Fundashon Bunita Boneiru and the community of Bonaire begin initiative to clean up the island, recycle unwanted scrap metal and beautify Bonaire. Bonaire is famous for her beautiful and protected underwater environment. The value placed by Bonaire on protecting the environment is what has kept tourists from all over the world flocking to Bonaire, year after year. Now, some of that beauty and environmental protection will be spilling over into a community based public art installation at the Hato Rotunda. Although this rotunda is located at the start of a long stretch of dive resorts, it currently contains nothing more than dirt and weeds.
How Fundashon Bunita Boneiru started
Debby Rauwers of Sand Dollar and Den Laman Resorts has been despairing over this unattractive roundabout for years. Her opinion is that “When tourists arrive on Bonaire, this is one of the first things that they see, and it doesn’t make a very good impression.” Therefore, when she 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 the perfect solution to not only beautify the rotunda, but to pull together the community in a celebration of the environmental spirit of the island.
Due to the fact that the rotunda is government 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.
Mark J. Ansier
The adopted rotunda 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. Mark says, “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?” This sculpture will be 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. Fundashon 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. Selibon (the waste management institution of Bonaire) will also help by storing old car wrecks and other metal. Welders and students from FORMA (an adult education and vocational school) and the Technical 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. However, there are more costs involved so funds are needed to finish and maintain the project. Other businesses in the area, and everyone who gives the project a warm heart, will be invited to support the project by sponsorship. Fundashon Bunita Boneiru will be initiating several fundraising projects, both online and on island, so the businesses surrounding the Hato roundabout, Bonaire residents and visitors will have ample opportunity to support this unique program. “A project we all can be proud of”. Supporters can keep up with the progress on the Bunita Boneiru Facebook page.
Donations in support of the project can be made in the following ways:
Bonaire Stichting Bunita Boneiru
MCB bank account 413.683.07
Reference: ‘HATO roundabout’
For more information