If you’re headed to Amsterdam, be sure to check out German-American artist Rebecca Sampson’s first solo exhibit at the Foam Fotografiemuseum, the city’s foremost center for avant-garde photography. Titled “Foam 3h: Rebecca Sampson – Apples for Sale,” the show features Sampson’s fascinating exploration of the lives of Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong.
When she was visiting Hong Kong back in 2013, Sampson observed how hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers – all of them women – spent their one day off, Sunday, in the city’s parks and public spaces. She gradually got to know the women and was even able to obtain their applications forms from employment agencies – featuring a passport photo of each worker – by pretending to be a potential employer.
Using documentary photography, social media footage and text, Sampson created her singular narrative, now showing at Foam. She juxtaposed the passport photos, which show the women’s smiling and obedient faces with the text “Apples for Sale,” to the various pics that the women post of themselves on Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels. The resulting contrast – between the subservient look in the passport photo and the more vibrant social media images – provides a moving statement about identity, subculture and migrant labor.
“Foam 3h: Rebecca Sampson – Apples for Sale” runs until December 16 at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam.