WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO – The Cathedral of Thorns, a labor of love created of 25 million spikes, has won two CODAawards2020. Not only was the huge Cathedral selected as the winner in the Landscape category, but the innovative artwork also took home the prestigious People’s Choice Award.
Dutch Caribbean artist Herman van Bergen started work on the grand project eight years ago on the island of Curacao. Wanting to demonstrate the futility of religious strife, his vision also included a focus on the original Curacaoan inhabitants, the Caiquetio Indians. The CODAworx jury praised the Cathedral of Thorns for the way Van Bergen and hisvolunteers “created an actual building out of native shrubs, and in the process, honored Mother Nature and the Free Spirit.”
The immersive work, towering up to 60 feet above the visitor, is surprisingly real in a time when all platforms are forced to go virtual. It was officially opened in February 2020 with a theater performance reflecting Curacao history, curated by well known Curacaoan director Felix de Rooy of Curacaoan film cult classic Ava & Gabriel fame. For Van Bergen, the international recognition by CODAworx signals “the importance of the project, subsequently raising consciousness on how we treat our planet, each other and ultimately ourselves.”
As part of the CODAawards2020 prize, the Cathedral of Thorns will be featured in the summer of 2021 as part of the bi-annual CODAawards winners exhibition at the Octagon Museum, located on the grounds of the American Institute of Architects’ Headquarters in Washington, DC. By then, flights between the US mainland and Curacao may have resumed and the art work can be visited in person, a feat currently made impossible due to measures instituted to curb the spread of covid-19
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