In 1983, the 15 year old Antillean boy Kerwin Duinmeijer was murdered in Amsterdam by a skinhead. Since, Duinmeijer’s death has become a symbol of racist violence in the Netherlands. The story has always struck Andrea Radai, not only because it provides an insight into glaring racism of Dutch society, but perhaps even more because of Kerwin’s backstory. After migrating to the Netherlands from Curaçao as a child, Kerwin (then still called Kerwin Lucas) had had a difficult relationship with his mother and moved in with the white Duinmeijer family, ultimately even taking on their name.
Years ago Radai stumbled upon holiday photographs of the Duinmeijers. In the snapshots we see Kerwin playing badminton and the family relaxing around their caravan. The images are mundane. Yet it is in their very banality that they offer a striking testimony of a struggle around identity, which in retrospect is radically complicated by Kerwin’s violent death.
In her work, Radai often focuses on the blurred boundaries of the private and the public, as well as on the (dis)comfort of voyeurism. The paintings of the Duinmeijer family form a new, urgent exploration of these themes as the holiday photographs offer an entry point to explore power dynamics in the intimate arena of the family.