Alessia Glaviano: I think you are very talented! Maybe it would be good for you to have some experience abroad.

    Farren van Wyk: It’s not planned to stay here. I sacrificed to find my own accommodation to be able to finance my projects and many other things. In the last few years that I’ve worked, all that money has gone into my photographic work. So I was able to go to South Africa for months and funded it myself. I never received funding, the biggest Dutch arts organization, the Mondriaan Foundation, refused me three times. This is the first funding award I receive in my life.

    Alessia Glaviano: Well, you deserve it. Your work is really exquisite, the black and white, the quality, the images, the concept… Everything is brilliant. I would love to see you grow as an artist and do more projects. What is your dream? Where would you like to go?

    Farren van Wyk: I thought about moving to Amsterdam or Utrecht. I would like to be a part-time teacher at the photography school where I got my bachelor’s degree, and then be able to do my projects during the summer months. It means that I would come back and I would have a job. I would have a little more stability. This is my dream. I actually met an American in March, I’m in a long distance relationship, he’s in Brooklyn. I’m going to try to move there because I don’t feel settled here, I don’t belong here, and in South Africa either. I have to get off the farm, go to Brooklyn and see what it’s like to be there with him, and then figure it out from there.

    Alessia Glaviano: Can you tell me a bit more about the project? How did you work there?

    Farren van Wyk: It all started with my brothers watching movies. They were in hairdressing. As taking care of your hair is also a very South African thing, I thought: let me capture that. I was influenced by JD’ Okhai Ojeikere’s hair project on 1950s African women, every time I saw it it blew my mind. And I started feeding on that, capturing their back hair or zooming in on the waves, but still seeing the contours of the face. It started with that, with the braids, the waves, the durags… And then I realized that I wanted to show that we live in a very typical Dutch agricultural farm: there are barns, there are doors stables, round windows, we still have a roof that is made of hay. I wanted to mix those elements together because I think there’s a superficial notion of what a western farmer looks like and where they live. I knew that the photos circulating about the appearance of these farmers do not represent us, we are nothing like them. I became aware of this iconography; I realized that the western world – which is predominantly white, and actually talks about white people – dominates international media in all its forms, and then it clicked. I was digging into what already exists, in relation to what we do and how I can mix the two. I also took over the work of Dana Lixenberg and Deana Lawson. I started studying anthropology for my masters in 2021. I also researched early portraits that were taken in South Africa by white western-born anthropologists, photographing nearly naked people to reinforce racial ideas . So there’s a picture where there were four of us, we have sheets in the back, and my brothers have a Tupac and Biggie t-shirt, and I have an Aaliyah t-shirt, and then the youngest brother has the LeBron Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, the year they became NBA champions. I knew pieces of that story and tried to put it together like a puzzle. It all starts in my brain, there are all these puzzle pieces. And then I try to figure out how to put it together and what makes sense, but also, sometimes my instinct was just like, ‘We’ll put this together and you’ll just do the picture and then you’ll figure it out later.’ \

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