Successful opening exhibition Boneiru Bibu: Bou di Awa

On October 7th, people of all ages visited the opening of the first exhibition Boneiru Bibu: Bou di Awa. At the Terramar Museum this expo visualizes how the diverse population of Bonaire interacts with the ocean today and in the past. The expo includes photos by Kenny Ranking, historical artifacts and photos borrowed from FuHiKuBo, and drawings by Liseo Boneriano’s students.

Stacey Mac Donald of the World Wide Fund for Nature the Netherlands (WWF-NL) and the Terramar Museum team came up with the idea of putting the ocean as the central theme of an exhibition. “The Bonairean population has a strong relationship with the sea and is constantly in contact with it. But it’s taken for granted. We often don’t realize how important and vulnerable the sea is. Through this project we want to bring together all layers of society: from the fisherman, the artist, the recreational user, the spectator to the conservationist, to create awareness for safeguarding marine life.”

From left to right: Elena Baker (Terramar Museum), Stacey Mac Donald (WWF-NL), student Sue-Ira Tweeboom, photographer Kenny Ranking, Maya Narvaes (Terramar Museum)

The exposition is divided into a number of sections. Kenny Ranking’s photos show interactions between the sea and the community. For example, you see people swimming, surfing, enjoying the water. “I love driving around Bonaire. Through photography I regularly come into contact with people. We talk about the way they experience the environment and Bonaire. It’s a nice contrast, because normally I’m an introvert.” says the photographer.

Another part of the exhibition shows a piece of history of the Bonaire Regatta, the annual sailing competition that is organized in October, by displaying old photos and program booklets. If you look through the old photos and program booklets, you can visualize how the landscape, demographics and sailing on Bonaire has changed in 55 years. These photos and artifacts have been shared by the FuHiKuBo foundation.

The vision of young people also is highlighted. During biology class, Liseo Boneriano’s students made drawings to visualize their relationship with the ocean. Their memories of the sea and their vision for the future of the ocean were painted. To stimulate a dialogue, visitors were able to answer the question of how we as individuals can have sustainable relationships with the ocean. Their opinion was written on paper and placed on a board.

Opinion board at the expo

There are several shipwrecks around the island. One of them, the Mairi Bahn or Windjammer, sank in 1912, was more than 55 meters underwater and is now a popular technical diving site. When the ship sank, the figurehead was removed. In 1952, the figurehead of JatoBaco was stolen by Lodewijk Gerharts and Jules Heitkönig. They placed it on the bar of Hotel Zeebad, the current Divi Flamingo Beach Resort. The Dutch navy stole the figurehead twice and transported it to the Netherlands. Fortunately, it returned to Bonaire and in 1990 came into the hands of Captain Don Stewart, who initiated Bonaire’s diving tourism industry. He identified himself as an environmentalist and therefore painted the figurehead’s nails green. Janet Thubault, his widow, borrowed the figurehead to Terramar Museum in 2016. Fun fact: the figurehead’s nails are still green. This figurehead can also be seen at the expo.

The exhibition Boneiru Bibu: Bou di Awa can be visited until November 4th. This exhibition is part of a two-year project in which WWF-NL will be organizing a series of activities in close collaboration with Terramar Museum.

Visitors at the expo

Historic reefs

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