Individual exhibition, through June 1st, 2014 (catalogue available)

In excess of fifty larger and smaller sculptures provide an overview of the exceptional oeuvre of this Antillean, who creates sculptures from recycled waste material and objects he has found.

The work of the celebrated and award-winning Yubi Kirindongo (Willemstad, 1946) has been seen throughout the world, both in galleries and at international exhibitions such as the Biennials of Havana, Johannesburg and São Paulo. His work is accessible, but not ‘uncomplicated’. Until now, Kirindongo’s recycling art has seldom been seen in the Netherlands. With more than sixty works created in the period from the 1970s to the present day, Museum Beelden aan Zee is presenting the first major retrospective of the oeuvre of the Antilles’ most important artist. To be seen are sculptures made from car bumpers and other vehicle components. But Kirindongo also fashions other waste materials and discarded objects into meaningful and socially engaged sculptures.

Yubi Kirindongo - Kop II, 2011© Ed Jansen

Yubi Kirindongo – Kop II, 2011© Ed Jansen

After a hard youth, at the age of nineteen the fatherless Yubi Kirindongo left the Antilles as a stowaway on a freighter for Europe. After eventually arriving in Amsterdam by way of Athens, Rome and Genoa, he found work as, among other things, a hospital ward orderly, but also as a boxer. However, Kirindongo’s life took a turn for the worse, and he ended up on the seamy side of the 1960s petit bourgeois Dutch society, reaching it deepest point with a spell in prison. However, both while serving his sentence and later after his release, he came in contact to an increasing extent with a true interest, art. Kirindongo felt liberated after reading the life story of Caravaggio. The same hot-headedness, constantly having to watch his back, but still able to create magnificent works of art.

View from the show / Courtesy of the museum

View from the show / Courtesy of the museum

Yubi Kirindongo started painting when he was still in the Netherlands. In the mid-1970s he returned for good to Curaçao, where he discovered that he was more of a sculptor than painter, developing into a socially engaged artist who championed the far-reaching emancipation of the black population. Through his art, he has fought for the cause of social change. Kirindongo works with waste: he identifies himself with the material, but makes it arise from the ashes like a phoenix into new, splendid sculptures. He has the talent of being able to combine all manner of diverse objects. He gained international fame with his recycled art made from scrap car bumpers, but that was just the beginning of an oeuvre that has as its most prevalent themes the freedom of mankind, the condemnation and combating of slavery, and the breathing of new life into something that appears to be ‘dead’. Seemingly folkloristic and easy on the eye, Kirindongo’s work still has much in common with the wrongs on the island and in his own life. Yubi Kirindongo is the cultural icon of Curaçao.

Yubi Kirindongo - Haragan, 2012 © Ed Jansen

Yubi Kirindongo – Haragan, 2012 © Ed Jansen

Museum Beelden aan Zee, Harteveltstraat 1, Den Haag, The Netherlands.

Exhibition on view Tuesday to Sunday, between 10am – 5pm, from January 31 through June 1st, 2014.

Headline picture’s credits : Yubi Kirindongo © Museum Beelden aan Zee