26-4-2017



ELLEN SPIJKSTRA'S WORK FIRST ON DISPLAY



The totem 'In the Course of the Years” has been thoughtfully assembled and placed at its designated location on the sculpture route, then draped in a soft green cloth until it was unveiled on April 26 by the artist and the board of the Blue Bay Sculpture Foundation: Jan Gulmans, Freddy Curiel and Sepp Koster.





SPEECH BY JAN GULMANS SPEECH AT THE UNVEILING OF THE SCULPTURE "IN THE COURSE OF THE YEARS” BY ELLEN SPIJKSTRA ON APRIL 26, 2017.

HELD BY JAN GULMANS, CHAIRMAN OF THE BLUE BAY SCULPTURE GARDEN FOUNDATION.


EXCELLENCIES, AND OTHER ART FRIENDS, MY NAME IS JAN GULMANS AND I WELCOME YOU ON BEHALF OF THE BLUE BAY SCULPTURE GARDEN FOUNDATION, FOR WHICH FREDDY CURIEL MANAGES THE FINANCIAL PORTFOLIO AND OF WHICH SEPP KOSTER IS SECRETARY. TODAY THE UNVEILING OF THE FIRST SCULPTURE OF THE SCULPTURE ROUTE AND THE SCULPTURE GARDEN, (WHICH WILL ONLY BE READY IN ANOTHER TWO YEARS), WILL TAKE PLACE. IT IS A HAPPY DAY FOR THE MANAGEMENT, ELLEN SPIJKSTRA, THE ARTISTS, FOR BLUE BAY RESORT AND FOR CURACAO. THAT'S WHY I AM DRESSED IN THE COLORS OF THE FLAG OF CURACAO. A SHORT LOOK BACK AT FIRST WE WANTED TO CREATE A SCULPTURE GARDEN IN THE GARDENS OF PLANTATION HOUSE BLAUW, BUT WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THE RENOVATION OF THE HOUSE WOULD TAKE ADDITIONAL TIME, WE DECIDED TO BEGIN WITH A SCULPTURE ROUTE AND TO PURCHASE THE SCULPTURES AS A FOUNDATION. OUR ADVISORS HAD ALREADY CONSIDERED THE POSSIBILITY OF A SCULPTURE ROUTE, WHERE SCULPTURE AND LANDSCAPE COULD LIVE IN HARMONY. THE SCULPTURE ROUTE WOULD ASSUME A DIFFERENT CHARACTER BECAUSE THE SCULPTURES TO BE PLACED THERE WOULD BE MUCH MORE MONUMENTAL THAN THE SCULPTURES THAT WERE DESTINED FOR THE SCULPTURE GARDEN. WE ARE EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO OUR ADVISORS, NICOLE HENRIQUEZ, RALPH KEUNING, THOMAS MEIJER ZU SCHLOCHTERN, JENNIFER SMIT, JAN TEEUWISSE AND LUSETTE VERBOOM, BECAUSE THE ROUTE, ALTHOUGH STILL ONLY ON PAPER, LOOKS VERY ATTRACTIVE. THE FOUNDATION HAS NO RESOURCES OF ITS OWN AND DEPENDS ON SPONSORS WHO AGREE WITH THE BOARD THAT IT IS A VALUABLE ENDEAVOR TO COMMISSION SEVERAL CURACAOAN ARTISTS TO PRODUCE A QUALITY ART WORK FOR THE SCULPTURE ROUTE OR THE SCULPTURE GARDEN, WITH WHICH THIS ISLAND CAN DISTINGUISH ITSELF AND TAKE PRIDE IN ITSELF. THIS MORNING THERE WAS AN ARTICLE IN THE ANTILLIAANS DAGBLAD WITH THE HEADLINE 'CULTURAL CRISIS IN CURACAO' BASED ON THE FINDING THAT CULTURE PLAYS A SUBSIDIARY ROLE IN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. IN A LETTER I SUBMITTED TO THE SAME NEWSPAPER, I ALREADY NOTED THAT CHATA (THE CURACAO HOSPITALITY & TOURISM ASSOCIATION), WHEN INTRODUCING ITS NEW DIRECTOR, DOWNPLAYED THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE. A QUARTER OF THE ISLAND’S INCOME COMES FROM TOURISM. COMPETITION BETWEEN THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS IS HIGH. WHEN A TOURIST CHOOSES A HOLIDAY DESTINATION, CULTURE IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE, ESPECIALLY IN THE CASE OF 'BIG SPENDERS'. ART IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF CULTURE. THE TIME HAS COME FOR A GENERAL CULTURAL POLICY AND AN EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGIC TOURISM MASTER PLAN. WHAT WILL BE ON VIEW ALONG THE SCULPTURE ROUTE? ALREADY AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE RESORT, ON A PILE OF ROCKS PAINTED BLUE, STANDS AVANTIA DAMBERG'S "MAP OF CURACAO", A SCULPTURE MEASURING 3 X 4 METERS, COVERED IN CORAL STONES ON WHICH ARE PRINTED THE MOST PREVALENT NAMES IN CURACAO. DIAGONALLY ACROSS, ONE FINDS A LARGE RING OF SUMPINA'S, PARAFINE AND ASPHALT WITH A DIAMETER OF 6 METERS BY HERMAN VAN BERGEN. PEERING THROUGH THE RING, THE EVERTSENBERG LOOMS. AT THIS LOCATION IS ELLEN SPIJKSTRA’S TOTEM "IN THE COURSE OF THE YEARS”, COMPOSED OF CERAMIC, TERRA SIGILLATA, IRON AND GOLD LEAF. JUST OVER THE HILL AND TO THE RIGHT, APPEARS A GROUP SCULPTED IN STONE FROM THE TAFELBERG, A TOUR DE FORCE BY RIEN TE HENNEPE. HIS BLOCK WAS DELIVERED TODAY AND THE CARVING OF THE MONOLITH, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE NEAR BLUE BAY’S SECURITY AREA, CAN THESE DAYS BE FOLLOWED LIVE. BRIGITTE WAWOE’S “PEGASUS” MAKES FLAPPING MOTIONS AT THE INTERSECTION TOWARDS THE END OF THE FAIRWAY OF HOLE 18. SHE HAD THIS WINGED HORSE WELDED FROM IRON SCRAPS SHE COLLECTED AT THE “MIJNMAATSCHAPPIJ”, (MINING COMPANY). BRIGITTE’S “UNICORN’, MADE OF THE SAME MATERIALS, IS SITUATED ALONG THE ROAD NEAR THE PLANTATION HOUSE, WHERE IT CROSSES THE GOLF PATH. THE SEVENTH OBJECT FLOATS IN THE WATER AND IS MADE OF PLASTIC, IRON, FOAM AND BLUE WATER BOTTLES THAT HAVE BEEN DRUNK EMPTY BY GUESTS OF THE SUNSETBAR. YUBI KIRINDONGO'S BLUE "BIG B" FLOATS, (IN ANY EVENT, WE HOPE IT DOES), JUST LIKE THE ARTIST MARTHA PAN’S WHITE SCULPTURE FLOATS IN THE POND OF THE SCULPTURE GARDEN OF THE KRÖLLER-MÜLLER MUSEUM IN THE HOGE VELUWE IN THE NETHERLANDS. IF THE TRAFFIC AND THE WIND HAVE NOT DISPERSED MY WORDS, YOU WILL HAVE NOTED THAT THE MATERIALS USED BY THE ARTISTS IN QUESTION ARE OF A LOCAL NATURAL AND / OR SALVAGED NATURE, ATTRIBUTES OF CURACAO’S (SCULPTURAL) ART. MANY OF THE ARTWORK HAVE A SPIRITUAL QUALITY. OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE WAS AND IS THAT THE ARTWORKS BE REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE WORK OF THE ARTIST WITH REGARD TO CONCEPT, FORM AND MATERIAL CHOICE AND THAT THEY BE REMARKABLE. SOMETHING NEW OR NOTHING NEW IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS I HAVE, ON A FREE-LANCE BASIS, WRITTEN A SERIES OF ARTICLES FOR THE “ANTILLIAANS DAGBLAD” ON BRONZE HERITAGE PIECES AND THE THREE LARGE SCULPTURE GARDENS IN CURACAO. FOR THIS I REFERRED EXTENSIVELY TO THE BOOK ‘MONUMENTEN EN STANDBEELDEN VAN DE NEDERLANDSE ANTILLEN’, (“MONUMENTS AND STATUES OF THE DUTCH ANTILLES”) BY LOCAL ART HISTORIAN AND CURATOR JENNIFER SMIT AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HER FATHER, THE WELL KNOWN ARCHITECT BEN SMIT. ALSO BY MY OWN INVENTORY I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT AN ISLAND LIKE CURACAO IS VERY RICH IN STATUES AND MONUMENTS FROM THE 19th, 20th AND 21ST CENTURIES. SMIT AND I DON'T DISAGREE THAT THERE IS GOOD ART AND BAD ART AMONG THESE OBJECTS. TASTE IN ART WILL DIFFER AS WILL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ART. ART CANNOT BE DEFINED. IT IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY, SOCIOLOGICALLY, AND HISTORICALLY BOUND. WHAT WE NOW CONSIDER UGLY, BEAUTIFUL, INCOMPREHENSIBLE OR INTERESTING WAS PROBABLY NOT SO FOR OUR ANCESTORS. THIS WILL ALSO BE DIFFERENT FOR OUR DESCENDANTS. JHR W.SANDBERG, WHO, ALONG WITH CHRIS ENGELS, WAS ONE OF THE ENGINES OF CURAÇAOAN ART AWARENESS IN THE 1950S AND EARLY ‘60s OF THE PREVIOUS CENTURY, WAS OF THE OPINION THAT ART IS A REFLECTION OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS. FOR ME, ART SHOULD AWAKEN ATTENTIVENESS AND CAPTURE ME WITH ITS FORM, COLOR, COMPOSITION, CONSTRUCTION, VOLUME, STRUCTURE, USE OF MATERIAL AND USE OF SPACE. ART SHOULD DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR SPIRIT AND RELEASE THE FREE PLAY OF YOUR IMAGINATION. IT HAS BEEN SAID: “THERE’S NOTHING TO IT – MY LITTLE BROTHER CAN DO THAT TOO”. MY GRANDCHILDREN USED TO GIVE ME A PIECE OF ART AS A BIRTHDAY GIFT, BUT KAREL APPEL WAS ADMITTEDLY BETTER! HENCE IN CURACAO SCULPTURES ARE NOT A NEW PHENOMENON. NEITHER ARE MODERN SCULPTURES. YUBI KIRINDONGO WAS ONE OF THE FIRST LOCAL ARTISTS WITH A SCULPTURE IN A PUBLIC SPACE IN THE SEVENTIES AND HIS BIG TRIUMPHAL ARCH ON HIS OWN SQUARE IS DEFINITELY NOT HIS LAST ONE. WHAT IS NEW, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A TRAIL OF MONUMENTAL SCULPTURES IN CURACAO AND, IMMINENTLY, A SCULPTURE GARDEN EXHIBITING WORK EXCLUSIVELY MADE BY ARTISTS WHO HAVE LIVED AND WORKED IN CURACAO OR BY ARTISTS WHO STILL LIVE HERE. THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 30 WORKS. I CANNOT SAY THIS ENOUGH: THIS ALL DEPENDS ON FINANCIAL SUPPORT AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE OR ADOPTION OF AN ARTWORK BY BENEFACTORS. A WEBSITE ABOUT OUR PROJECT IS ALREADY IN THE WORKS, BUT STILL IN PROGRESS. AVANTIA DAMBERG PRODUCED THIS SITE AND DONATED A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF HER STIPEND TO THE FOUNDATION. IT IS MANAGED BY ANTONNETTE KREMER, SEPP KOSTER’S SECRETARY, RECOGNIZED FOR HER VARIED ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS. THE SAME CAN BE SAID FOR ROELLA FLOWER, A TAX ASSISTANT AT DELOITTE. GENERAL MANAGER MARIJN HALSEMA AND HEAD OF SECURITY RONNY ERLING HAVE ALREADY PERFORMED DUTIES FOR THE EVENT TAKING PLACE TODAY. WE WILL CONTINUE TO NEED THEIR SERVICES FOR WHAT LIES AHEAD. BEFORE WE PROCEED, ALL TOGETHER, TO THE UNVEILING OF ELLEN'S WRAPPED OBJECT, I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE FLOOR TO SEPP KOSTER, THE DEVELOPER OF THIS RESORT. (….) EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE WILL NOW PROCEED TO THE PURPOSE OF EVERYONE’S VISIT: THE UNVEILING OF THE SCULPTURE “IN THE COURSE OF THE YEARS”. AS INDICATED BY THE PLAQUE ON THE STONE THE ARTIST IS STILL YOUNG BUT NONETHELESS EXPERIENCED. SHE IS GENEROUS, BECAUSE SHE HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE TO NOW BEGIN WITH THE REALIZATION OF THE SCULPTURE ROUTE. SHE IS ALSO SMART BECAUSE SHE MADE THIS PIECE WITH HELP FROM AN INTERN, TIMOTHY VOGES, AND WITH TWO OTHERS AND A SMALL TRUCK, ASSEMBLED THIS SCULPTURE AND PLACED IT ON A PEDESTAL, WHICH WAS MADE AND DONATED BY HENK AND WIJNIE WOLFSWINKEL OF MULTIBOUW. A TOTEM IS, ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA (70,500,000 HITS!!): A NATURAL OR SUPERNATURAL OBJECT, BEING OR ANIMAL THAT HAS PERSONAL SYMBOLIC MEANING FOR AN INDIVIDUAL AND WITH WHICH ONE IS STRONGLY CONNECTED. IT APPEARS THAT THE WORD “TOTEMPOLE” DENOTES SANCTITY AND IS THE INDIAN TERM FOR FAMILY SIGN. IN ANY EVENT, IN THE BOOK "GLOBAL LOCAL" BY ELLEN SPIJKSTRA, THERE IS MUCH MORE TO DISCOVER ABOUT THE LIFE AND WORK OF THIS IMPORTANT ARTIST, WHO HAS BROUGHT THE WORLD’S GREATEST CERAMISTS TO CURACAO. SHE SAYS: “MY ENVIRONMENT IS THE MAIN SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR MY WORK. THE FORMS AND TEXTURES OF CORAL, THE PATTERN OF A LEAF OR HOW THE REFLECTION OF A SHIP COLORS THE WATER. MY WORK IS ABOUT HARMONY, BALANCE AND REPOSE. I AM FASCINATED BY MATERIALS AND THE PROCESSES OF EROSION AND DAMAGE. I USE THIS IN RHYTHMIC COMPOSITIONS OR FORMS. "IN THE COURSE OF THE YEARS" IS INSPIRED BY THE ANNUAL RINGS OF THE KING PALM. GOOD (LOTS OF RAIN) OR BAD (DRY) YEARS DETERMINE WHETHER THE RING WILL BE NARROW OR WIDE, GOLD OR BLACK. I THANK MY COLLEAGUES, AS WELL AS OUR ADVISORS, FOR THEIR COOPERATION AND THE SELFLESS CONTRIBUTION OF THEIR ENERGY AND JUDICIOUSNESS TO THE FOUNDATION. I THANK MY WIFE FOR HER CRITICAL AND ANALYTIC INPUT FROM THE MOMENT THE IDEA OF A SCULPTURE GARDEN ORIGINATED UNTIL TODAY, AND HER ENCOURAGING WORDS. AND I THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRESENCE, IN PARTICULAR ALESSANDRA LAITEMPERGHER, CURATOR OF CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE AT THE MUSEUM “BEELDEN AAN ZEE” IN SCHEVENINGEN, WHO IS HERE REPRESENTING ITS DIRECTOR, JAN TEEUWISSE, AND MANY OTHERS FOR THEIR RECENT SUPPORT. I INVITE MY COLLEAGUES AND ELLEN TO APPROACH THE TOTEM IN ORDER TO JOINTLY UNVEIL THE FIRST SCULPTURE OF THE SCULPTURE ROUTE.