“Sea of Buildings,” courtesy of Lou van Melik
Photographer Chantal Heijnen and her son Lou van Melik are featured in the annual Photography Triennal New York Now at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibition, which focuses on the theme ‘home,’ features work made during Covid in 2020.
The first installment of New York Now examines the idea of “Home.” At its most practical, “Home” refers to the literal places we dwell. Yet it can also stand for family, or the communities of which we choose to be a part. This vital and complex concept arises in often surprising ways in our urban context, from highly personal experiences to debates over public policy. This exhibition aims to look at how artists have responded to and interpreted these issues.
This exhibition includes photography and video work made over the past several years that creatively documents and interprets this changing cityscape and the disparate responses and experiences of New Yorkers, straddling the stories of the city before, during, and after the pandemic. The selected work encompasses a variety of perspectives—as diverse as the city itself—and consider a range of picture making approaches. From the personal and intimate to the monumental and collective, the photographs in this exhibition invites viewers to see the city they thought they knew through fresh perspectives.
Chantal Heijnen (1976, The Netherlands) is a photo-based artist living in New York City, who works with documentary and portrait photography. She received a BA in Social Work, and worked for 10 years as a refugee counsellor in The Netherlands. In 2008, she graduated with honors with a BA in Photography from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam. Her former career as a social worker strongly influences her photography – it’s intimate, sensitive and socially engaged. She often likes to collaborate with the people she photographs and co-create art with other artists.
She is a faculty member for the ICP Community Programs where she passes on her passion for photography to teenagers. She also teaches at Lantern Community Services, where she uses photography as a tool to work with New Yorkers in shelters who are impacted by or threatened with homelessness.
Her work has been published in international newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times, NYT LensBlog, Washington Post, Stern Magazine, and Vrij Nederland. She has been exhibited at LagosPhoto Festival, FotoFestival Naarden, FOAM, Bronx Documentary Center, Andrew Freedman Home and Photoville.