Dustin Thierry (b.1985) Willemstad, Curaçao, lives and works in Amsterdam.In his photos he addresses issues that are often as personal as they are social: Thierry is fascinated by what drives people. In a world where opinions and pictures fly by in a fleeting way, he aims to capture moments of stillness for reflection. He believes that every image comes into its own when given the time and attention it deserves. That’s why Thierry tends to prefer the use of traditional methods, stating: ”part of their incomparable beauty lies in the manual process of developing and printing, in which the slowing down of time plays a vital role.”
working title: Black Queer Diaspora in The Netherlands
I’m currently documenting the ballroom scène in the Netherlands as a visual pre-research for my current project with researcher Wigbertson Julian Isenia on gender and sexuality. (working title) Black Queer Diaspora in the Netherlands closely collaborates with the research project Cultural Practices of Citizenship: Gender and Sexual Citizenship in Curaçao and Bonaire by the University of Amsterdam and the University of Curaçao conducted by Wigbertson Julian Isenia (PhD candidate).
My current project, (working title) ‘Black Queer Diaspora in the Netherlands’ is an ode to my late brother and all people from Afro-Caribbean descent, that still are not free to live and express their sexuality to their fullest. To this day homosexuality is strongly stigmatized and condemned within the Caribbean community. Also, black people from the former colonies and the Caribbean islands in the Netherlands are increasingly racialized and objectified. This project seeks to break out of this dichotomy by portraying these subjects in unadorned, raw, yet graceful portraits.
The project records my attempt to build a living archive of feelings, gender expressions, and LGBTQ identities of the Black Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands as a testimony of the vitality and longevity of the Black LGBTQ community in The Netherlands and the Caribbean.
Declining to put these subjects on a pedestal, idolizing them and denying their flaws, and refusing to portray these subjects solely as victims, I seek to bring (more) justice, acceptance, and knowledge through my photos. Through intimate portraits of LGBTQI Afro-Caribbeans living in the Netherlands and Curaçao, I hope to, on the one hand, show the resilience of black LGBTQIs and on the other hand, show a more positive picture of black gay culture. It serves as an inspiration for bicultural LGBTQI youth and provides insight into and knowledge about the position of this vulnerable group in society.
To view more of Dustin Thierry’s work please visit his website.