Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta (2018), a video installation featuring four films

Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta is a video installation with four films about street vendors in four cities on four different continents. We watch the vendors as they are are being observed by Su Tomesen in their daily trials and tribulations. The entrepreneurs prove to be resourceful in their claim of the sidewalks and, while improvising, they manage to generate their income. Tomesen portrays them while revealing the beauty of unintentional compositions, colors, forms and repetitive qualities. By this, the four films remind of installation art and performances.

The day elapses and enfolds – without any voice-over, dialogue or explanation. The rhythm of the films follows the rhythm of a day. The repetition found in situations and activities that occur every single day, regardless of the weather are like a scripted reality; as if time stands still and repeats itself endlessly in different variations.

The films about the wondrous world of the urban micro economy and resourcefulness in the public domain in Medellín (the episode Calle), Tirana (Rruga), Johannesburg (Street) and Yogyakarta (Jalan) can be presented next to each other as a four-channel video installation with one soundtrack, or separately as a single screen work. Each film lasts half an hour and all films start at beginning of the day and end at approximately the same time.

The project has been made possible by generous support of Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Tijl Fonds, Nederlands Filmfonds, Stichting Stokroos.

Su Tomesen is an artist and filmmaker based in Amsterdam and Yogyakarta. Her work consists of videos, photography and installations. In the past years she’s had solo exhibitions in Erasmus Huis in Jakarta, Casa Tres Patios in Medellín and the Polar room in W139 in Amsterdam. Since 2017 her work is structurally supported for four years by Mondriaan Fund, thanks to their Stipend for Established Artists. At this moment she is preparing a new film, the fifth episode, about street vendors in Damascus.

Watch the four films

Exhibitions of Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta:

The installation had its World Premiere at the 38th edition of the Netherlands Film Festival 2018 in Utrecht, September 28 until October 4. Ten hours a day the work has been exhibited at the venue JK24;
After the World Premiere Street vendors was part of the art fair BIG ART Bajes in the former Amsterdam jail, October 11 till 14 in Amsterdam. There the installation was exhibited for eight hours a day and had thousands of visitors;


Street vendors is having its Indonesian premiere at Ruang MES 56 in Yogyakarta on December 12 at 7 PM. The work is exhibited for a month in the two gallery rooms following a North-South and West-East logic. The show is part of Festival Film Dokumenter 2018. Opening times: Monday-Saturday 12-10 PM. Until January 12, 2019;

Street vendors is exhibited as a single screen work at the NOT SO FAR marathon part of the Biennale Democrazia in Turin, Italy. Saturday 30 March from 6 PM to midnight. NOT SO FAR is organised by the Fondazione per l’architettura;
Street vendors is having its Colombian premiere at Paul Bardwell Gallery in Colombo Americano in Medellín on August 6 at 7 PM. The installation is exhibited in this spacious gallery until August 22.  Opening times: Monday-Friday 8 AM-6 PM. The exhibition ha been supported by the Mondriaan Fund International Presentations grant;
Street vendors is exhibited at Kunstlijn 2019 at Sociëteit Vereeniging in Haarlem. The group show is November 1 until 3 only! Opening Friday night at 8 PM, Saturday-Sunday 11 AM-5 PM;

Street vendors is having its Italian premiere in 2019 at the group show ‘Arte al Centro 2019’ at Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy. Opening Friday October 11. Until May 31, 2020. More information will follow;

More exhibitions to be announced soon.

Su Tomesen, September 2019