Kevin Osepa

Stroom Den Haag (16 Oct. – 5 Dec. 2021)

Installation view Kevin Osepa, Klof: Bario di Spiritu (2021), Stroom Den Haag. Photo Franz Mueller Schmidt. All rights reserved by Hartwig Art Foundation.

Kevin Osepa is a storyteller, whose way of telling stories derives from the ritual practices that emerged throughout the Caribbean during the colonial period. Osepa is interested in portraying the Afro-Caribbean identity in a postcolonial world, and explores themes such as Afrospirituality, sexuality, masculinity, decoloniality and family. His work aims to create a space for these perspectives in order to counterbalance the often one-sided narrative of colonial history.

Klof: Bario di Spiritu presented at Stroom Den Haag (16 Oct. – 5 Dec 2021) is a multi-media installation about Klof, a tree-lined street in Curaçao. This road is said to be a dangerous place. As a child, Osepa was told the ghost stories that circulate about Klof. Behind those stories is a history that remains untold: this is the place where in 1795 enslaved people revolted and fought a bloody battle with their Dutch oppressors. Osepa created images and rituals at this charged place, to take back to the Netherlands, where this history of struggle and resistance is buried much deeper in the collective memory. This installation is a direct reference to how the ghosts of colonialism can manifest themselves and disappear. It is a deep reflection on how colonial traumas are passed down, distorting over time but remaining present, and how they can reemerge anew. Through a circuit of fountains, lights, and soundscapes in the exhibition space, Osepa casts a protection over the visitors keeping the ghosts of Klof at bay.

A performance programme takes place on Friday 26 Nov. 2021, featuring works by Eugenie Boon, Travis Geertruida and Guenn Gustina that introduce storytelling and ritual practices to further the presence of Klof’s ghosts into collective memory.

The exhibition is accompanied by texts by Layo de Palm, a Curaçao-based anthropologist who has written a book of collected stories from the people around Klof. The presentation features sculptures of the Kokolishi Kalakuna, a snail species endemic to the ABC-islands.

About the artist

Kevin Osepa is a visual artist and photographer from Curaçao. He graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2017. Osepa’s work has exhibited at the Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam), the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam), Unseen (Amsterdam), Stedelijk Museum Schiedam and TENT Rotterdam. As a videographer he was nominated for a Golden Calf and best debut at the Netherlands Film Festival (2020) and directed the video for Jeangu Macrooy, the Netherlands’ representation at the 2021 Eurovision Music Festival.