Black and white photo of two children in South Africa

Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie (This life is not right for me)

18 Aug 2020 Brooklyn
Black and white photo of two children in South Africa
Photo by Farren van Wyk

LOCATION: Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 5 Uplands | Get Directions



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Having been born in South Africa, but then moved to the Netherlands at a very young age, gave me the feeling of belonging and not belonging to these two different countries. It feels absurd to have this mixed heritage, but it allows me to be the insider and also the outsider and work from these two perspectives.

I identify myself with the coloured community in South Africa. A part of them live in Schauderville, Port Elizabeth. The gangsterism in Schauderville was constructed throughout the apartheid history. Apartheid may have been abolished, but the trauma that originated from years of oppression is very much alive. Not knowing who you are and where you belong is part of that aftermath. With my work I am trying to find a way to connect with and understand the community.

Using analogue black and white photography, my work criticises the historical, anthropological studies that were done in Africa. More importantly, it refers to the idea of being able to participate in building a South African visual, and historical archive. Communities have the right to represent themselves. It is time to show a more humane and truthful way of representation.

Featuring: Farren van Wyk

Curated by: Fleurie Kloostra & Jenny Smets


Farren van Wyk was born in South Africa and she has been living in the Netherlands since she was six years old. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Photography at the University of the Arts in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 2016. During her studies, she went back to South Africa for research and project purposes. This was the beginning of the journey where “I needed to leave home, to go back home.”

She was part of the 2016 GUP New Dutch Photography Talent Award. Her work has been featured by internationally based i-D, New Dawn Photography, and also with The Bubblegum Club and Through the Lens Collective in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other exhibitions were at De Melkweg Amsterdam, Photo Rotterdam, and with GUP New Dutch Photography Talent Award.

The first edition of the project Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie, was van Wyk’s graduation project at the University of the Arts in Utrecht in 2016. The project has been part of annual exhibitions at the University, running through 2017 till 2019.


Melkweg Expo is an exhibition space for contemporary photography, and a platform for young artists in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is part of Melkweg, a venue that stands for pop culture in the broadest of senses, and organizes hundreds of concerts, club nights, films, theatre performances, expositions, and multidisciplinary events each year.

Melkweg Expo shows art that concerns identity, society, or just new emerging talents. By showing quality work in an accessible way, Melkweg Expo wants to highlight eye-opening topics, and reach people who don’t often visit exhibitions.