For the multimedia project We Don’t Talk, Marjolein Busstra followed the lives of minors entangled in complex networks of sexual violence and/or exploitation. The exhibition shows a series of images of places linked to the traumatic memories of these young people. By going back to the locations where they felt extremely unsafe, and creating new memories there together, the old, unprocessed memory can be partly overwritten and processed. Together, the concept of the project and the collaborative act of photographing shaped the final form of this exhibition. Could this enable the protagonists to (partially) experience these locations with new thoughts, emotions and associations?

Busstra; “There’s beauty in being able to work with those memories and to change your perception, to see yourself in a new, softer, light. We have the capacity—in the space between memory and imagination—to alter ourselves in retrospect.”

Next to the photography series, the exhibition presents two video works. In the film ‘Crush’ they reflect on the trauma. As a viewer, this video work can feel oppressive, you are drawn in. The second film (‘Mess’) is more reflective in which the youngsters express how past experiences still hunts them.

Artist Bios

  • Marjolein Busstra

    The Amsterdam based artist Marjolein Busstra is not bound by the restrictions of one medium; it is not by definition a photograph or a film. It all depends on the subject matter and how she wants to lure the viewer into her perspective. Her work has been exhibited at important venues and directed documentaries, that received global appraisal including tributes from international film festivals like DOK.fest München, Movies that Matter and Watch Docs.

    Aiming to unravel identity structures and representations, she captures stories touching on universal themes such as human rights, dislocation, and political and cultural exclusion. Although these are somewhat heavy subjects, Marjolein’s work always has a touch of humanity, humour and personality.

    After her participation at the IDFA Academy 2019, Marjolein directed her newest documentary We Don’t Talk which premiered in 2022 at Movies that Matter. The documentary was nominated for the Grand Jury Documentary Award and part of Movies that Matter on Tour. The film made an impact and reached the House of Representatives during the Sexual Violence debate in which six new motions were passed unanimously.

    In April and May 2022 she had a solo-exhibition in Melkweg Expo Amsterdam with the multimedia project We don`t talk.


  • Melkweg Expo

    Melkweg Expo

    Melkweg Expo is an exhibition space for contemporary photography and a platform for emerging artists, located in the heart of Amsterdam. With a focus on photography that explores identity, society and pop culture. Characterized by a distinctly playful and accessible approach, Melkweg Expo seeks to unveil high quality art – art that is innovative, engaging and inclusive.

    Melkweg Expo’s main goal is to nurture and promote emerging talent and present them to a broad audience – from admirers of art, photography addicts, art students and self-taught artists, to the casual passers-by of the venue’s central location and music lovers surfacing from the crowd of a Melkweg concert. Melkweg Expo is part of Melkweg.

    Melkweg stands for pop culture in the most broad of senses. Each year, hundreds of concerts, club nights, films and music films, theatre performances, expositions and multidisciplinary events together attract almost 540,000 visitors.

    The venue is located in the only surviving factory building on the Amsterdam canal ring, a former sugar and, later, milk factory.

    In the Melkweg, established names can be seen alongside new talent and emerging styles get the chance to reach a broader audience. The diversity of its programming and visitors have for years made the Melkweg a unique place.

  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • Dutch Culture USA

    Dutch Culture USA

    Dutch arts, culture, and shared cultural heritage are represented in the U.S. through the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington, DC, and the Consulates General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The headquarters for cultural services is the Press and Cultural Affairs Department of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York. Monique Ruhe, Cultural Attaché for the Netherlands to the U.S., heads this department, which further consists of Robert Kloos, Deputy Head and responsible for Visual Arts, Architecture and Design; Noah Waxman, Senior Policy Officer and responsible for performing arts, film, literature; and Shomara Roosblad, Senior Cultural Officer and responsible for shared cultural heritage and old masters.

    FUTURE 400, a 2024/2025 initiative of the Netherlands Consulate General in New York, endeavors to honor 400 years of Dutch-New York history with honesty and integrity, creating space for others who share this common heritage to voice their feelings and experiences at this monumental moment. Partners from cultural to commercial fields, from the New York area to the Netherlands will come together to create new work and new opportunities that will continue to write the next chapter of our shared story, our collective…FUTURE 400. More information:

We Don’t Talk

 archive : 2023

Featuring: Marjolein Busstra

Curated by: Fleurie Kloostra Jenny Smets

Presented by: Melkweg Expo & Photoville, with additional support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York
  • Melkweg Expo
  • Photoville
  • Dutch Culture USA

Supported by:

  • Digital Silver Imaging


ON VIEW AT: Container 12

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