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Friday, July 8, 2016

Still Life: Caribbean Love, Humanity and Pride in Marble and Bronze

We certainly didn’t expect to see little Anne Frank in the middle of the Caribbean.
Anne Frank in Aruba: forever the optimist. 

And yet, there she was, in Aruba’s Oranjestad, in Wilhelmina Park, reflecting the island’s Dutch heritage and an enduring symbol of its commitment to tolerance. The peaceful, tropical park is right downtown, and a quick and easy walk from the cruise pier.

The bronze statue by Netherlands artist Joep Coppens shows Anne with hands bound, looking hopefully toward the sky.

Her pedestal is engraved with an inspiring quote from her diary: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” See more on the statue at Visit

In fact, there are other great statues on the islands that commemorate love, family, pride of home and the triumph of man’s humanity. Keep your eye out for these:

A call for freedom in St. Croix—A former slave is depicted in bronze by artist Bright Bimpong celebrating emancipation by blowing through a conch shell. Below the bust is a simple inscription on marble: “Freedom.” You can see the statue in the Emancipation Gardens, just off the ship in Frederiksted, in the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix, a laid-back St. Thomas sibling with a promenade along its glass-like clear waters.

Love in St. Lucia—This startlingly lovely bronze statue in Castries shows a couple in an affectionately warm embrace. The Bank of St. Lucia commissioned island native son Ricky George in 1997 to create this piece named “The Aftermath,” which can be found in front of the Bank of St. Lucia on Bridge Street.
A sweet reminder of what life is all about in St. Lucia.
Celebration of a nation in San Juan. In the Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan, five or six blocks from the cruise pier (make a left, then take the promenade along the water), you’ll come across a stirring and powerful fountained monument to the birth of Puerto Rico. The Raices Fountain, constructed in bronze in 1992 by Spanish artist Luis Sanguino, is framed by the bay and on this particular day (see photo below), made even more moving with the help of some dramatic clouds.
Spanish-American pride in San Juan.
Note that the walk along the ancient wall near the fountain has a pretty little garden with other interesting statues—both patriotic and whimsical.

The Queens’ reign over Charlotte Amalie. The trek up the 99 steps to Blackbeard’s Castle in St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie is well worth it—whether or not you actually go inside. Outside the castle walls are gorgeous gardens of colorful tropical foliage, its center crowned by The Three Queens, a bronze sculpture commemorating three former female slaves who led a revolt against the Danish government in 1878 on nearby St. Croix. Richard Hallier created the statue in 2005.
The fight against slavery, a panorama of the sea in Charlotte Amalie.

While you’re there, you’ll enjoy a sweeping view of the Charlotte Amalie harbor, and you might just also see your cruise ship.

Then, wander the gardens to see other almost-hidden surprises, like Hallier’s Disneyesque statue of the girl and her birds.

In bronze, as in nature--the beauty of the Virgin Islands.
Musing’s Top Tip: For other fun things to watch for at the ports, see the posting, Watch for the Signs—How the Ports Tease and Tempt You.