DEN MI SAPATU (IN MY SHOES)
Den mi Sapatu (In My Shoes) is an Interactive Story-Based RPG-Game that places the player in the shoes of a young man struggling between his sexual identity and cultural expectations on Bonaire. Growing up in a predominantly religious and tight-knit community you are facing the decision of living openly or living a lie, each with its own possible repercussions.
As the main character, you venture around the island map, interacting with various members of the community who aid you in ultimately making this decision. The game aims to show the pressure that a lot of young people are experiencing when growing up in small communities, and how things like cultural expectations and gossip can negatively affect their personal growth and social lives in the grand scheme of things.
It was important for us to involve actual inhabitants of Bonaire, because we wanted to tell the real stories of real people who live on this island. To do this we have put together surveys regarding the LGBT+ Community and the Taboo around this on Bonaire, to find out how the participants experienced this taboo throughout different stages of their lives. We went so far as to collect different opinions and stories from both sides 'of the fence' and used this feedback as a ground reference for the story line of Den mi Sapatu .
We thought this was an important story to tell, considering Bonaire became a special municipality of The Netherlands back in 2010, and through this act became one of the first islands in the Caribbean where same-sex marriage was legal. Unfortunately, there is still a big taboo around the subject, as many feel that this new Western law was thrown onto the island prematurely; that its culture was yet not ready for it to be implemented. Therefore, it received a lot of negative backlash from religious instances and groups. Apart from the rise in tourism this law brings to Bonaire, it unfortunately has not changed much for same-sex couples who live on the island, as this subject remains unaddressed in many areas.
I aspire to tell stories and create dynamic characters that tackle unconventional subjects, with a touch of humor. My passions lie with storytelling and a fascination for the eccentric and misunderstood. As a Bonairean, my work is inspired by my own cultural heritage and the vast multicultural community around me, who continue to question what we might consider to be “the norm” instead of adhering to it.
My work references the world around me, from personal background and my childhood to movies and subcultures, simultaneously relating to other millenials. Metaphoric character based stories portraying unlikely heroes, tackling social and cultural issues and
questioning stereotypes. I like working with the juxtaposition between today’s issues and the nostalgia of childhood, possibly making you slightly aware of the notion of many alternate parallel universes.