Gilleam Trapenberg Shortlisted for Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023

Gilleam Trapenberg is on the shortlist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023. Five photographers have been shortlisted for this year’s prize. Alongside first, second and third, a commission to the value of £8,000 will be awarded. Supported by Taylor Wessing, the chosen photographer will create an artwork that will enter the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, owing to the outstanding quality of submissions, a joint third prize will be awarded this year.⁠ The shortlisted works will be displayed in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2023 at the new National Portrait Gallery, from 9 November 2023 until 25 February 2024.⁠

Gilleam Trapenberg is a Dutch photographer, now based in Amsterdam, who was born and raised on the Dutch-Caribbean Island of Curaçao. His photograph ⁠Kisha and LaDaryon, 2023 from the series Currents, was captured on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. Trapenberg has been photographing Kisha and her family since 2018. This particular portrait captured in 2023, features Kisha outside her grandmother’s home with her youngest son LaDarayon. His portrait captures a heartfelt moment between mother and son. Trapenberg explains that Kisha, a mother of three boys, embodies the spirit of Caribbean women he grew up with on Curaçao.

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ABOUT Gilleam Trapenberg

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

Born and raised in Curaçao, visual artist Gilleam Trapenberg (b. 1991) now lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Orbiting his homeland, his creative projects look closely at the fabric of Curaçao’s social landscape, probing at the island’s many paradoxes. He searches beneath the portrayals and tropes of Caribbean life that dominate (Western) media cycles, using the camera to create necessary counter-images.

Occasionally, though, Trapenberg is himself seduced by the allure of the exported picture- postcard; on European shores, nostalgia and longing take hold, perspectives drift, and memories of home are easily romanticised. For the artist, this experience of a perpetual limbo between two distinct places – connected by the fraught legacies of colonialism, enduring flows of goods and people, or even the mass tourism industry – is a growing focal point of his work.

A graduate of The Hague’s Royal Academy of Art, Trapenberg first moved to the Netherlands at 19 years old. In the years since, his works have been exhibited at institutions such as Foam Photography Museum and Stedelik Museum Amsterdam, whilst his first photobook – Big Papi – was published in 2017. He was the 2020 recipient of Foam’s Florentine Riem Vis grant and is one of five shortlisted artists for the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023. The shortlisted works will soon be exhibited at London’s National Portrait Gallery.