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BredaPhoto International Talent Program: Zoë Sluijs

The International Talent Program (ITP) is also an important part of this edition BredaPhoto. In collaboration with ten European art schools, BredaPhoto looked for young talent with the aim of helping them in their further development as a professional photographer. One of those talents is Zoë Sluijs. She graduated this year from AKV | St.Joost in Breda.

Zoë was delighted to hear this but also surprised. “I had not expected it. Due to corona, graduation this year of course went differently than expected. But then I had this great news, I am very happy with this opportunity at BredaPhoto.”

Zoë’s work is from the series (What happened when) I stopped pretending to know. “I don’t really want to explain ‘the message’ of my photos. I like it when people can lose themselves in an image and create their own story. They don’t have to understand it.” Zoë laughs: “I thought, then let me try to explain in the title what the photos are about. The images are about my attempts to understand the world. I can tell you, I have made many failed attempts and I did not succeed. The series is divided into three phases. In all three phases, you see a man trying to understand the world. They are staged photos. For example, in one photo, a man literally runs into a brick wall. In another, he has short planks covering his eyes. This is a visualization of a Dutch expression that means ‘being blind to people (or what’s happening) around you and carrying on regardless’. We can pretend to understand – or want to understand – the world, but we cannot. The corona period has certainly made us aware of this once more. That is why this work fits in perfectly with the theme ‘The best of times, the worst of times’”.

And now, after graduation? “I’ve rented a large secluded house in Zeeland (a Dutch province) with two former fellow students. We want to make a kind of “place of residence” there. A place where artists have the space to work. I also enjoy working with others. That always gives you other insights than when you work alone.”

Read more about Zoë’s series that can be seen during BredaPhoto 2020.