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52 portraits of 52 people from Surinam and Curaçao living in Amsterdam.

I was 14 when I moved from Curaçao to the Netherlands. As I tried to make a home for myself in my new country, I gradually lost touch with my roots. It was only thanks to a chance encounter in an Amsterdam restaurant that I regained contact with my culture.

A man with a gleam in his eye reminded me of my long-lost mother. I instantly knew I had to take his picture. He gracefully accepted my request and opened up his home and heart to me – an (over) enthusiastic young man with a camera whom he had no connection to. His positivity inspired me to seek out more people from the Antilles and Suriname.

I met people from a wider range of creative and cultural backgrounds than I could ever have imagined. We discussed what it’s like to come from there and establish ourselves as artists, entrepreneurs and professionals over here.

A photography project gradually developed into a deeply personal quest to shine a light on our people. With every hour I spent locked in conversation or the darkroom, I grew as a person and a photographer, while edging closer towards discovering my own identity above the Atlantic.

Every week for a year I will present a new portrait, accompanied by an interview, to introduce these beautiful people and their untold stories of life in the city of Amsterdam.

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Dreaming Above the Atlantic
a project by Dustin Thierry

Design: Bas Koopmans & Nuno Beijinho
Editing: Will Georgi
Programming: Tom Walter
Project manager: Mieke Lindeman

Support:
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK)
Weekender

All photographs © 2015 Dustin Thierry.