Saba’s Memory Trail wall, an artwork by and for the people

Saba residents gathered on Thursday, December 15 to inaugurate a special, public artwork that has been especially developed for the new fire station at the airport. Saba’s Memory Trail wall was put together by artist Sara Ramo, with the assistance of Saba residents, many of them schoolchildren, who contributed memory pieces that were placed in the rock wall.

Artist Sara Ramo with the Memory Trail wall.

The new building for the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department on Saba was developed by the National Government Real Estate Company (“Rijksvastgoedbedrijf”), and since it is customary to add a work of art to every major development of this Dutch government entity, it was decided to do the same on Saba.

Project Manager Dick van Dongen of the National Government Real Estate Company explained that the priority for the art committee that supervises the process of choosing an artist was that the artwork needed to be placed in the public space around the new building. Another priority was that the artwork had to be for the Saba population.

The National Government Architect guided the art committee in the process which eventually resulted in a short list of three artists. After a pitch by each of the three artists, Hispanic/Brazilian artist Sara Ramo, who currently lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was appointed to make the artwork at the new fire station on Saba.

Ramo and producer Carmo Azeredo, with assistant producers Tiffany Zagers of the Queen Wilhelmina Library and Sapphire Ramkissoon of Child Focus, worked for almost a year on the project, which included a thorough preparation and an extensive collecting of the memory pieces, handmade or used, and donated by both children and adults.

Guests at the inauguration of Saba’s Memory Trail wall take a closer look at the public artwork.

“I was enchanted by Saba when I came here about a year ago. It is a very special island. I went to every corner of Saba, made contacts everywhere. I can understand that it must have been a bit strange for the people here to suddenly put their trust in someone from outside who was collecting memory pieces for an artwork in a rock wall,” said Ramo in her speech at the inauguration, which took place in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.

Shards of antique ceramics, pieces of colorful glass and clay, small toys, tiny everyday items, craftwork. The Saba people donated all kinds of different pieces to create the Memory Trail wall. Schoolchildren made a large number of clay pieces of all colors, but also from brown clay that was collected at Saba’s historic Mary’s Point village. It took Ramo more than a week to place the thousands of pieces in rock wall.

“I am amazed with the diversity of the pieces that people donated. A huge thanks to everyone who made this artwork possible. It was made with love,” said Ramo. She encouraged people to care for the wall and to exchange pieces and put in new things over time. “Because it is your wall, your Memory Trail.”


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