Press Release | Amsterdam, June 2021
Foam presents the first museum exhibition of works by Gilleam Trapenberg. This solo exhibition at Foam 3h is the next step in the photographer’s ongoing, long-term quest to consider the representation and imagery of the Caribbean.
'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.
In previous projects, such as Big Papi (2017) and New Suns (2020), Gilleam Trapenberg presented a romanticised view of his region of origin: photos of proud statements of masculinity were alternated with portraits of strong women, lovestruck couples, pink skies and vivid sunsets. Since then, Trapenberg’s imagery has become more critical: in his recent series, This Surely Must Be Paradise (2020), he contrasts portraits of the local population of Sint Maarten with the more ‘exotic’ images that are familiar from tourist brochures; two sides of the same coin. This time, in his most recent project for Foam 3h, Gilleam Trapenberg has steered clear of the image of the Caribbean as an ‘exotic paradise’ and focused completely on the island of his birth, Curaçao. What are the lives of its inhabitants like, beyond the image dished up to the hordes of tourists? His portraits, photographs of interiors and other places where the people of Curaçao spend their free time and live their daily lives present a more nuanced view of life on Curaçao. According to Trapenberg, Unbé t’aweró marks the next step in his artistic practice: a coming of age.
Gilleam Trapenberg (1991, Willemstad, Curaçao) moved to the Netherlands at the age of nineteen, and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Photography from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He has taken part in various group exhibitions, including In the Presence of Absence at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2020). His first photo book, Big Papi, was published in 2017. Gilleam Trapenberg lives and works in Amsterdam.
THE FLORENTINE RIEM VIS GRANT
Gilleam Trapenberg is the fourth recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis Grant. Established in memory of Florentine Riem Vis (1959-2016), the grant is awarded each year with the aim of enabling a young artist to further develop their artistic career. The previous recipients of the grant were Solène Gün (2019), Rebecca Sampson (2018) and Stefanie Moshammer (2016/17).
Exhibitions in Foam 3h are made possible by support from the Van Bijlevelt foundation and the Leeuwensteinstichting.
Unbé t’aweró, by Gilleam Trapenberg can be seen from 16 July – 12 September 2021 at Foam. Open daily 10am - 6pm, Thurs/Fri 10am - 9pm.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members and the VandenEnde Foundation.
In 2021 Foam receives additional support from Kickstart Cultuurfonds and the Mondriaan Fund.
1017 DS Amsterdam
Tel. + 31 (0)20 5516500