Sacred Nature of Aruba

Anita Ottilia Hugen and Bastiaan Zwiers hosted an art-book presentation in a unique spot, @ARTISARUBA, the gallery in San Nicolas, on the main street, conceptualized and run by Tito Bolivar of the Aruba Art Fair fame.

What a beautiful spot.

Anita and Bas combined an exhibition, a book reveal and a fund-raiser for Lanta Y Planta that resulted in a fun social affair, like in the old day, well-attended by beautiful wine-sipping people, admiring the artwork. I also noticed a buyer or two.

The artwork on the bright-white walls, 16 photographs printed on aluminum plates and 6 paintings, on canvas, document the story of Anita’s love affair with the island and its nature. Shape, texture, form and color fascinate her, and she lets her work worship the beauty of Aruba.

Anita’s canvases are very colorful and eye-pleasing, they deliver pure fiesta. Her photographs are more thought-provoking. The original images were manipulated, duplicated and multiplied in photo-shop, creating a fantastic realism, where we know the parts, but the composition is new, surprising and outer-worldly.

Through Anita’s eyes, we look at Nature from a different perspective, and perceive it differently.

Bas contributed to the evocative text in the book, he is a writer, and organized the commentary escorting the images, or better, disorganized it. The text is reflective, and it challenges the reader, intellectually.

Anita views herself as a colorist. She has been painting from a young age. Her father was an architect and gifted his daughter a fancy set of Japanese paint brushes, at an early age. She uses mixed media, objects, photographs, and paper, in her artwork, and has been an art teacher on the island, for almost four decades.

“I have many students, she says, in film, fashion, graphic design, publications, and they evolved and grew as human beings by applying themselves to fine arts, it’s very gratifying.”

Anita & Bas describe their collaboration as guerilla-art-team, OTILIABASTIAANI, their work has a spiritual undertone, after sticks and stones have cracked their bones, not broken, both are in a good, creative place.

They are setting up an adult education program for people who want to write, scripts, books, plays, a kind of living theater, for kids 8 to 12 and 12 to 18, adults too, to give talented locals a solid platform.

Did I hear they are also writing and illustrating children’s books together? Maybe I made it up.

Thank you Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied, for making books possible.

Thank you Lanta Y Planta for 2,500 new trees planted here.

Thank you Tito Bolivar, Concept developer & Director at Nature & Faces Aruba, Event Organizer at Aruba Art Fair, Freelance Graphic Designer, for what you do for arts in Aruba.

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March 29, 2022
Rona Coster