Graphic by Jan Janssenswillen

Denzel Veerkamp's perspective on Unions

Unions is a broad term and it’s easy to fall into generic statements, maybe even cheesy. But: it’s the antidote to alienation / polarization. Through unionizing you can make connections and build bridges, especially with the unknown."

"This is exactly what I am doing with the Perpetual Reverse Assimilation Project. I’m actively looking for collaborations, whether it’s with the Tailors and Wearers Foundation or together with Surinamese artists: Loyd Strijder and Germaine Marengo, that I’ve met through Jan Hoek. Both resulted in pure magic."

"On a marco level I see these collaborations, unions, as the core of my work. But I think on a micro level it already makes a difference for people to have a conversation with a colleague you normally avoid or don't like, or to ask a neighbor how he’s doing. I hope I inspire people to not be afraid of the unknown or the uncomfortable. To actively seek out connections, because: that’s what’s fun! And if nothing comes out of it, you probably get to know yourself a little better anyway, because you challenged yourself.”

During the talk Perspectives on Unions in collaboration with Museum Arnhem on June 18th, 2023 Denzel explained the concept behind his graduation collection:

“Early in my research for my graduation collection I came across the Berlin conference of 1884. During this conference, immediately after the abolition of Slavery, European countries divided the continent of Africa like a pie. We all know how unnatural the borders of the countries are, but no one thinks why that is the case. History was my favorite subject in school and I know a lot of "silly" facts but I only learned about the 1884 conference last year, when I was 25 years old. I found this so shocking! For me it is an example of how much we still have to decolonize here in the Netherlands, especially in the education system."

"Thus, also to liberate myself in my design process but mostly to demonstrate how horrendous it is that people did this in 1884, I have used the ruler throughout my collection. On the clothing I collected through the Salvation Army I drew the lines and divided it into pieces and then puzzled them together. The pieces together resulted in interesting volumes but moreover, the collection commented on this specific point in history.”


Denzel Veerkamp's perspective on Unions