GET FAMILIAR: GILLEAM TRAPENBERG
For the OSCAM x Patta exhibition, we've interviewed the collective of artists partaking in the event. Next in line is Gilleam Trapenberg.
Gilleam, as a quick introduction to our readers, who are you and how would you describe your art?
I’m Gilleam Trapenberg, a photographer from Curaçao based between Amsterdam and the Dutch Caribbean. My work is a critical inquiry on social themes that play a critical role in the social landscape in Curaçao and the Caribbean.
How did you want the Caribbean culture you were presenting to be perceived,
when you released your book "BIG PAPI" back in 2017?
I never set out to create an informative project about machismo in the Caribbean. Big Papi was equally about my own identity as a Curaçaoan man as it was about the stereotype of masculinity in the Caribbean. I wanted to challenge people’s ways of thinking about Caribbean masculinity.
What do you feel an artist needs to add on a cultural level?
What messages are you trying to convey to your audience through your art?
I want to challenge stereotypes and stigmas of the Caribbean.
You've worked on several international projects, are you looking forward to
expanding your barriers even more, or would you rather focus on more local
If anything, I want to focus on more local projects. I’ve often thought about how hard it is for me to make work in Curaçao because I’m so close to it for me to look at it through a critical lens. I’m looking forward to finding new narratives and ways of storytelling within the Caribbean.
Please explain your creative process.
I don’t have one set creative process. My work is greatly informed by stereotypes, gossip and stigmas I often hear about my island or the Caribbean. These then suggest new insights that I want to investigate further, but it can also be a photo I took years ago that makes me want to continue on a different path.
What is your favourite part about being a photographer?
As a photographer I have an excuse to look into peoples lives.
How has your history of working with Patta been so far?
In 2017 I was asked to photograph a women’s campaign for Patta in Curaçao. This is still one of my favourite assignments to date.
What’s your dream goal and/or project?
To make a short movie in Curaçao.
WE WILL BE HERE FOREVER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? runs until April 19th. OSCAM is open Monday - Saturday until 6PM.
1102 DB Amsterdam