I’ve known Omar for a while as “Omar, the graphic designer”. I knew he had studied multimedia design at Grafisch Lyceum Amsterdam. Little did I know that more than a designer, he was an artist. After paying him a visit a few years ago, I knew that he was not just a regular poster-maker. Through his art Omar Sling makes the best out of waste, increases awareness about keeping our natural environment and expresses his desire for cultural development and positive change, while contributing to the education and inclusion of less fortunate children.
Over Esther Meijer-Sedney
This guest-blog is written by Esther Meijer-Sedney. After finishing an Academic Master in Corporate Communications from Radboud University in Nijmegen (the Netherlands, Class of 2008), and having worked in the field of Marketing and Communications in Spain and Curaçao, Esther decided to do a Professional Master in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility at EOI Business School in Madrid.
Being born in Curaçao and raised in Bonaire, Esther finds herself often referring to her country, small (social) entrepreneurs, local products and it is her wish to contribute as much as possible to the development in the area of Sustainable living.
In 2014, Esther founded the GreenCaffeine blog. GreenCaffeine is the place to be to find easy to implement, doable tips on how to live a more green, sustainable, organic, healthy life. Esther shares some practical insights so you too can have positive impact on the world around you, through very simple daily decisions.
His walls were covered with curious 2D and 3D pieces of art being sculptures and paintings. I fell in love with a lamp on his table, and started collecting things that were dear to me with the intention of asking him to make a lamp containing all my treasures (never told him though). His eyes sparkle as he tells me about “BASS”, his first sculpture (made in 1998), inspired on a souvenir his aunt brought from vacation made of iron.
Special Curaçaoan art
Reuse: Omar only uses local waste materials. “I don’t search for materials, they find me. In Curaçao people are ashamed of taking old tires, a mannequin’s leg or pieces of old metal along the road. When the material finds me, I take it. It spends days in my yard and suddenly I find myself creating something out of it”.
Social inclusion: Children who have no means of going on vacation or taking part in a paid vacation activities-week (typical Dutch Caribbean vacation activity for children), they are given a free vacation activities-week where they learn how to make pieces of art, make their own instruments and play music. The less they have, the more they value and appreciate their own work. Instead of spending time playing videogames, they enhance their creativity and are given a voice through their art.
“A musical instrument appeared to me when words could not speak. Her body was steady like a pyramid and her soul formed by four chords. She said to me; I will develop your culture, change your sorrow into dance. Bring unity strength and harmony. Teach my children and they will never forget”
Education on culture and local arts: Omar teaches children how to be creative and speak their minds. He gives them concepts and tools to help them pursue their interests. He has done several projects on schools the past years.
Local souvenirs: The people of Curaçao are very talented in many ways. Locally produced souvenirs stimulate employment and culturally enriches tourists. Omar’s dream is to produce local souvenirs reflecting our history, customs and culture. My personal favourites are: SowÇao and KokoYoko. These artworks reflect on social issues.
SowÇao and KokoYoko
SowÇao represents the island of Curaçao, with her authenticity and flaws, but so nice to live in. SowÇao is a piece of art produced by artists Omar and Francis Sling. “This artwork consisting of a mix of materials and media symbolises the fact that much can be created with little resources as long as you want it.”
“The aim is to inspire every “Yu di SowÇao” to see and speak more about the greatness of the Island and its people, as if it’s our mother“, Omar continues explaining. I love the way she spreads her arms, might look horrible to some, but remains authentic to herself. She is loved by the people who truly appreciate her.
“KokoYoko: It’s a cry, “wake up!” The light is coming, good things are on their way. The lights uncover colours. Colours help you find the way. They tell each other, echoing from far. KokoYoko. Day is coming, darkness is disappearing, good times are ahead. For us, for our children… KokoYoko“. How about making KokoYoko part of our own locally produced souvenirs?