“My art tells my stories, and will hopefully keep on telling my stories long after I’m gone.”
Visual artist Omar Sling (1976) was born on the hilltop of Seru Fortuna, just a couple of meters from the place he currently resides. He has a studio in his back yard with a magnificent view of the island. “This place is like a tree, our family tree. We are scattered over this hilltop, have built more houses, added a room here and there, people have come and gone, but everyone who lives here is family.”
Omar studied Design and Multimedia at the Graphic Lyceum of Amsterdam, and returned to the island in 2007. He started working for a graphic design company, but by 2010, the business wasn’t doing very well. While looking for a new job and revaluating his career, he met an artist who, after seeing Omar’s work, asked him to participate in an exhibition in Kas di Kultura.
Up until that moment, art had always been a part of his life, but because Omar comes from a creative family, where every family member has different talents and is excelling in their own field, it had never occurred to him to call himself an artist. Creating art was something private, a way to express himself, to heal himself, to become whole, but until that point, he had only shared it with his family.
Nevertheless, he overcame his doubts, participated in the exhibition, and it changed his life. Since he is naturally humble and very down to earth, the responses he received about his work were overwhelming. “It was such an unbelievable night. I felt like I was reborn, and for the first time in my life I dared to believe that I am an artist.”
Omar is a multimedia artist who works with a lot of different materials and techniques. He is a painter, works with ceramics, and has created a beautiful series of plaster sculptures called Koko Yoko. He still works in his original field of graphic design and is a skilled animator, among other things. But most people know him for his sculptures made of all kinds of recycled materials. His father was a handyman, able to fix anything and everything. Memories of watching his father work with all those different tools and parts still inspires him and has laid the groundwork for his current art.
“I am very philosophical, always searching to learn more about life. Reality isn’t a definite fact, it is fluent. Everything is part of everything, but every specific part deserves its own approach. Working with all kinds of materials, I instinctively know how to treat each piece according to its specific needs, and for me those pieces of material are already a part of the “whole” they will become.
Nature is based on these same principles, and that inspires me. In nature, there is freedom, and there is always mutual respect. All parts of nature are in harmony, and together, they form the whole. There is an important lesson in this for all of us.
On behalf of MCB, I have created The Three Little Birds for the Jojo Correa Square in Punda. The Bananaquit is a typical bird of Curaҫao, and I believe they somehow resemble us. In their own way, people are also always searching for something dushi, something nice or something sweet. Portraying the birds with instruments gives them the universal language of music. Through music, we create connections. Music can be a tool for bringing people together, and might even help in establishing peace. I believe Curaҫao could use a little more of that.”