Street art in Curaçao
Street art or graffiti is an expressive form of art that expresses the culture, social values, and political concerns. There is no need for a canvas or a studio to showcase the talent, all you need is empty walls of streets. Street art helps in molding and shaping the voice of a nation and allows them to express themselves without any limitations. While being in Curacao, I’ve experienced so much graffiti and street art and this article is all about those experiences.
The streets of Willemstad are filled with colors and messages. It showcases great artistic values and symbolizes the people of Curacao. Along with art and paintings, Willemstad walls are used for advertisement and branding through unique and creative paintings. There are 2 great locations to enjoy and make fantastic artistic pictures, Punda and Otrobanda. I will try to sum up the places, if I do miss a place please let me know.
Punda Street Art
Punda is considered as a center of street art in Curacao and the best part about it is you don’t need to be in a vehicle and the whole town can be explored on foot. Streets and walls depict some great art values and messages. Punda’s art alley is full of amazing artistic shops and wholesome adventures for you to explore. Brilliant murals and sculpture-like art are profoundly available with the paintings of an iconic iguana.
Skalo Street Art
Skalo is an upcoming neighbourhood a street named Sharloo in Curacao. It is developing at a very rapid pace, and is very rich in street artists. In 2016, with the support of Fundashon Rebiba Skálo Abou (FRESA), a group of three native entrepreneurs joined to form ‘Street Art Skálo’ <http://www.scharlooabou.com/>. Its goal was to gathers all local street-artists. They believe that art is a business and that the creative art sector on the island should be taken more seriously.
For many years the place was being used as a drug and prostitution point. But now the district Skaló Abou is about to change completely. Many companies including studios, cafes, resorts, and hotels are investing in this spot.
Currently, it has 6 art pieces, 4 murals and 1 art park created by local artists. For anyone who wants to learn, there is an “Expression Session” wall for practice.
Some famous street artists of Scharloo include Roberto Meeuw (sculpture in Leyba Park), Garrick Marchena, Sander van Beusekom, Francis Sling (my cover picture) and Alex da Silva. For information visit the website: <http://curacao-art.com/galleries/street-art-skalo/>
Pietermaai Street Art
Pietermaai is an ancient city with an attraction for its heritage and history where tourists love to visit the place and learn more about Curacao. However, it has been in a process of restoration and revival of old buildings and structures, and local artists believed to play their role in it. There are murals and paintings all over the walls and each defining a meaning. It became more enticing after the reopening of cafes, shops, and stores in Pietermaai.
The city is admired for its colors and expressions, and it is vital to understand the meaning behind the art like the one which I saw expressed about the eradication of slavery. Either you can watch and read the art closely or ask a tour guide to explain.
Jean Girigori Street Art
I loved the mural art by street artist Jean Girigori< https://jeangirigori.exto.org/ – https://www.jeangirigori.com/. Jean Girigori who after portraying her expression and voice through art about women rights, social injustice, children rights, and the unification of Caribbean people got the recognition but beyond that, she found it peaceful and the only way to protest about issues, which is commendable. Her efforts are applauded as she is labeled as “Painter of the magic Arc of the Caribbean”.
Otrobanda Street Art
Otrobanda has emerged as the best place to see street art in Curacao, it has narrow streets that can be explored by feet and each street and alley has something meaningful in the art form. Every mural has a story about Curacao’s history, customs, culture, and ritual.
Rasta Car Wash“Rasta Car wash”, an artwork created by a local car washer and it is the most creative street art in Otrobanda which was initiated in 2017. Rasta Bientu lived there for 20 years and the place is known by his name.
Kaya Kaya Street Art
The most renowned street art in Otrobanda, Curacao is Kaya Kaya (translated: Street Street) which has painting art and murals all over the place by the local artists. The idea was to allow people into the historical buildings and explore the infrastructure and discover the art.
Now, yearly they organise a festival which started in 2015 by two friends who organized a birthday bash there and eventually more than 150 people attended the party, and since then there is a festival and streets are transformed into playgrounds and has music, art, drinks, and food. This year’s festival depended on the developing situation of Covid-19. The festival helps build a community and bring people closer. The entrance costs of the Kaya Kaya festival is NAF 10, – admission and for children under 16 have free entrance! Furthermore, the buildings in Kaya Kaya Street are considered as monuments and historical, which must be preserved. It has added value and enhances the significance of the traditions and customs of Curacao.
KeizershofAnother masterpiece of art in Kaya Kaya Street known as Keizershof which has been transformed into a beautiful monument by the artist Francis Sling, the mural is known as ‘Sunu’ meaning naked in Papiamentu.
But Kaya Kaya became also famous, because of the buildings that are now registered as architectural historical value monuments, that are protected by law and must be preserved, as the monuments are considered of importance because of its beauty, art value, significance for science, the nation’s history or its value for the traditions and customs of the people.
Otrobanda has many other things to explore, so you can do multiple things while chasing street art. If you are a visitor, I would recommend you to take a tour guide.