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In this portrait of Felix de Rooy, he stares at the viewer intently while framing his face with his hands, he wears two prominent rings (© Vincent Jong Tjien Fa)
© Vincent Jong Tjien Fa

Films, Talks & Events

Felix de Rooy

The Museum of My Mind

6 — 27 May 2023

still from Almacita di desolato (Felix de Rooy, NL 1986)
still from Almacita di desolato (Felix de Rooy, NL 1986)

In his work, Felix de Rooy focuses on the way in which different cultures see one another. He describes his style as 'psychic realism': colourful, dreamy images in which human and mythological figures are central.

Felix de Rooy (1952) is a filmmaker from Curaçao who is also active as an actor, visual artist, theatre-maker and collector. Many young makers in the Netherlands and the Caribbean see him as a major source of inspiration. Eye is presenting an overview of short and feature-length fiction films by and with Felix de Rooy.

still from Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (Spike Lee, US 1983)
still from Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (Spike Lee, US 1983)

Watch the programme trailer:

campaign image Felix de Rooy – The Museum of My Mind (© Vincent Jong Tjien Fa)
still from Almacita di desolato (Felix de Rooy, NL 1986)
still from Almacita di desolato (Felix de Rooy, NL 1986)

When Felix de Rooy went to study at the Vrije Academie (Free Academy of Visual Art) in The Hague –in the ’60s and ’70s known as ‘Psychopolis’ – there were still very few artists with Surinamese and Caribbean roots in the Netherlands. Neither was much attention paid to the backgrounds of makers from the Netherlands’ former colonies.

De Rooy worked tirelessly, in the ’70s and ’80s drawing attention to what would later become known as ‘Blackness’. De Rooy and De Palm announced themselves as filmmakers in Almacita di desolato (1986) – about the beauty and power of nature in the Antilles – and Ava & Gabriel – un historia de amor (1990) in which a painter on Curaçao chooses a Black teacher as his model for the Virgin Mary. Noteworthy: De Rooy was also responsible for the art direction on Spike Lee's short film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983). He performs as an actor in Bulado (2020) and Boy Ecury (2003).

still from Buladó (Eché Janga, NL/CW 2020)
still from Buladó (Eché Janga, NL/CW 2020)
still from Watamula (Kevin Osepa, NL 2020)
still from Watamula (Kevin Osepa, NL 2020)
still from La última ascensión (Kevin Osepa, NL 2022)
still from La última ascensión (Kevin Osepa, NL 2022)

Among other projects, De Rooy also made the documentary series Erfenis van slavernij (2003) – accompanied by a travelling exhibition – and curated the exhibition White on Black (1989), dealing with the way in which the image of Black people has been depicted in western popular culture. In 2010, he put together an exhibition on the Maroons, descendants of slaves who escaped into the jungle of Surinam (Tropenmuseum).

Stedelijk Museum

From mid-April to mid-September 2023, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum is presenting an exhibition Felix de Rooy – Apocalypse – after the title of one of his first films. This will encompass work from all the domains in which De Rooy was active: visual art, theatre, film, exhibitions and collections. A special edition of Eye on Art, in cooperation with the Stedelijk Museum (represented by Charl Landvreugd, Head of Research & Curatorial Practice), will focus on the connection between film and visual art in De Rooy’s oeuvre.

Listen to the conversation Pieter van der Wielen had in 2020 with Felix de Rooy (in Dutch) for VPRO's Nooit meer slapen.

placeholder Nooit meer slapen
still from Ava & Gabriel - Un Historia di Amor (Felix de Rooy, NL 1990)
still from Ava & Gabriel - Un Historia di Amor (Felix de Rooy, NL 1990)
poster Felix de Rooy – The Museum of My Mind

Films, talks & events

A new digital remastering of Ava & Gabriel – Un historia di amor can be watched for free on the Eye Film Player.

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