credits +-

Photo 1: Design by ST-Duo. From left to right: Erik Hammerstein, Fons Hof, Geo Wyeth, Evelyn Taocheng Wang and Nathanja van Dijk. Photo by Aad Hoogendoorn. Photo 2 & 3: Kevin Osepa, video installations, 2020-ongoing works. Photo 4 & 5: Koes Staassen, Through Play we Surrender, installation of various drawings. Photo 6 & 7: Jay Tan, Under the table, mixed media & 4-channel video installation, 2020-2021. &. Photo 8 & 9: Geo Wyeth, Muck Studies Dept., radio transmissions and multi-media interventions across various spaces at TENT, 2018-2021. Photography by Aad Hoogendoorn

Artists: Kevin Osepa, Koes Staassen, Jay Tan, Geo Wyeth

This edition’s jury – chair Nathanja van Dijk (curator and former director Kunsthal Rotterdam), Fons Hof (director Art Rotterdam), Charl Landvreugd (artist, curator and Head of Research & Curatorial Practice at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) and Evelyn Taocheng Wang (winner of the 2019 Dolf Henkes Award) – gave the following statement about the nominees: “We are delighted to be able to choose from the many artists who put Rotterdam – and often also Curaçao – on the map with their fresh, singular and innovative artistic practices. In their broad diversity, the nominees share the fact that they investigate contemporary issues, such as origin, heritage, historiography, identity, queerness and physicality, in radically different ways. Their refined and intelligent visual language transcends the current social debate.”

About the nominees
Kevin Osepa was born and raised in Curaçao and lives in the Netherlands. Based on his identity, he captures what an Afro-Caribbean identity means in a post-colonial world. He uses film and photography to create magic realist narratives on Afro-spirituality, sexuality, masculinity and family.

Koes Staassen’s refined and meticulous pencil drawings address queer sexuality through depictions of the male nude. The scenes he constructs show intimate games of sensual desire and surrender which he plays with friends, resulting in images that one rarely sees: the artist’s drawing gestures delineate the explicit as dreamlike and vulnerable.

Jay Wendy Tan makes sculptures, performances, sound and video work. Their atmospheric work often employs everyday household or DIY materials and mechanics, which she fashions into open environments with constructions loaded with meaning. For Tan, domestic decoration is a political gesture.

Geo Wyeth moves between music, performance, installation and video. Absurdity, theatre and poetry coalesce in their narrative work. The characters Wyeth embodies hope to break free from the in which they seem to be trapped, with music often acting as a portal to a different reality.

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Winner Geo Wyeth
Geo Wyeth captivated the jury with a transformative installation in which the work, the visitor and the building converge into a collective performance. Through their subtle yet powerful spatial interventions, they drew their attention to what lurks beneath the surface of supposed civilization and how it needs to be liberated like air from a bottle.

9th edition of the Dolf Henkes Award
Dolf Henkes (Rotterdam, 1903–1989) was a Rotterdam painter who lived and worked in Katendrecht. His oeuvre tells the story of the world around him: people and the port, still lifes, landscapes, the devastation of the war, portraits and nude studies. At the end of 1945, he took a boat to Curaçao. After the dark war years at home, everything on the island would make a deep impression on him – the colours, the light, the everyday life. Curaçao would have a lasting influence on his work. After his death and after the death of Jan and Marie Henkes, the Dolf Henkes Foundation was founded from the estate of the brother and sister. In 2004, the Foundation’s board decided to establish the Dolf Henkes Award. Since then it has been awarded biennially to visual artists from Rotterdam or Curaçao. The previous, now internationally known recipients of this prize are Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Katarina Zdjelar, Gyz La Rivière, Lara Almarcegui, Erik van Lieshout, Melvin Moti, Lidwien van de Ven and Jeroen Eisinga.

The Henkes Award is made possible in part from the support of the Henkes fund, which is under the trusteeship of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

Events with this show


Artists: Kevin Osepa, Koes Staassen, Jay Tan, Geo Wyeth