This year, the Ministry of Culture in Aruba presented a new award for local artists: the Premio J.C. Lampe. Juan C. Lampe, better known as “Padu Del caribe” or “Padu” is the multi-talented composer of our National Anthem: Aruba Dushi Tera. This new national prize, named after him, is instituted to stimulate our musicians, writers, dancers, all our creative people to create art and enrich the Aruban culture. From the 200 submissions the judges finally selected 5 nominees:
* Michael Lampe (musician, leader of Datapanik)
* Ryan Oduber (visual art artist and painter)
* Janice and Oslin Boekhoudt (dancers and dance teachers at Scol di Baile Pachanga)
* Armand Simon (concert pianist and piano teacher)
* Me (hooray!)
I’ve never been nominated before. Definitely not with a chance to win 10,000 Aruban Florins (almost US$6000) to invest in a WIP (work-In-Progress)! And it’s not that Aruba doesn’t have awards for artists or other happily-struggling people. I believe there are some honorary prizes, but from what I can remember, these prizes are more symbolic. Like a glass trophy in the shape of a cactus, or a huge check of 100 Aruban Florins and a dinner-for-two. Anything given is wonderful, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t mind receiving a glass cactus, if it meant appreciation for what I do. But, let’s focus on the topic: ‘What to do with a nomination?’ Cause I know what to do with a first prize, trust me. I had a list of possibilities: go to a SCBWI Conference in LA or NY, or should I just invest in that book-project together with my son’s soccer team? I can go on, and on and on. One life is not long enough for all these plans.
And I know, I just know, you’re not going to believe what I’m about to say. Cause, I did not win! No, I didn’t mean you wouldn’t believe that I lost. What I want to tell you is, I did not win and I’m not sore about it. Yes, really. That’s the great advantage of doing what you love and feeling not only nominated every time one of your readers tell you that a book you created, is his or her favorite. But, it’s a grand first prize to be able to do what you’re passionate about. For me that’s writing. For the winner who received an extra compensation for his passion, it’s visual arts and painting, and for all the other winners who got nominated or who participated, it’s no different, I hope. Because, if you NEED a prize, or a recognition to do what you want most in life, I wish you lots of Luck!
But, there are more reasons why I’m a Happy Nominee and it’s all been said in my 3- minute speech:
“When I heard I was nominated for the J.C. Lampe Award, – a prize I’ve never heard of, that’s how new it is – The Father of Our Culture Award, I went mad. I’m glad none of you were present when I was jumping around in my house.
For me, I’ve already won.
The fact that this award exists, is already pure profit for us – for me, for you, for all the nominees, for all present, from the youngest to the eldest. For all who can understand what I’m saying, to the ones with no clue what I’m talking about. Even for the ones not present here, because this prize is for all of Aruba and also for the rest of the world. Because, our planet feeds itself on inspiration and inspiration has no borders – only if we limit ourselves. But, don’t worry, that’s not going to happen. Why are we here then?
This is the award every artist in Aruba has been waiting for. Not only for the recognition, not only for the financial and moral support such a prize, such a great honor signifies. Because we may talk about ‘our culture’ and ‘our art’, ‘our pride’, but how… how do we, here in Aruba, demonstrate our appreciation for our country? With talent.
Just like Juan Chabaya Lampe, we can all discover the Padu in ourselves. The musician, the composer, the painter, the poet… the unique talent or talents each one of us have and that need to come out to enrich this island we all care for so dearly, as much as the world around us. Because Aruba…
You may be small and simple
But yet you are respected
Chikito y simpel bo por ta
Pero… si respeta!
(Aruba Dushi Tera – National Anthem of Aruba)
My talent is the art of words
and the art of illustration
and maybe even more
Just like Padu
That’s why I’m here
So I can keep on discovering everything I have inside
All I have to give.”
And even if my speech doesn’t sound the same in English, it’s the truth and nothing beats the truth. So go find yours, it has nothing to do with luck! 🙂