ColorMeSXM is a project on Sint Maarten by Be The Change Foundation. The project aims to add colour to the island through murals, promote our local art and artists, and encourage residents and visitors to explore and share the beauty of our island. For the first phase of this project, 12 artists have been selected to create 12 murals in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.
ColorMeSXM is supported and made possible by the Government of Sint Maarten; Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau; Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport; The Prins Bernhard Foundation; Sherwin Williams; La Vista and other partners and volunteers. Starting this week, you can look forward to seeing features on the artists behind the ColorMeSXM murals being featured in Philipsburg.
Cultural Liberation by Loudahlia Brill
The name of this week’s first artist is Loudahlia Brill. Her mural in entitled Cultural Liberation. It took her 21 days of beautiful effort to complete her colourful and interactive work of art. Any time you’re in Philipsburg, you can find it across from the historical Methodist Church. The concept and inspiration behind her creation is celebration.
Of the piece, Brill wrote, “I want to celebrate St. Maarten’s culture by showcasing a vibrant colourful, abstract art piece. My mural includes representation of our blue sky, hills, sunny weather and rich culture. The colourful hills represent the wide range of eye-catching houses on the hills as well as the different nationalities that live in them (melting pot).
“There is a different part of Cultural Liberation, a swing which is an interactive part of the mural, thus one can get more connected with the artwork. It allows for viewers to not only take pictures with the art, but also sit and create their own photographic art with a dynamic background.
“The mural features elements like the Ponum dance, which is a local tradition and is a celebration of the island’s emancipation from slavery in the late eighteenth century. It was mostly performed under St. Maarten’s National Tree, the Flamboyant, to celebrate the abolishment of slavery and unification of multicultural peoples. The mural portrays drummers playing their cultural drums as the Ponum dancers performed the Ponum dance. “I could not imagine the Caribbean without dance and music,” said Brill of the inspiration.
When she is not creating murals for the ColorMeSXM project, you can find Brill creating several other murals. Brill explained, “I am not new to murals. I have done others – those were mostly for schools like Sister Magda, Excellence Learning Academy & Miss Ingrid Home Center. A few of my other pieces include some interior and exterior murals. This painting for ColorMeSxm would be my 15th mural and my first wall of this magnitude.”
Drip Wall by Neha Soneji
The second artist in the spotlight comes to us by the name of Neha Soneji. Her vibrant wall took a total of two weeks with the assistance of several other volunteers to contribute to the completion. You don’t have to look very far for it. The piece is bold and attention-grabbing in its position on Back Street, adjacent to the Oranje School. Her wall will be accompanied by the interactive sounds of children running and playing, adding to the fun the mural embodies.
Of her art, Soneji said, “This ‘Drip Wall’ is a statement piece that aims to inspire by bringing Back Street to life with a splash of colour. It is made to showcase the undeniable diversity of our island; a melting pot of cultures, races, history, feelings, and thoughts where humanity transcends the physical construct. It is a tribute to the acceptance and inclusion of all the different types of people that make up our island.
“This colourful wall was a way to give back to the community, to inspire not only our youth but people of all ages to love and accept others, but most importantly themselves. The wall tells a story with colours and shapes of how a shift in mindset is needed for acceptance and inclusion, because humans are social beings capable of learning and understanding, but only if one puts in the energy to do so.”
Like many others who have created the wall, Soneji is an artist in her regular time. She has an Instagram page @CaptivArtSxm and a pending Facebook page called CaptivArtSxm. She has been sketching and painting from a young age, but has recently been exploring watercolour art by creating landscapes and portraits.
“I have been painting a few murals as well. Also, I am working with clients and others to paint my mural ideas on other places on the island. I also engage in digital artwork and photography,” said Soneji of her other works.
If you would like to see some more of the artist’s work, check out her Instagram page @captivartsxm – also @colormesxm, which has more photos of the wall.
Make sure to stop by Loudahlia Brill’s “Cultural Liberation” and Neha Soneji’s “Drip Wall” while you’re in Philipsburg, or take a special trip just to admire them and take pictures with their work and that of others.
Hear about more of the artists every week, right here in the Out n’ About. Curious to see what art they are creating before it’s done? Follow @colormesxm on Instagram or Be The Change Foundation on Facebook to learn more.