Schiedams Water Prize 2022*

*Three winners display their work in the Stadsgalerij.

14 January to 16 April 2023

Three talented young photographers have been awarded the 2022 Schiedams Water Prize, an annual grant that enables three photographers to capture social change in Schiedam. Following previous editions in which Cigdem Yűksel, Sander van Wettum and Sanne Donders, among others, explored the city of Schiedam through their photographic lens, this year the torch is passed on to Julia Gat, Florian Braakman and Bram Petraeus. The prize was launched in 2020 and is an initiative of Cultureel Forum Schiedam. In a new development to this year’s edition, the 2022 winners will present their work at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam.

Schiedam in transition
One thing is for sure; Schiedam is undergoing a transformation. For centuries, economic and social changes have unfolded in quick succession. From new industries that came and went and the continuous flows of migrants to trade across the sea and with the hinterland and the major urban developments on the northern outskirts of the city. The former gin town is not immune to profound social upheaval. Recently, for example, Schiedam has seen a large influx of newcomers – former residents of the larger cities in the Randstad have moved here to find a place to live. The Schiedams Water Prize aims to capture these social changes through the lens of talented photographers. Other than the subject matter, the photographers are given free rein; they are invited to use their own discretion in creating a photographic narrative about the changes they observe in the city. Despite the many different developments they depict, each year there is a common theme. This year, all three photographers’ work is about diversity, connection, roots, representation, pride, awareness and strength – sometimes viewed through a personal lens on change, opening a door to a wider societal transformation.

Julia Gat, 2022

Expert jury and the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
The members of the jury for this year’s Schiedams Water Prize were Anne de Haij, director of the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Reyn van der Lugt, art collector and former director of the Groninger Museum, and Rebecca Simons, curator and photography lecturer at the Willem de Kooning Academy. They selected three promising photographers from a longlist of 30. The exhibition of the winners’ work has been shown at various locations in Schiedam in recent years; this time, it will be held in the Stadsgalerij at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Director Anne de Haij: ‘I have come to know the Schiedams Water Prize as a prize that invests in young, talented artists and connects them to Schiedam through their work. That resonates with the character of our museum; we also ask artists to reflect on the city. So I’m delighted that we will be hosting the exhibition this year. It’s also an opportunity for our visitors to get to know Schiedam even better through the work of these young photographers.” Last year, the museum acquired Cigdem Yűksel’s Schiedam families for its collection.

About the photographers

Julia Gat (Israel, 1997) lives and works in Rotterdam and Marseille. She studied Arts and Humanities at the Open University in the UK, after which she completed art programmes at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is a photographer and video maker. Her work ranges from documentaries to portrait video art, seeking interactions between people. She has won several awards for her work, including the Steenbergen Stipendium Public Award in 2021, the ISEM Young Photographer Prize in 2020 and the French Prix Polyptyque in 2022.

Florian Braakman (Netherlands, 1988) graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2013, specialising in photography. He then moved to Rotterdam-Delfshaven, the neighbourhood he has been photographing ever since. Using his camera as a mediator, Florian has evolved into a friendly neighbourhood photographer. Delfshaven’s Finest, 2013 – present is a colourful depiction of the sometimes raw urban reality and an ode to this vibrant neighbourhood. The project Brother, 2017 – present, in which Florian photographs all the boys and men on the street who affectionately call him ‘brother’, was also conceived in Delfshaven. Driven by his curiosity about his neighbours’ backgrounds, he started the project In Between Homes, 2017 – present, in which he travels with them to their countries of origin.

Bram Petraeus (Netherlands, 1987) studied photonics in Ede. He lives in Amsterdam and works for the Dutch newspapers NRC Handelsblad and Trouw and the UWV. He is represented by Hollandse Hoogte and ANP. Petraeus has won several awards, including De Zilveren Camera in 2022 (first prize in the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category) and in 2017 (third prize in the National News category). He was also a finalist in the Brussels Street Photography Contest (2017).

The exhibition of the prize winners’ work will be on display in the Stadsgalerij at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. This is a special space in the museum; it hosts exhibitions that have been created in collaboration with Schiedam’s local residents. The Schiedams Water Prize is an initiative of the people of Schiedam and is dedicated to the social transformation of the city. Cultureel Forum Schiedam approached the museum a year ago to discuss a collaboration, which has now resulted in the 2022 Schiedams Water Prize exhibition featuring works by Gat, Braakman and Petraeus.