Driftwood Crosses on display at JanArt Gallery Bonaire

KRALENDIJK- Bonaire is known for its driftwood which washes up on the island’s East coast. It carries within it the spirit of mystery, faraway places, voyages and the unknown. The wood is long forgotten and is washed aimlessly with the sea waves, until it washes up on Bonaire. But what about if it is picked up, recycled, turned into art and given another life?

This is the main concept of the latest exhibit in Jan Art Gallery on Kaya Grandi 14, which opens on August 26 at 5pm. The exhibition represents our existence washed up on shore in the form of well used wood items and artist Janice Huckaby Baillie’s collections of gifts and found items of interest just waiting for art to happen. Everything in the exhibit is recycled into a symbolic piece of art.

Artist Janice Huckaby Baillie has lived and created art on Bonaire since 1991. Through the years she has made art portraying things that inspire her most about Bonaire, representing the island with her art. She focused on the underwater world, where she lived the first 4 years on the island doing diving and photography. She then got her head above water and noticed that the landscape was authentic and beautiful too. Now she finds that she would like to represent Bonaire’s cultural and spiritual community that she has come to know.


Janice also loves to get ideas from the people who visit the island. Several months ago, a lady visited the Jan Art Gallery looking for religious crosses. This conversation planted the seed for a project that will showcase driftwood in a new and different way. Since Janice has been doing a lot of plein air painting recently at different locations, she just happened to have found herself at her old favourite Secret driftwood shopping spot. She combined found driftwood pieces with all those little treasures of things artists seem to collect that have memories and stories behind them. Soon enough, enough crosses for an exhibit were born.

The cross has a rich history of symbolism integral to it. The cross can mean a lot of different things to different people. Artist Janice grew up in a Catholic community in Texas and learned early in life the importance of good friends and family. When she came to Bonaire she observed the religious Community of this island to be just as strong. To quote the artist, “The Symbolism of the Cross: Through Death you are given Hope and Love to Live and continue on, if you have

Faith to Believe it So.”

As life continues after death within the symbolism of the cross, so does driftwood after it has been repurposed into art. If you would like to see these two concepts merge together in unique art pieces you are welcome to stop by Jan Art Gallery, located at Kaya Grandi 14, on August 26 from 5pm to 7pm.

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