It’s no secret that Nena Sanchez is perhaps Curacao’s most recognized artist, and many people are aware of her auto didactic background, but this past year I have come to know Nena as much more than an artist of vibrant flora and fauna.  by Kate Ribeiro

I have learned of what a true visionary she really is. Her imagination is constantly brimming with the possibilities of “what if”, and those ideas are manifest in projects from urban revitalization to rural kunuku clearings. She taps 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 have 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. Don’t even get me started on Lola, the gallery’s West Pointer, who loyally remained by my side, enjoying a little scratch behind her ears and a pat on her backside.

Recently I went for a walk with Nena through the woods on the south side of the gallery. Flaco, an artist in residence, began clearing pathways in the woods. These paths were clearly designed by an artist as they wind in fluid and creative ways. 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 is so much more to this charming lady. She not only sees but imagines life beyond the confines of space.

She delights in the creative and imaginative process, and is always asking herself what more can I do for my island, the youth and this beautiful world in which I live.