Bringing Curaçao Culture to Life

Sander van Beusekom's murals can be found around Curaçao's capital, Willemstad.

Sander van Beusekom
Sander van Beusekom is helping build community through art in the Caribbean. Nicole van Beusekom

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Artist Sander van Beusekom’s murals around Curaçao’s capital of Willemstad are vibrant in every sense of the word. These colorful, striking and energetic portraits of the spirit and people of Curaçao have injected new life and attracted new visitors into the Otrobanda and Scharloo Abou neighborhoods.

While his style has ranged from anime to fantasy and beyond, action is the common element across all of van Beusekom’s work. A dancer leaps; a bird, wings and beak open wide, swoops toward a fish. In his best-known mural, near the Curaçao Maritime Museum, fish-laden waves crash behind a faceless father and son, fishing gear in hand, as they scan the horizon. “It’s a very satisfying feeling to see your concepts coming to life and the reactions of the people,” van Beusekom says.

He strives to generate interest in Curaçao’s street art scene by inviting community members to assist in his work and through his participation with other creatives in Street Art Skalo, a nonprofit organization that fosters the talent of local artists and promotes Curaçao’s “growing outdoor museum.” 

How did it feel to be selected to create a Curaçao H mural in Miami to coincide with Art Basel 2019? I was very honored to paint for my island abroad. 

What inspires your murals? Life is an inspiration for me. It’s very colorful here, so you see that in my murals. I really try to get the feeling of the neighborhood I’m painting in. 

How can visitors best see the murals in Willemstad? They should take a mural tour. There are a couple out there now, but there will soon be a Street Art Skalo mural tour. We thought, “Why not give the tour ourselves?” Because we know more about the paintings than any other tour guide

Sander’s Selections on Curaçao

Bario Urban Street Food (Willemstad): It has great fusion food, views and music. It’s around the corner from my “Life Is a Beautiful Struggle” mural.

De Visserij (Willemstad): This simple, market-style restaurant serves dishes fresh from the sea.

Mangrove Park (Willemstad): Stroll along the boardwalk and see if you can spot our white herons.

Christoffel National Park (Weg Naar Westpunt): Drive through the coastside park, or enjoy a hike up to our highest mountain.

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