by Josée Thissen-Rojer
The photo of a radiant Tirzo Martha proudly holding his fist out in front of him, with the prestigious “Wilhelmina ring” on his ring finger, speaks volumes. This photo is used over and over again and is a beautiful image, captured by photographer Janneke Veldman. Tirzo Martha (Curaçao, 1965) has every reason to be proud, because the Wilhelminaring prize, which he received in Apeldoorn on September 6, 2020, is truly a very special recognition.
The Wilhelmina ring is a symbol of appreciation for the sculptural arts which includes Tirzo with his striking works of art. The term “sculptural arts” is not only used for sculptures, plastics or assemblages. In addition to three-dimensional work like the ones created by Tirzo, visual arts also include landscape art and environmental sculptures. An example of landscape art is the project by Jan Henderikse in 1977 on the plain of San Pedro. An example of environmental sculpture is the installation of Ashley Mauricia in an arch at Plasa Piar, “Within me” (Atelier Route 2015).
The prize also includes a solo exhibition in the CODA Museum and an assignment for a work of art for the Sprengenpark in Apeldoorn. This relatively new prize was first awarded in 1998. It is a biennial prize and Tirzo is only the 11th visual artist to receive this recognition. When the winner was announced, it was mentioned that the jury was passionate about its choice and its decision was unanimous.
Lots of praise from the jury about the works of art from our acclaimed fellow islander: overwhelming use of color, stylistic individuality, artistic individuality and universal expressiveness. But above all, he is praised because his work shows political and social involvement, and he is not only critical but also actually committed to society in both Curaçao and the Netherlands.