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21 Aug 2023

Official Unveiling of New Public Art Installation Commemorating 100 Years of Aviation in Aruba

In Oranjestad:

During an official ceremony on Friday morning August 18, Minister of Transportation Ursell Arends and Aruba Airport CEO Joost Meijs along with special invitees christened a new public art installation at Linear Park across from Aruba Bank Camacuri, created by local artist Gilbert Senchi. The eye-catching 10-meter-tall artwork commemorates the landing of the first sea planes in Aruba on August the 18th in 1923 and will serve as a commemorative landmark in honour of 100 years of aviation in Aruba.

A small group of dignitaries, sponsors and special guests gathered at Linear Park near the location where the first official landing site was constructed in 1935. On this area, back then called Baca Morto, the new art installation now stands tall amidst the Linear Park paved walkway and parking.

During the unveiling ceremony all invitees were presented with a video showcasing the rich history of 100 years of aviation in Aruba, followed by speeches of Joost Meijs, CEO of Aruba Airport Authority (AAA), Minister of Transportation Ursell Arends and Anthony Kirchner, Deputy Director of Department of Civil Aviation Aruba (DCA). The speeches acknowledged the contributions of Aruba’s aviation to the local community and economy, while also emphasising the importance of preserving the aviation heritage by means of the newly unveiled public art installation.

Local artist Gilbert Senchi was commissioned to create an artwork that would serve as a monument, commemorating 100 years of aviation in Aruba. Senchi worked on the installation for half a year, modelling and moulding the bronze and steel components for the 10-meter-tall artwork at his art workshop in Colombia, and afterwards welding and compiling the 4,000-kilogram structure in a local workshop in San Nicolas, Aruba. The length of the artwork represents 10 decades of aviation history in Aruba, while the steel statue in the shape of a plane’s tail refers to the future of flying and the bronze replica of the Curtiss-H16 airplane atop the structure brings salute to the historic first landing in Aruba, 100 years ago.

The official dedicatory christening of the art installation was conducted by Minister of Finance & Culture, Xiomara Maduro, Minister of Tourism & Public Health, Dangui Oduber, Minister of Transport, Integrity, Nature and Elderly Affairs, Ursell Arends, Anthony Kirchner, Joost Meijs, and the sponsors of the public art piece. The art installation is a gift to the Aruban community and made possible by the Aruba Airport Authority with contributions of the Government of Aruba, AHATA, ANSA, ATA, De Wit Stores N.V., Dufry Aruba N.V., and One Happy Bar N.V..

After the ceremony was concluded AAA-employees were invited to gather in front of the new public art piece for a commemorative picture moment, all dressed in special attire to celebrate 100 years of aviation.

About AUA Airport

AUA Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean region, with 22 different airlines operating into Aruba contributing to processing over 2.5 million passengers per year and providing air service to 22 cities and 34 non-stop destinations worldwide. AUA Airport’s markets served comprise of 77% from the United States & Canada, 13% from Latin America, 6% from Europe, and 4% from Dutch Caribbean, year to date, July 2023. AUA Airport attributes this to the island’s stable economic and political climate, hospitable and multilingual population, and safe environment. AUA Airport’s aspiration is to become one of the most Sustainable, Safe, and Future Proof airports of the Latin America & Caribbean region, providing a trusted workplace, modern airport facilities and excellent customer service which reflects Aruban hospitality, contributing to a prosperous future for Aruba.

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