Originally from Germany, Christine (“Nini”) Tsirikidis moved to Curaçao three years ago and became fascinated with driftwood found along Curaçao’s north shore. Washed onto shore by the wind and tide, driftwood (also known as marine debris or tidewrack) in all shapes and sizes is notorious for inspiring creativity. So Nini scours the shore in search of driftwood treasures. A ‘resilient traveler’ in its purest form, driftwood has weathered many storms and Nini wants to keep it that way. She assembles large and small shapes (fish, hearts, candle holders etc) keeping the wood intact, each piece telling its own unique story, just as the tide intended.
Nini credits her mother with exposing her to museums and diverse artistic expressions from all over the world throughout her childhood. As a result, she spent the better part of her life experimenting with natural materials (ceramics, found materials in the woods etc), teaching herself different techniques to ultimately ‘recycle nature’.
She found her preferred creative medium in Curaçao’s driftwood.
“I’m an Occupational Therapist and work with handicapped children and adults [at ‘De Stichting voor Gehandicapten- en Revalidatiezorg’ (De SGR-Groep) in Curaçao] I’m thankful for my job as it keeps things in perspective and serves as a constant reminder of what’s important in life. And art is important to me,” says Nini.
Curiosity fuels Nini’s long walks along the coast… What will the sea bring today??
“I have no expectations, everything I make is unique. No two pieces of driftwood are alike. And I will never find the same pieces again, so I can’t get attached,” she says.
The real challenge lies in technicalities (in construction) and finding invisible construction patterns.
“I don’t want to alter the driftwood, so I have to find the best combination of wood and piece them together, like a puzzle, only I’m creating the puzzle as I go, adapting its shape to each piece. That’s what makes my artwork so versatile. It can be placed anywhere, outside in the rain or inside the house.”
Nini’s initial work was flat, but she has since evolved into 3D with movement. Driftwood is all about movement, after all.
You can find “Nini’s Driftwood Art” every first Sunday of the month at the open house and art fair of Landhuis Ascension (10 am – 2 pm). Her work is also displayed daily at Landhuis Savonet (entrance of Christoffelpark, Westpunt). Nini’s website is currently under construction, but please feel free to email her firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘friend’ her on Facebook for more information! (All photos from “Nini’s Driftwood Art” Facebook page)