A column about the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce and about the Art Galleries

Aruba’s Chamber of Commerce Nixes the Idea of a Bilateral Chamber of Commerce

The news item hit the regional radio stations and papers from Cuba to Colombia, that on September 19th an official bilateral Chamber of Commerce was created between Venezuela and Aruba, designed to facilitate commercial activities, mostly in the construction field, so that exportation of goods from Venezuela to Aruba is improved, delivering an additional influx of money to the cash-strapped country.

The news item stated that the first round of multi-sectoral negotiations took place n Aruba on Sept 1st, in the presence of 78 Venezuelan manufacturers and 65 commercial organizations from the island, under the leadership of Foreign Investment and External Commerce Minister Jesús Faría in collaboration with Angel Belisario representing Fisheries and Agriculture, and the Vice Minister of Tourism, Alí Padrón.

Not so fast, says Aruba’s highly organized and regulated Chamber of Commerce, we totally oppose that initiative designed to bypass every rule and regulation in place, in the local commercial landscape. Aruba’s Chamber of Commerce is positioned to handle any company wishing to do business with the island, and opposes any attempt to circumvent scrutiny.

The local Chamber of Commerce asked the Aruba government to deny that news item, and while no one in local government confirmed it, no one denied it.

We’re hanging. We’re on hold, to see what’s next!

Atelier 89 & the Sinfa Building Galleries, are amazing

Saturday night, I explored two fantastic spaces, part of the first annual Art Fair, on the main street in San Nicholas.

There was a lot to see in the street including a mini pop-up Korteweg, and the 10 murals by visiting international artists which enjoyed substantial hoopla – there were a total of 15 foreign artists visiting – BUT our own local artists did not disappoint, we have incredible power-houses here, and we haven’t seen them on display for a while. Honestly, I was very happy to connect with my favorites, at the Art Fair.

Elvis Lopez stood outside an Art Deco inspired building on the main street, with his top hat on. I think it was the old Customs building. Elvis promised to make an artist out of everyone who comes in to see the exhibition. We did. We risked it, and saw some excellent work. The artists/students of Atelier 89 simply occupied the empty spaces, and it seemed to me as if they have always been there with their installations, paintings and sculptures.

Desiree Sporkslede, the plastic junk queen, enjoyed a room all by herself, her work is colorful, and striking, and sends a frightening message, namely that we use and discard too much plastic, which isn’t fantastic. I also saw the work of Carol Habibe, Danilo Geermas, Ad Rekkers, Alydia Wever, Ryan Oduber, and Velvet Zoe Ramos, who created a very striking and chaotic installation starring eggshells. More exhibiting artists included Egmar Irasquin, Farley Croes, and Samuel Saramiento. Fernando Vermeer had his eerie composite universes on display.

On the other side of the road, a curator from Venezuela, Luis Gomez Rincon assembled an outstanding array of works. Nigel Mathew delivered  Icons, members of his family, parents, uncles,  grandparents painted almost as religious icons. Very touching. Also exhibiting an exceptional dynamic and colorful piece by Mo Mohamed, and a mixed media by Alonso de Windt, which I did not recognize, because it veered from the style of his previous works, but was nevertheless very good.  Miniaturist Ciro Abath, and the ever-interesting Stan Kuiperi, with a thought-provoking mixed media triptych, we could write a book on that piece alone. I also enjoyed the work of second or third generation artists, the always complicated Natusha Croes, and hip Lara Kuiperi, questioning the Aruban dream.

The galleries are beautiful, one across the other, I asked Elvis Lopez and Renwick Heronimo, FMA, the Aruba Museums Foundation, how long they will remain open and I did not hear a definite answer. Elvis hopes to continue to occupy the building and be able to showcase contemporary art. For the Sinfa building however, I understand that there is a commitment to keep it open for a while. (Sorry if I left some artists out)