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The Minister of Culture displays his art collection

At Cas di Cultura, the personal collection of Ramon and Maria Lee is on display. The Minister of Culture and his wife started collecting local art, when first married, about 30 years ago. It is an expensive hobby, reports the Minister, an out-of-pocket expense in support of art and culture - no wonder it gave the Minister great pleasure to have his personal collection on display now that he is the Minister of Culture and in charge of nurturing art on the island. The exhibition was curated by Elvis Lopez, one of Aruba’s leading artists. While Elvis is a modernist whose painting reflects avant-guard thinking and ideas, he successfully curated a very traditional collection of almost na├»ve paintings.

The Lee’s collection is themed around traditional depictions of the Aruban landscapes, centering on boulders, cacti, goats & cunucu houses in their most fetching, idyllic, and static description. These peaceful images of perhaps long-gone days where time stood still, romanticize the island. The unhurried, unhassled view of Aruba is prevalent in the Lee collection, and provides a nostalgic look at how it used to be, expression perhaps a kind of longing for what’s lost forever.

Among artists on display Goustave Noel, Maria La Torre, Roy Richardson, Vervoord, Ephraim Britten, J. Donati, Freddy Patist, Elvis Tromp, Diemens, Alvaro, Padu Lampe and Julia Oduber. According to Minister Lee, it was Julie’s husband dentist Oduber who first introduced the Lees to art as a collectible.  Julie his wife was a renowned local artist and the dentist was an avid collector. The Lees followed suit and over the last three decades have purchased pieces here on the island and also overseas on their travels. They always brought home a painting, a souvenir from another culture, another world.

The paintings, says the Minister bear cultural testimony to the state of the world’s affairs, as reflected through the artist’s eyes directly into his brushes, onto canvas.

Visit Cas Di Cultura to view the works, some of the pieces are also dedicated to the female physic, some to religious themes, and overall provide a moment of reflection which is suspended in time.


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