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Steenbergen Stipenduim Nominee 2018: Eliza Bordeaux

Willem de Kooning Academy
Sun 7 Oct

The Nederlands Fotomuseum and the Steenbergen Foundation proudly present the twenty-first edition of the Steenbergen Stipendium: the ultimate prize for the best photographic graduation project created by a student of one of the Dutch art academies. This summer, the jury for the Steenbergen Stipendium visited the graduation exhibitions in the various Dutch art academies and nominated five photographic projects.

This year, the jury is made up of Merel Bem (jury chairperson and art critic & writer), Henk Wildschut (photographer) and Teun van der Heijden (photography book designer).

On 17 October, the jury will announce the winner of an incentive prize of 5,000 euros from the Steenbergen Foundation. Published at the same time will be the jury’s report that includes a critical review of the quality of the graduation exhibition at each art academy. Just as with previous editions, this year will also witness the bestowal of a public’s choice award. To determine this winner, the public can vote for their favourite work while visiting the gallery from 15 September through 14 October. The winner of the public’s choice award will be announced during the award presentations on 17 October. The work of the five nominated students will be exhibited in the Nederlands Fotomuseum from 15 September 2018 until 13 January 2019.

The nominees:

Eliza Bordeaux (Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam), Theresa Büchner (Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam), Renée Hilhorst (HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht), Daniël Siegersma (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague), Nadezhda Titova (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague).

Eliza Bordeaux is one of the almost two million Dutch people with roots in the former Dutch East Indies. But what does this mean? In search of her past, she went to various Kumpulans: nostalgic get-togethers where people like herself dance and reminisce about the old days. It might seem like going to a Kumpulan would be a great night out, but Bordeaux’s photographic installation suggests otherwise: the confetti is as grey as a thundercloud, and a plastic pot palm meant as part of the decor looks rather pathetic instead.
Bordeaux wonders if there’s really that much to celebrate. Why is so much attention devoted to important events in Indonesia’s colonial past while almost nobody stops to consider the impact - the move to the ‘motherland’ (the Netherlands) and the ‘smooth-as-silk process of integration’ - this colonial past had on people? Bordeaux’s open, light-hearted approach blames no one, but she is evidently surprised at both the ignorance among Dutch people about their history as a colonial power on these islands and the ability of her father’s generation to ignore this pain and sadness.

Graduation Exhibition Eliza Bordeaux

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