Though the world has made great strides towards increased LGBTQ+ rights in recent years, there’s much more progress remaining to be made. At the EuroPride festival in Amsterdam back in July, participants in the parade’s opening walk carried the flags of 72 different countries where homosexuality is still outlawed; in 12 of those 72, the death penalty is punishment for the crime. A team of artists has now come together to show support for these places where oppressed communities continue to fight for equality.
Cultuur en Ontspanningscentrum (COC), the oldest global center for LGBTQ+ advocacy, collected those diverse flags and partnered with fashion designer Matthijs van Bergen and artist Oeri van Woezik to sew them together into a couture dress. It was made to fit Valentijn De Hingh, IMG Models’ first transgender model as well as the official Trans Ambassador for EuroPride. Photographer Pieter Henket was brought on board to capture an image of the piece, choosing Rijksmuseum (the city’s national arts and culture museum) as the photo's backdrop.
As Henket explains on Instagram, the whole production took four days, but the final result is stunning. Pictured above (and in some behind-the-scenes moments below), De Hingh poses before The Night Watch, a beloved Rembrandt painting portraying a group portrait of Dutch militia. The gown—dubbed the Rainbow Dress—drapes glamorously around her. She appears poised but powerful, towering with stunning elegance to match the lavish museum walls. The shot seems to send a resounding message: despite sustained discrimination, the global LGBTQ+ community is united against hate and not backing down.
Cultuur en Ontspanningscentrum: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Matthijs van Bergen: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
Oeri van Woezik: Website | Facebook
Pieter Henket: Website | Facebook | Instagram
Valentijn De Hingh: Instagram
via [Huffington Post]
All images via Pieter Henket.