Kralendijk- The roundabout in Hato, adjacent to Den Laman and Sand Dollar on one side and the Trans World Radio Studio on the other side may be useful, but certainly not very attractive to see. This was exactly the reason for the Bonita Boneiru Foundation to come together in an effort to dramatically change the scene.
Debby Rauwers of Sand Dollar and Den Laman Resorts has been despairing over this unattractive roundabout for years. “When tourists arrive on Bonaire, this is one of the first things that they see, and it doesn’t make a very good impression”, said Rauwers.
When Debby and her husband Marco Vermeulen met Mark Ansier, a guest at their La Pura Vista Resort who is an artist and welder, a plan was hatched. They came up with a plan to not only beautify the roundabout, but to also pull the community together in a celebration of the environmental spirit of the island.
Due to the fact that the roundabout is located on government-owned land, there were several steps that they had to take before they could get started. The process took two years with Debby enlisting help and support from IVA (the Bonaire Young Professional organization), Boneiru Nos Orguyo, the local Bonaire Government, Damaly Linkers, Sharon Bol and Carolyn Caporusso. After a successful approval and permission to “adopt” the rotunda, Fundashon Bunita Boneiru was formed to manage the project.
The adopted roundabout will be the site of artist/sculptor Mark J. Ansier’s monumental sculpture of an underwater scene and diver, the natural subject of choice for an island known as “Diver’s Paradise!” It will be constructed completely out of metals reclaimed from throughout Bonaire. The metals will be recycled and sculpted into a coral garden, turtles, stingrays, tropical fish, topped by one or two divers. Reclaimed metal includes steel which is naturally rusted, coming from cars and buildings, stainless steel and other metals from appliances.
“This is the time for art. Collect steel and make a fish! Why not clean up the island and create something beautiful and meaningful on that ugly piece of land?”, said Ansier.
The sculpture will be also a personal memorial to the artist’s son and dive buddy Matt, who he tragically lost in 2007.
Proceedings will commence in mid-October with a target completion date before the end of the year. In order to build the project, Bunita Boneiru will involve many sectors of the community. Bunita Boneiru believes that it is important to create something that the entire community of Bonaire can be proud of. The collection of waste metal will be a part of an island-wide clean up. Waste Management firm selibon will also help by storing old car wrecks and other metal.
Welders and students from FORMA and the Technical Training School who are interested in learning the trade will assist Mark. This way they can improve their skills and have better chances on a good job. There will be a garden surrounding the public art installation that is specifically designed and created with “donkey and goat proof” plants in the colors of the Bonairean flag.
The initiating and main sponsors of the project are Sand Dollar Condominium Resort, Den Laman Condominiums and Dive Friends Bonaire in cooperation with Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (Bonaire) N.V. and IVA/Boneiru Nos Orguyo. All the costs involved for the artist will be covered by the main sponsors.
The organization says that there are more costs involved and additional sponsors are welcome. Those interested to contribute can find more information on the project’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bunitaboneiru/
Some information on the artist and some of his projects can be found by clicking the following link: http://ironwaves.com/