The story behind Punda’s Street Art
Get to know Avantia Damberg, the artist behind the iconic “Punda Wings” and “Hidden Heroes” in hanchi Angel Job in Punda.
Avantia is a visual artist who loves to discover the island of Curaçao through its rich history, its culture and its nature. She wanders in the nature of the island, sometimes taking the dog along, taking pictures and sharing those.
We asked Avantia how it feels to be immortalized through the artworks such as The “Punda Wings” & the “Hidden Heroes” that are very iconic pieces, and favorites for locals & tourists. She thinks that is worthed every effort put into it, as a lot happens before the mural is there. It starts with a desire, a dream, an urgency, with drawings, paintings, collages, with research, applying for funding, networking, connecting, negotiating. Then the actual painting starts, it physically demands a lot but also mentally as people who are constantly walking by can either drain or feed your energy. So when the mural is done it is very satisfying. It is a public work, so you take distance from it, others take it further into the world by photographing it, posting it, writing about it and so on.
The Punda Wings were commissioned work, but she loved doing this piece because of the geometric graphic shapes you see in the background. She loves putting text in her murals hence the Hidden Heroes murals. These murals are to honor people who passed away, that are an inspiration to her, who added immeasurable value to the emancipation of Curaçao and she would like to continue with nation building through her art.
Teenage Avantia in Punda
For teenage Avantia, Punda was thé place to hang out on Saturdays. Avantia’s cousin and her would go to Gomezplein to see who was there, people they already saw every day at school, but it was so much more exciting to see who was in Punda. Material to gossip.
What she also remembers was the navy sailors from all over the world that came into the harbour and visited Punda, these sailors would buy them ice cream and hang out with them, marveling at how much fun Curaçao girls are.
To Avantia art is what is visually communicated through the eyes and thoughts of the artist. Like any other kid her talent was already there but got developed by playing and discovering outside, drawing on the walls at home where there were interesting cracks that looked like faces. She collected anything interesting and all these were part of her creative process.
She finds beauty and inspiration in the nature of Curacao, from traveling, from lectures and from experimental soundscapes. She’s inspired by places such as Wynwood art district Miami. But also from Pinterest, where she collects what attracts or fascinates her.
We asked Avantia who’s her favorite ABC/local artists. She answered that that’s a rather hard question to answer because she has several favorite artists and it all depends on their discipline. She appreciates the works of Yubi Kirindongo, Ailsa Anastatia, Marcel van Duyneveldt, Ariadne Faries, Johanna Franco Zapata, Tony Monsanto, Ellen Spijkstra, Sharelly Emanuelson a lot, to name a few. An artist that she always wanted to work with is Ailsa Anastatia and an artist she could bring from the past to work with would be Shon May Henriquez.
One of Avantia’s favorite masterpieces created is in Kranshi, Otrobanda: Map of Curaçao II. A quick masterpiece after that is the Colorful Steps stairs in Otrobanda along with her murals in Punda in hanchi Angel Job. When it comes to her least favorite work she doesn’t have one.
For the future Avantia is planning to start a foundation for site-specific art in the open spaces of Curaçao. If more opportunities are granted to her in the future she would love to write inspiring texts at the walls of Marichi beach in a beautiful font. She would also like to continue with the Hidden Heroes project: the people behind our sport heroes, to portray who inspired our sport heroes to become who they are today.
Avantia’s wish is to see Punda as an art district, reflecting the rich history and culture Curacao has bouncing back from the walls. It is also to bring back life to Punda, like the Punda she knew as a kid.