Cathedral of Thorns
The first ‘stone’ for the cathedral was laid by Mrs. Michèle Russel-Capriles, president of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied, on December 15, 2012. The Cathedral of Thorns will be created completely of thorns from the local plant Acacia Tortuosa or Wabi. In Curaçao the thorns are called sumpiñas. For decades Herman van Bergen has been experimenting with sumpiñas, creating lamps, sculptures and installations. The ‘Cathedral of Thorns’ is his most daring endeavor, a monumental artistic creation, measuring 400 sq.m. and a maximum height of 8 meters.
The construction is designed in the form of a labyrinth, as a symbol for spirituality and a path to enlightenment. The outline of the top is inspired by the local rock formation ‘El Indjan’ as an hommage to the Indians as original inhabitants of the island. On the whole the project pays tribute to the history and people of Curaçao. The spiny thorns symbolize the power of nature and the willpower of the nation. Because the thorn bush Wabi is a plant that sustains life in the dry and arid conditions of the island.
The ‘Cathedral of Thorns’ is truly a unique art project, envisioned by the artist a long time ago, and being realized now through his perseverance, determination and continuous zeal. By including space for artworks by his fellow artists and making use of local youngsters for the construction, Herman van Bergen creates a new 21st century platform for the local visual arts.
On Friday the 30th of January 2015, guests gathered for a soft opening and sneak preview of construction commencement. Among the many guests were the Governor of Curaçao, Mrs. George-Wout accompanied by her husband and Mrs. Russel, president of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied. Daisy Casimiri, president of Fundashon di Artista was one of the speakers. An impressive speech was held by Jealaine Wawoe who spoke about the valuable training and education for the youth, participating in the project. During the event the Cathedral of Thorns proved itself a stage for other artistic expressions by creating room for performances by ballet group Turning Point. The evening was concluded with a toast to the successful completion of the project.
The construction is presently taking place at Landhuis Bloemhof and can be visited during gallery opening hours.
In October 2015 The Cathedral of Thorns was selected by the jury of CODA to compete for their yearly award.
CODA, a collaboration of Design + Art is a global online community that celebrates design projects, featuring commissioned artworks. The yearly CODAawards recognize the best work demonstrating successful integration of commissioned art into interior, architectural and public spaces. 2015 marks the third year for this celebration of the collaboration of art and design that attracts entrants from around the globe.
Voting is possible between October 20 – 29, 2015 till 11:59 PM central time. For voting: Click this link to go to CODA website.
Herman van Bergen was born in the Netherlands and came to Curaçao in 1989. His paintings, sculptures and installations are a continuous search for the unfamiliar and mystical in everything ordinary. He makes us see the beauty in everything he touches.