Opulence | Awarded Project - PHmuseum

Opulence

{"id":32424,"grant_id":15,"user_id":34786,"grant_submission_status_id":4,"grant_result_type_id":null,"cover_block_id":null,"story_id":24624,"place_id":null,"title":"Opulence","excerpt":"","excerpt_raw":"","body":"<p>OPULENCE\r<\/p><p>Documenting the opulent Ballroom scenes of Europe\r<\/p><p>My current project \u2018Opulence\u2019 (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.\r<\/p><p>During the spring of 2013 I started documenting the Ballroom scene in Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and Paris. \u2018Families\u2019 or \u2018chapters\u2019 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.\r<\/p><p>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. While mixing the black and white photography, that refers to the urban underground atmosphere of the previous century, with converted ultraviolet pigmented prints, the visible becomes invisible as a means to give back agency to the community. By reflecting on the social issues this alternative printing proces amplifies and challenges the urgency of a new visual narrative in a saturated image economy.\r<\/p><p>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.<\/p>","body_raw":"OPULENCE\r\nDocumenting the opulent Ballroom scenes of Europe\r\nMy current project \u2018Opulence\u2019 (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.\r\n\r\nDuring the spring of 2013 I started documenting the Ballroom scene in Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and Paris. \u2018Families\u2019 or \u2018chapters\u2019 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.\r\n\r\nBeing 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. While mixing the black and white photography, that refers to the urban underground atmosphere of the previous century, with converted ultraviolet pigmented prints, the visible becomes invisible as a means to give back agency to the community. By reflecting on the social issues this alternative printing proces amplifies and challenges the urgency of a new visual narrative in a saturated image economy.\r\n\r\nThe 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 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His projects stem from probing the internal questions he is asking of himself, as well as the external questions he asks of the world. In his approach, Dustin embodies the fact that portraiture itself is a relationship: his gaze is loving, and the result is restorative and generative for himself, his community, and society at large.\r<\/p><p>Dustin was born in Willemstad, Cura\u00e7ao in 1985, and at age 14 he moved on his own to the Netherlands. His first project, Dreaming Above the Atlantic (2015-ongoing), is an intimate portrait series of people of Caribbean descent living in the Netherlands. Stemming from a personal craving to reconcile and reconnect with his own identity, the project grew into a much needed exploration of the multiplicity of Caribbean experiences in Europe. Their richness is in their intimacy; they are told from within.\r<\/p><p>His second project, Opulence (2013-ongoing), followed the suicide of his brother, a young polysexual man who dreamed of escaping Cura\u00e7ao\u2019s strictures and homophobia to follow Dustin to Europe. In his grief, Dustin began documenting the LGBTQ Ballroom scene across Europe. Through this, Dustin was imagining and experiencing the community his brother would have found if he had made it there, while finding a community for himself in the process. The project is dedicated to his late brother, and its wide ranging success is both homage to his legacy as well as a fight to beautifully make visible a resilient and inspiring community that faces relentless repression and violence. Opulence has grown into a fluid, ever-expanding, living archive of feelings, gender expressions, and LGBTQ identities across Europe. The tender portraits are unadorned, raw, deeply human and, of course, opulent.\r<\/p><p>Dustin has exhibited widely. Opulence was exhibited as part of \u2018The People\u2019s Parliament of Rojava\u2019 at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (2018-2019) and was exhibited as a solo show at Foam Photography Museum Amsterdam (2019). Group shows include: Rencontres de Bamako: African Biennale of Photography in Mali, the preeminent photography event on the African continent (2019), where Dustin was the first Black Dutch Photographer to participate, Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria (2019), Aperture Summer Open: Delirious Cities and Labs New Artists III at Red Hook Labs in New York (2019), Photo Vogue Festival at BASE Milano, where he also exhibited at Leica Galerie (2019), and the Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal where he was a finalist for the Portfolio Review Award.\r<\/p><p>Awards include: Decade Innovation Award by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the United Nations (2017) the Selection Of Dutch Photography award (2019) of which Dustin was the first Black winner, the British Journal of Photography\u2019s Portrait of Humanity award judged by Magnum photographers (2019).\r<\/p><p>His photographs have been published in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Magnum, Vogue, fluter, Blau Magazine, Glamcult, Vice and Der Greif.\r<\/p><p>He was selected by the British Journal of Photography as One to Watch (2019) and Foam Talent (2020). 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Group shows include: Rencontres de Bamako: African Biennale of Photography in Mali, the preeminent photography event on the African continent (2019), where Dustin was the first Black Dutch Photographer to participate, Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria (2019), Aperture Summer Open: Delirious Cities and Labs New Artists III at Red Hook Labs in New York (2019), Photo Vogue Festival at BASE Milano, where he also exhibited at Leica Galerie (2019), and the Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal where he was a finalist for the Portfolio Review Award.\r\n\r\nAwards include: Decade Innovation Award by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the United Nations (2017) the Selection Of Dutch Photography award (2019) of which Dustin was the first Black winner, the British Journal of Photography\u2019s Portrait of Humanity award judged by Magnum photographers (2019).\r\n\r\nHis photographs have been published in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Magnum, Vogue, fluter, Blau Magazine, Glamcult, Vice and Der Greif.\r\n\r\nHe was selected by the British Journal of Photography as One to Watch (2019) and Foam Talent (2020). 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