'The Map of Curaçao’
Medium: mixed media installation (paper, sound)
The ‘Map of Curaçao’ is a map consisting of two elements: surnames that came into existence on this island (the underlined names) plus surnames of people from this island who originally came from overseas.
Together they form the population of Curaçao. The names are placed at the locations where the name came into existence or where they started building their new lives.
I have used the names that still exist today. This map is not accurate and should not be seen as of any scientific historical value, but rather as an expression of how new identities have been brought about by freedom. Freedom – not only for the slaves, but also the freedom to live on this island without being persecuted, or the freedom to build a new life which came about because of economic opportunities. All these factors made the Curaçao we know today, and Curaçao still attracts many nationalities to build a life here. Looking at the mix of names tells us this island is of the free, an island of new beginnings.
Is your family name written on the island? What is the history of your surname? With your name comes your freedom and your new position in the world.
Thanks to Aubert Wiels, Elia Isenia, Jean Henriquez, Allan Chatlein (the voice-over of the names) the public library, the national archives and the Mongui Maduro Library.
Just by hearing the stories of others, I was able to put this map together, and it is an ongoing project.