Unions” is a broad term and I quickly lapse into general/generic statements anyway. Or maybe even cheesy. But Unions counteracts fragmentation. Through unionising you can make connections and build bridges, especially with the unknown.” “This is exactly what I am doing with the Perpetual Reverse Assimilation Project. I actively seek out collaborations, whether with the Tailors and Wearers foundation or with the Surinamese artists Loyd Strijder and Germaine Marengo, whom I met through Jan Hoek. Both resulted in pure magic.”

“On a macro level, I see connecting as the core of my work. But I think that on a micro level, you can also make a difference by talking to a colleague you normally avoid or don’t like, or asking a neighbour how he is doing. I hope this way I inspire people not to be afraid of the unknown or of what you don’t yet feel comfortable with. To actively seek the connection because: it is precisely in this spontaneity that the magic is hidden! Then, if something doesn’t come out immediately, you probably get to know yourself a bit better anyway.”

For the Perspectives on Unions talk in collaboration with Museum Arnhem on 18 June 2023, Denzel created a short film that brings together his background and working methods:

“During my research for my thesis collection, I found out a historical fact quite quickly, namely the Berlin Conference of 1884. During this conference, right after the abolition of worldwide Slavery, European superpowers came together and divided the whole of Africa like a pie. We all know how unnatural national borders are, but no one thinks about why that is. History was my favourite subject at school and I know lots of “silly” facts but about the 1884 conference I had to find out last year when I was 25. I found this so shocking! For me, it is an example about how much we still have to decolonise here in the Netherlands, especially in the education system.”

Collection Denzel Veerkamp

Thus, also to free myself in my design process but also to demonstrate how bad it is that people did it that way in 1884, I used the ruler throughout my collection.

Over the clothes, which I obtained through the Salvation Army, I drew lines and divided them into pieces and then puzzled, arriving at the interesting volumes that also comment on this point in history at the same time.”

Collection Denzel Veerkamp