Curaçao is the very equivalence of color. Whether you are familiar with this beautiful Dutch Caribbean island or not, it is most likely that you have seen a picture or two of its colorful “Handelskade” in the heart of its capital Willemstad. You know, that row of colorful buildings by the harbor. Now, what if I told you that since recently, the color has spread all over the the island, concentrating in Willemstad itself, and that this time it was by the hand of local artists?
I grew up in Curaçao in the eighties, an era known for its multicolors. Hip Hop was on the rise, and so was graffiti, even on the tiny island of Curaçao. Back then, much like everywhere else in the world, it was a serious offense if you were caught in the act of what they called vandalism. It was an act by rebellious kids who obviously lacked a stable and healthy upbringing at home, or so they wanted us to believe. I remember kids getting expelled from school because they dared to express their opinions through art on school property. Being the ever good girl, I practiced my graffiti in the safety of my notebooks and school planner.
Safe to say that my obsession with murals started there. So, it was not only a pleasure but a true honor to see this art brought back to life in Curaçao in such a colorful way all over Skalo, Pietermaai, Punda and Otrabanda, Willemstad’s four main areas.
I will not go into details of how it all started because honestly I am not familiar with the back story here. I think it started in Scharloo or Skalo as locals call it, by a group of local artists as a way to beautify and diversify an area, that used to be full of abandoned buildings, junkies and prostitutes back when I still called Curaçao home. This project gave this neighborhood a great boost and continues to encourage the local kids here to participate and express themselves through art.
Let me show show you the beauty though the lens of my camera and hope you enjoy these pieces of beautiful street art as much as I did.
One of the most amazing murals in Curaçao is definitely the one by local artist Francis Sling. It is called “3 o’clock Romance” and it tells the story of two birds, who met each other one afternoon on a tree branch. Having enjoyed each others company so much, they both decided on their own to return to the same branch at the exact time the next day. Without making any promises to each other they met again the day after that and the day after that. If they had made a promise maybe there would have come a time that one or both would have continued to meet each other everyday mainly because of the promise, rather than because he or she wanted to. The message is simple: Love should be free. You should be able to do or say anything in a relationship without promises or expectations.
I am so incredibly proud of all the local talent on Curaçao. I apologize for not naming those responsible for each mural. I’m afraid I just don’t know who the artist behind most of the art is. There is so much more street art to admire on the island. Some that I have wanted to see for myself for a while but just didn’t get the time to do so.
The latest mural by Francis Sling for example is said to be simply amazing. I saw it briefly while driving but it was at night and I unfortunately did not get to go back in the morning to snap a picture. I guess I will have to leave this one and the rest for my next Curaçao visit.
Any lover of the arts and even those who are not, will enjoy the beautiful street art all over Curaçao. Some are in plain sight, while others are well hidden. The fun is in finding the art. So, if you are planning a trip to Curaçao, make sure you reserve a day for the chasing of murals.