‘The last 20 years, I’ve been based in both the Netherlands and Curaçao. Both places have their own significance in my existence and experience. This creates a balance between who I am and what I want. My ‘sense of place’ floats between the island, the airplane, and the Netherlands. I focus on spaces which are connected but which we do not necessarily associate with each other.’
To Wish I Was There (2020)
For Refresh Amsterdam, Tirzo Martha presents a new sculptural work that reflects on the ongoing COVID19 pandemic – how it has affected our sense of private space, our work space, how we relate to people differently, and how the experience of the crisis varies in different parts of the world. His experience with the lockdown in Curaçao and his subsequently isolated work in Zaandam forced Martha to operate in different ways and to find new forms for his artistic process in which (digital and remote) collaboration is key.
Tirzo Martha’s work is a reflection on how far apart reality and fantasy can be, yet at the same moment can still have a very close relationship with one another. It approaches the fine line between the duality of freedom and captivity; how our spaces sometimes drive us away, but can also be places of peace. It is a disruption of our experience of the everyday frameworks that can define these spaces so conclusively.
Tirzo Martha (Willemstad, Curaçao, 1965) is a multidisciplinary artist who splits his time between Willemstad and The Netherlands. Growing up, he was confronted with the deteriorating social conditions in his neighbourhood on Curaçao. Because of this, he has devoted himself to creating socially engaged artworks and public interventions in order to spur new developments and progress through the power of imagination. His large-scale works with found materials (often everyday objects) are the product of collaborative processes with people from all levels of the community. Martha began his art education at the Akademia di Arte Korsou before moving to the Netherlands to study. He returned to Curaçao in 1991, where he co-founded the Instituto Buena Bista – Curaçao Centre for Contemporary Art (IBB).