Sponsors of the Eagle Beach Driekiel, acknowledged.


It was love at first sight. The day the Driekiel sculpture was installed on the roundabout of Amsterdam Manor, Eagle Beach, it started a love affair with the island, as if it has always been here.

ARTopia, a Public Art Foundation, commissioned local artist Gilbert Senchi, to create a monumental piece of public art for the prominent roundabout, and he delivered a two-ton leatherback turtle, an egg-laying female, cast in Bronze in a foundry in Cartagena, Colombia, which had to ship to Aruba.

It sounds easy, but it wasn’t.

The idea to commission art for the roundabouts along the Watty Vos Blvd — 25km, 13 rotondas, in 4 different designs – was suggested by the company entrusted with building the traffic artery and was supported by their accountants at Grant Thornton.

The local Museum Foundation, FMA, was then approached, and while their funds were limited, curator Renwich Heronimo responded enthusiastically, and UNOCA scoured the bottom of their coffers to come up with the initial investment.

TurtugAruba lobbied hard and long for it to be a Leatherback sea-turtle, the largest and heaviest turtle species, that frequently comes to our sandy shores, where thanks to the decades-long vigilance of TurtugAruba, it is given some protection, and its females continue to lay eggs here to ensure the species’ survival.

As Senchi was finalizing the design, ARTopia funded by a number of sponsors, including Papiamento restaurant, recruited more partners, such as the Aruba Tourism Authority, Divi Resorts, Boolchands, Noraima Pietersz, Farina & Tony van Veen, the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, TPEF, Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, Costa Linda Beach Resort, Ewald Biemans, and the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association.

This week, at the Papiamento Restaurant, Cigar Lounge, two of the sponsors who footed the bill for transport Lukasz Slominski, chairman of Molo Holdings SA, the current owner of Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, and William “Bill” Crona, Board Director, the Eight Continent Aruba, met Senchi for an interactive presentation.

Senchi introduced his catalogue of art works to Slominski, then he awarded him a mini Driekiel as a token of appreciation. The first mini Driekiel was already given to Princess Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria, Princess of Orange-Nassau, the heir apparent to the throne of the kingdom of the Netherlands, who visited Aruba, with her parents, last year.

Crona was presented with a mini conch, a replica of the Divi roundabout bronze shell, dedicated to its late Managing Director, Alex Nieuwmeyer.

The Slominski family vacationed in Aruba in early 2020. Originally from Poland, they founded a dynamic owner-operator hotel company in 2017 and were on the lookout for opportunities when they casually stopped at the Manchebo for a drink. The rest is history. According to Slominski, the family fell in love with the beach, and the location, and decided to add Aruba to their list of Molo Hotels great locations.

We were happy to contribute to the Driekiel sculpture project and to the beautification of the area, said Slominski, whose company is now located in the United Kingdom and headquartered in Switzerland.

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February 28, 2024
Rona Coster