Giovanni Abath and the 7.1 Experience at Morgenster
Written by Josée Thissen-Rojer
Giovanni Abath recently opened his private art gallery in Curaçao titled ‘7.1 Experience’. The inauguration took place on September 22, 2023.
The ‘7.1 Experience’ is housed in Landhuis Morgenster, located in Wishi. The Abath-Delgado couple bought the monumental mansion several years ago to refurbish it and establish their gallery in it, with, in time, a restaurant.
Angelica Abath-Delgado, the artist’s wife, was the evening’s first speaker. She was visibly emotional, and it was clear from her words that realizing the project had been challenging. She revealed one of the difficult moments when they had to leave their home and move into the studio with the entire family. This sacrifice was necessary for the project to move forward.
Acting Governor Michèle Russel-Capriles attended the opening. In addition to employees, colleagues, friends, and family, several ministers and representatives of Monumentenfonds, Korpodeko and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds were present. Ministers Heydoorn (OWCS) and Cooper (VVRP), among others, gave speeches praising the Abath-Delgado couple for their talent, vision and perseverance.
Giovanni Abath was the final speaker. He expressed his joy at reaching this milestone of the project. He presented a wall object created just before the opening, inspired by the song “What a Wonderful World” by American trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong (1901-1971). The song describes the beauty of the world we live in, emphasizing that its wonders lie in simple things. After finishing the piece, Giovanni and Angelica decided to use it during the opening ceremony.
The wall object is a portrait of Louis Armstrong surrounded by symbols, which the song refers to. As the song played, Giovanni used a pointer to indicate each symbol. This beautiful gesture complemented his speech and added a unique touch to the opening.
Then followed a tense moment when all present together counted from 7 to 1, and Giovanni grabbed the door handle to open the door. At that instant, the door of Morgenster clamped and did not give way. The audience held its breath, but fortunately, after some prying, the door opened anyway. Giovanni and his family were the first to enter, and all the guests were invited to follow them.
When Giovanni and his wife purchased Morgenster, it was severely neglected and stood vacant for a long time. They lovingly and creatively refurbished the monument and transformed it into a gallery. Everything in the interior was carefully selected or designed and made by Giovanni himself. ‘7.1 Experience’ is a love project, and as the name says, a visit to this gallery is truly an experience.
The MC of the evening, Nifa Ansano, in her introduction, recounted how a chabalitu (young man), by which she was referring to Giovanni Abath, gained fame through yearly designing floats for Carnival and public lighting ornaments for the Christmas season.
Soon, Giovanni began receiving other commissions and even landed in the world of fine art, where he was also embraced. His sculpture “Man of Steal” from the exhibition “Isla den nos Bida” (2017) was included in the art route of Blue Bay Sculpture Garden. Giovanni went on to participate in group exhibitions, held a duo show with Giovani Zanolino at Landhuis Bloemhof, and began taking part in the Open Atelier Route.
One of Giovanni’s creations is the ‘Little Man’, which he started spontaneously and soon became very popular. At the entrance to the mansion, he now has two enlarged versions of them to welcome the public.
But Giovanni held even higher aspirations because, for this project, he also wanted to create something genuinely new that would create a wow effect with everything and everyone. This became the ‘Light Bearer’, an impressive steel sculpture no less than 7.1 meters tall and illuminated at night. It serves as a beacon for the neighborhood, attracting visitors and pointing the way to the gallery.
This gentle giant at the entrance offers protection and prosperity to the project. For Giovanni, the completion of the light carrier signaled the moment for the official opening of his new venture.
For Curaçao, the ‘7.1 Experience’ is a beautiful addition to the local art attractions, such as the various art galleries, the Museum and Gallery Yubi Kirindongo, the Cathedral of Thorns by Herman van Bergen and the Blue Bay Sculpture Garden.
When reproducing the text above, please credit the author and source: Curaçao Art®️ www.curacao-art.com. The artist retains all image rights of their artworks.
See also the Blog post: ‘E Porta’, on the gate Giovanni Abath made for Parke Lucha pa Libertat at Rif in 2020.