It’s no secret that beloved artist Nena Sanchez that passed away in 2017, is perhaps Curacao’s most recognized artist, painting vibrant flora and fauna.  by Kate Ribeiro

She was a true visionary. Her imagination was constantly brimming with the possibilities of “what if”, and those ideas manifested in projects from urban revitalization to rural kunuku clearings. She tapped into the pulse of this island whether in the alley ways of Punda or on the vast property surrounding her gallery at Landhuis Jan Kok.

Nena’s infectious smile and bright chocolate eyes had a way of making you feel like you are part of her art world. Whenever I visit her gallery, I leave feeling inspired. My head swims of the tales of the ghosts that inhabit the wine cellar; my eyes are drawn to bright colors that are reminiscent of the murals on her walls.

I remember walking with Nena through the woods on the south side of the gallery. Our walk inspired the possibilities of arts shows and bazaars and traveling theater. We imagined a setting where local artisans could sell their work, and young aspiring actors could entertain guests; where musicians could perform and workshop would be offered…

So, if you knew Nena as simply a painter of vibrant flowers, colorful people, and radiant seascapes, I am here to tell you there was so much more to this charming lady. She not only saw but imagined life beyond the confines of space. She delighted in the creative and imaginative process, and is always asked herself what more can I do for my island, the youth and this beautiful world in which I live?