Steven Fistell Thirza Schaap in conversation with Sara Knelman

Recorded on May 8, 2021, this online conversation with photographer Thirza Schaap and curator Sara Knelman was presented in conjunction with the project Plastic Ocean at the Davisville Subway Station.

Sara Knelman is a curator, educator, writer and Executive Director, Two Rivers Gallery. Knelman has worked as Director, Corkin Gallery; Talks Programmer, The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Hamilton; and as a management consultant for LORD Cultural Resources in both London and Toronto. She holds a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and has taught courses in the fields of art history, contemporary art and theory, the history of photography and curatorial practice at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto. Recent independent curatorial projects include She Unfolds (Ryerson Artspace, 2020), Daniel Alexander: When War Is Over (Harbourfront Centre/CONTACT Photography Festival, 2018) and Thirza Schaap: Plastic Ocean. Sara has written about contemporary art and photography for books and magazines, including 1000 Words, Aperture, Canadian Art, Frieze and Prefix Photo. She collects pictures of women reading and lives in Prince George, British Columbia. 

Thirza Schaap graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 1996. Since then she has been working as a photographer and is now exploring new art forms through her Plastic Ocean project. After first posting her Plastic Ocean images on Instagram she was published by I-D and VICE magazines in the summer of 2017, followed by Lidewij Edelkoorts’s Trend Tablet, L’Officiel, Elle, Vogue, Aperture and many others. Her collection was included in the Finders Keepers exhibition at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, a design museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. May 2019 during design week in Salone, Italy she was acknowledged by Instagram as one of four artists who present themselves successfully through social media. In March 2018 she gave a lecture, workshop to go along with her exhibition at Fabrica Research Center in Venice Italy. The first exhibition of Plastic Ocean opened June 2018 in Amsterdam at Christie’s in collaboration with Colette Olof’s OWonder. Schaap’s first exhibition of her sculptures opened March 2019 in Maastricht in The Netherlands and later that year in Cape Town in collaboration with Greenpeace Africa.