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Klof, Village of Spirits

by Kevin Osepa

About the project

On Curaçao is a place so feared that some people don’t even dare speak about it. A place of dark forces and a fraught history. This place is called the ‘Klof’, meaning ‘chasm’ or ‘gorge’. It is formed by two roads that run parallel for about three hundred metres. Both roads are lined with trees whose tops grow together to create a kind of tunnel – giving this spot its name.

During the great slave revolt of 1795 (the most important rebellion leading up to the abolition of slavery), the Klof was the site of a bloody confrontation between the enslaved people and the Dutch colonists.

“A man once encountered two sisters in the Klof, who told him he would crow like a rooster. When he got home he crowed like a rooster, collapsed, and was dead.”

Although the associations with slavery have faded, it is still considered a place of evil and dark forces to this day. The people of Curaçao tell many stories about the sinister side of this spot.

Statistically, a larger number of fatal car crashes also seem to happen here compared to the rest of the island. With his project, Kevin Osepa offers a new perspective on slavery in the past. This is not the perspective we find in Dutch history books, but the perspective of the stories that arose at this location.

More about the project

Marc Prüst's doctoral research at the University of Groningen focuses on the transition within the entire visual economic industry, aiming to clarify how economic value relates to social value. Developing this understanding requires a historical perspective on the economic infrastructure of non-fiction photography, the current state of this media economy, and the role and position of both professional photographers working in various fields and institutions such as galleries, museums, publishers, agencies, funds, interest groups, etc.

The results of this research will be practically translated into an annual publication, public events, and potentially webinars. Forhanna focuses on a small part of the whole, autonomous narrative photography, but deems it necessary to support Prüst in his research that benefits the entire sector. It aligns with Forhanna's mission to recognize the importance of this project, as it can provide essential insights to creators and involved parties about the structure of the photographic industry, how to act professionally within it, and gain new perspectives on possible future developments.

Project images

About the photographer

Kevin Osepa

Kevin Osepa

Kevin Osepa was born on Curaçao. He studied at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and currently lives in the Netherlands. Much of his work centres on Afro-Caribbean identity in a post-colonial world, though told from a personal viewpoint. He uses images to explore how the culture, spiritual beliefs and rituals of Curaçao have shaped and constructed his own identity.
Though frequently autobiographical, the themes he chooses can also be seen as anthropological studies, examining questions of Afro spirituality, sexuality, masculinity, decolonialisation and family in visual stories crafted using a range of (sometimes experimental) techniques.
Osepa was the winner of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2019 and has been nominated for awards including the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs 2018 and Steenbergen Stipendium 2017.

Project updates

Forhanna kevin Osepa Mira Strea-

Kevin Osepa and Hannes Wallrafen

Explore the exhibition The Mix Nederland. M'a wak un rosea, m'a skucha un lus (Saw a Breath, Heard a Light) featuring works by Hannes Wallrafen and Kevin Osepa...

May 3, 2024

What Forhanna did

type of support:

Production grant

Forhanna is supporting this project because it ties in with Forhanna’s objectives. BredaPhoto and Forhanna are co-producers of the project. Thematically, its relevance consists in the personal interpretation it gives of a history that has been partly obscured until now, having been told primarily from a European perspective. Also, the fear of the unfamiliar feels more topical now than ever.

The project’s format is also interesting for Forhanna and BredaPhoto. With its many layers and facets, the project lends itself to presentation on a variety of platforms.

It will be shown at museums (Amsterdam Museum – REFRESH – 11 December 2020 to 28 March 2021 and Stroom in The Hague -16 okt – 05 dec 2021), commercial galleries (Kahmann Gallery) at HAUTE Rotterdam and online. Within the model developed by Forhanna & BredaPhoto, ‘Klof, Village of Spirits’ thus furnishes a new case.



Ultimately, Forhanna en BredaPhoto works towards a final presentation at the largest photography festival of the Benelux (BredaPhoto 08 sep – 23 oct 2022)

The exhibition at the Stokvishallen offers a unique immersive experience of this place surrounded by mystery. Osepa tells the stories form the past, the present and the future of this mystic road through photography, film, light, and soundscapes. Based on the response, it can be said that it was one of the top pieces of the festival.