SOLD – Ernst Coppejans in Museum Jan Cunen for Serious Request 3FM

Dutch National Portrait Gallery and Museum Jan Cunen support 3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline with pop-up exhibition “SOLD” by Ernst Coppejans

From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 December 2019, Museum Jan Cunen, in collaboration with Dutch National Portrait Gallery, showed 8 photos from the SOLD series, a series of anonymous portraits of victims of human trafficking by Ernst Coppejans (Wissekerke, 1974). Shocked by the large scale on which modern slavery – also in the Netherlands – takes place, Coppejans has been researching this phenomenon since 2016. He visited the victims in their temporary shelter, wrote down their stories and photographed them, their faces unrecognizable, their faces covered, surrounded by their own things. The result of this research is an impressive series of portraits in which victimhood makes way for human dignity and grayness for color.

Modern slavery
From the moment that Coppejans started this project, he encountered – for security reasons – a lot of opposition from official institutions, including the asylum centers. Coppejans was able to finish his project on condition that the models remain anonymous and were given a say. The anonymity of the portraits emphasizes the gravity and universality of the problem of human trafficking and modern slavery. With SOLD, Coppejans won the second prize of the Silver Camera Awards and the Paul Peters Prize in the committed photography category.

3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline
With the three-day pop-up exhibition, DNPG and Jan Cunen Museum joined 3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline, an initiative of 3FM and the Red Cross. To generate attention and raise money for victims of modern slavery such as human trafficking, exploitation and repression, the 3FM DJs walked from Goes to Groningen between 18 and 24 December 2019.