18 May 2017 • by Petra Visser
CMD lecturer Leon Schröder’s ‘Naked Rotterdam’ nominated for public’s choice award in Aardig Onderweg competition
After winning the expert jury’s award in the ‘art, culture and sport’ category (worth €12,500) of the Aardig Onderweg competition sponsored by the Rotterdam transport company RET, lecturer and photographer Leon is competing with two winners in other categories for the public’s choice award to make a dream come true. The winner will be announced on 19 May.
What is the Aardig Onderweg Award? It’s an award ‘for people who are doing, developing or meaning something special for the Rotterdam metropolitan area and are already aardig onderweg (well on their way) but could still use some extra support.’ Leon Schröder, both a lecturer in Communication and Multimedia Design and a photographer, is one of them. His project which became the book Naked Rotterdam is based on ‘Naked’, a 4-part series of books by Greg Friedler (USA) who committed suicide at the age of 44 in 2015. Before starting his project, Schröder got in touch with Friedler’s father, Gerald, and brother, David, in the United States. Both were very much in favour of the idea. Leon’s book has now been published, and Friedler’s father and brother were presented with the first copy and came to the exhibition.
Accepting your body
In a society where ‘anyone who is different runs the risk of being excluded or the target of ridicule or criticism’, Naked Rotterdam is a dissenting voice in the form of 165 double portraits of people who live in Rotterdam: one dressed and one naked. Despite sometimes having suffered very traumatic experiences, the subjects of these portraits are still happy with their body and accept who they are.
Naked Rotterdam developed into a book that’s substantially different in a number of ways to the four Friedler created. It’s almost twice as big, weighs 2.5 kilos, and contains portraits of 165 people instead of 75 to 80. Schröder also thought it was essential to include the stories of why all the participants wanted their portraits in the book.
On Friday, 19 May, the Nieuwe Luxor Theater in Rotterdam will be the venue for a big awards ceremony and show presented by Frank Lammers and featuring several famous Dutch performers including Roel van Velzen, Giovanca and Broederliefde. The winner of the public’s choice award will be announced during this show which will be dedicated entirely to the concepts of the three nominated projects. The voting for this award can still be done by ‘liking’ your favourite at the special Facebook page, via a mailto link at the website (www.aardigonderweg.nl) and by sending a text message during the evening itself.
More information about this project is available at www.nakedrotterdam.nl.