth on the island are alternated with traces of the colonial past and subtle undertones of political misrule, but also individual pride and expressions of identity – more than ten years since Curaçao became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Nadira, 2019 | Fine art inkjet print | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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“The reason why it is such an important portrait for me is mainly because it shows the strength of the Curaçao woman. There is a strong stereotypical view that in the Caribbean and especially Curaçao, it is mainly the women who are in charge at home. The men basically have nothing to say. I find that a very interesting contrast with, of course, the macho culture that is prevalent there.” – Gilleam Trapenberg

Outo Hel, 2019 | Fine art inkjet print | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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Jerry, 2020 | Fine art inkjet print | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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Gilleam Trapenberg creates portraits of acquaintances and friends, images of landscapes and residential areas in the Netherlands Antilles, and panoramas as found in travel brochures. In his works, life in the Netherlands Antilles is captured through a critical use of local portraits, as well as landscape imagery (see below).

Western European and North American tourism profoundly impacts daily life in the Caribbean. Tourists often know the Caribbean through the lens of travel advertisements. But behind the exoticized image of white sandy beaches, dazzling golden sunsets, and glossy tourist attractions lies a multifaceted daily life. A couple embracing on the beach, high-school students, a woman worker Trapenberg encountered in a hotel patio, a friend whom he met in the street, and another at a local carnival, are presented alongside photos with visual details and overviews from the surrounding environment. In this manner, Trapenberg juxtaposes different aspects of the island and creates a more nuanced understanding of Sint Maarten.

Kimani, 2019 | Fine art inkjet print | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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Koraal Tabak, 2016 | Fine art inkjet print, mounted on aluminium, framed in hand painted white walnut wood frame with art glass | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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Palmtree (Blue), 2015 | Fine art inkjet print | 100 x 80 cm

Gilleam Trapenberg

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About the artist

Gilleam Trapenberg (1991, Willemstad, Curaçao) moved to the Netherlands at the age of nineteen and graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2017. He participated in multiple group exhibitions, such as In The Presence of Absence at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2020). In 2017 he published his first photo book Big Papi and in 2018 he was one of the nominees for the Foam Paul Huf Award. He’s the fourth recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis grant (2020). His first solo exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam opened in 2021. Gilleam Trapenberg lives and works in Amsterdam.

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Portrait of GIlleam Trapenberg. Photo by Almicheal Fraay

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ABOUT Gilleam Trapenberg

Born in 1991 in Willemstad, Curaçao
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gilleam Trapenberg (1991, Willemstad, Curaçao) moved to the Netherlands at the age of nineteen and graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2017. He participated in multiple group exhibitions, such as In The Presence of Absence at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2020). In 2017 he published his first photo book Big Papi and in 2018 he was one of the nominees for the Foam Paul Huf Award. He’s the fourth recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis grant (2020). His first solo exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam opened in 2021. Gilleam Trapenberg lives and works in Amsterdam.

Through his work, Trapenberg reflects on the contradictions that are part of the social landscape in Curaçao, were the idea of a utopian paradise is diametrically opposed to the realities of post-colonialism and tourism. He explores stereotypes and tropes that have manifested themselves through social culture and the Western media.

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