241 Things

1000 Things is a subjective encyclopedia of inspirational ideas, things, people, and events.

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241 Things

Clifton 6
Clifton 8

During the sixties and seventies, many Surinamese people made their way to The Netherlands. One of these was Clifton.

In Holland, the Surinamese introduced us to a whole range of novelties: besides peanut soup, an exotic new vocabulary, different perspectives on life, swinging rhythms; moreover, they presented us with a remarkable fashion sense. I became acquainted with Clifton the through the visual artist Saskia Jansen. At the time, he was living on the streets and always carried a bag under his arm in which he kept his photo albums. He entered the room carrying his brown briefcase, unzipped it and placed five photo albums on my desk.

In every photo, Clifton was to be seen striking a pose with great care, in various settings from his first communion to a party in the homeless shelter a few months earlier.

The photos document his life like a sample card of the fashions and music genres of the last decades.

Clifton as Ray Charles, Boney-M’s Bobby Farell, as Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson, Milli Vanilli. Wearing a high-tech sliver body warmer with built-in speakers, or a bright yellow shirt standing next to a bright yellow mailbox.
Clifton wears a different outfit every day, and he’s been doing so for his whole life; as a child, as a visitor to Paradiso, regardless of whether he had a roof over his head. Always a different outfit, without fail.
Clifton 6
Clifton 8