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Curator - selected projects

Café Disorient: Sound of Camp / jul - dec 2022
Residency & Solo exhibition 
Susanne Khalil Yusef
 at VHDG

The exhibition Café Disorient: Sound of the Camp is the final stop in the tour of Friesland that Palestinian-Dutch artist Susanne Khalil Yusef made during her residency. 


VHDG invited Susanne to hit the road with her art project Café Disorient. Previously she presented Café Disorient in various places, including the Valkhof Museum, WORM Rotterdam, Sonsbeek Festival and De Fabriek Eindhoven. During her residency at VHDG, Susanne travelled through the province of Friesland for five weeks, using the café as mobile studio. In every new location she invited new visitors and local communities to come visit her colourful café. 


Among other places, Café Disorient appeared at refugee camps (AZC) with music concerts, coffee serving and encounters taking place. Susanne carried her own stories with her that are closely related to those of the refugees. Stories about the loss of your homeland, displacement through conflict and resistance against aggression and oppression. The café became a place of connection and of community, a place where a feeling of home could be recalled by those who had lost theirs.

From Stories to Artifacts

In her art practice, Susanne explores different ways to transform stories and events into images and symbols. She experiments with a wide array of materials: aluminium, clay, bronze and murals, which together form a broad spectrum of experiences, associations and narratives. After an intensive journey Susanne got to work at the well-known Glass Studio in Langweer. Here, she processed the stories she gathered and her own experiences while traveling in Friesland into the glass sculptures that are on display in this exhibition. 

The exhibition is a varied collection of symbols, artifacts and archive material. At first glance her work seems light-hearted and playful. On closer look however, the work refers to tragic events closely related to stories of resistance, of people who struggle for their right to live in a safe environment. She asks critical questions about themes such as colonialism, identity and geopolitical power relations.


As a third generation refugee from Palestine, Susanne collects books and films

and other objects from the recent history of the Palestine people. The history of Palestine has been shaped heavily by the founding of the state of Israel, which led to a war that caused nearly one million Palestinians to flee and be deprived of home and country. The consequences of this are often referred to with the term Al-Nakba (catastrophe or disaster). She makes new artifacts that commemorate and symbolize these events.

“Joy is an act of resistance.”

The poet Toi Derricotte once said: “Joy is an act of resistance.” This thought shaped Susanne’s approach during her residency. With the mobile café, warm concerts and her playful, colourful sculptures, she creates a welcoming environment for sharing stories and draws attention to invisible histories. In doing so, she keeps initiating dialogue and creating contexts to discuss difficult topics.

More about Susanne Khalil Yusef.


Queer Diasporas // 2021
Group exhibition // Nieuwe Vide

Where is home? How do we carry our experiences with us? How do we (re)connect with our roots? These are questions everyone has to grapple with at times.

Having cinema as a common ground for discussion, the project examines, through research and practice, how queer experiences of diaspora have been portrayed on and off-screen and the emergence of “queer diaspora” as an aesthetic practice. The 9 participants of Cineclub are creatives that come from across the globe and are currently based in the Netherlands. Each participant has developed their own project that is presented in the exhibition alongside an online program of screenings and talks. Their work is based on the group’s encounters during a year long research in which intersectionality and cross-cultural experiences were key.

In our discussions we touched upon subjects of home, the body, migration, colonial violence and the archive. Each participant brought their own questions and interests to a series of workshops departing from readings of writers, theoreticians and filmmakers, for example Trinh T. Min-ha, Audre Lorde, José Esteban Muñoz, Gayatri Gopinath and Rabz Lansiquot. Guest workshops were also given by filmmaker Zara Zandieh and scholar Beshouy Botros.

Storm Vogel
Clarice Gargard
Liang-Kai Yu
Aileen Ye
Fileona D-khar
Ana Bravo Pérez
Tammam Azzam
Devika Chotoe
Najiba Yasmin

Guest artists and scholars:
Zara Zandieh
Domitila Olivieri
Vika Kirchenbauer


Find out more about the separate programmes HERE
Queer Diasporas was co-curated with Bernardo Zanotta. 
In partnership with WORM Rotterdam. 

Featured Images: Stills from the films of Clarice Gergard, Devika Chotoe, Zara Zandieh, Ana Bravo Perez, Fileona D-khar, Aileen Ye & exhibtion photos by Bogdan Bordeianu, Nia Konstantinova and Devika Chotoe.

Who Am I Becomming // 2019
Natalia Paparva & Yasunomi Kawamatsu Exhibition // WORM Rotterdam

 ‘Who am I Becoming’ is a dialogical artistic research between Natalia, Japanese artist Yasunori Kawamatsu and five other people, who all identify as immigrants living in Rotterdam.


The project is dedicated to the notion of being an immigrant and the process of finding a new home in the city.

The immigrant is a troublemaker in politics. We are difficult to integrate. It is a painful process of leaving things behind and accepting new rules. Newcomers have to break themselves in order to reshape and add new pieces to their identity.

'Who am I Becoming' uses experimental mixed techniques of artistic research by combining the philosophy of Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken objects, interviewing and performance. By connecting the participants' daily routines in Rotterdam to the ones they had in their previous homes and draw on those frictions and similarities, the project resulted in six raw and emotional video performances which show the beauty and the pain of integration. Making the works, on one hand, delicate and vulnerable, on the other, strong and resilient.

Larissa Monteiro
Najendra Caldera

Hugo Lopez

Marichel Boye
Johana Molina


Watch Trailer HERE

Natalia / Natasha Papaeva wesbite:
Yasunori Kawamatsu website:


The project is made with the generous support of CBK Rotterdam ( O&O Research) and WORM Rotterdam. 
Images: Pedram Pourghasem & Yasunori Kawamatsu