Merly Trappenberg (1955) was born in Venezuela. As a youth she visited Curaçao frequently and would occasionally live on the island. She calls herself the ‘Venezuelan with continuous homesickness for Curaçao’. In 1993 she decided to settle in Curaçao permanently.
Although as a teenager she already knew that she wanted to become an artist, she first complied with her parents’ desire to complete a training in civil engineering. However, as soon as she finished her education she devoted herself more to art.
Her work may appear superficial and frivolous but she fundamentally wants to contribute to the community. By painting the island’s traditions and customs she wants to praise its values and raise its self esteem.
Merly Trappenberg’s artistic work has two different styles. She is most popular for the colorful city-scapes filled with people and portraits of self assured, voloptuous women. Her other style, less known to the public, consists of female nudes, executed in warm, earthy hues.
Her drive is to paint Curaçao in all her beauty and diversity: “My inspiration is Curaçao as the centre point of all the different cultures taken together. I paint the traditions of the island, the sun and the happiness. But my paintings also talk about the challenges and difficulties that our people face. My art should contribute something to the island and raise the self esteem of our people. Curaçao may be a popular tourist destination but at the same time it is also a uncommon example of how different nationalities and cultures live side by side.” The trained observer may notice that all dark skinned women in her work have blue or green eyes. Merly uses this feature as a reference to the cultural diversity.
In addition to her mix media work and paintings, Merly Trappenberg also creates ceramic sculptures.
Merly Trappenberg is one of the participants in the Open Atelier Route 2015. She is also planning an exhibition with paintings and ceramics for the coming year.
2014: Text by Victorine Stille.