New emblem for Curaçao causes a storm of criticism

17 October 2022 | Oscar van Dam

There has been fuss about a new national emblem in Curaçao for weeks. With a competition, the cabinet hoped for more solidarity and positivity. The result: a wave of criticism about how bad or ugly the winning sketch would be.

In recent weeks, residents have been able to vote online for ten different designs. The government sees four key elements reflected in the winning emblem: bridge, colours, flag and island pride. Critics call it a ‘poorly drawn sticker’.

The cactus pictured would not be authentic Curacao and the hummingbird on the island is green and not blue as pictured. Also (stereotypical) criticism of the boat depicted: ‘it looks like a Venezuelan go-fast’. And criticism of the accent on the i Mi Pais, a misspelling of Papiamento. In addition, the design is tailored as a whole.

But not only the emblem itself, but also the integrity of the young designer Adresseti Monart was called into question. A family member would be part of the selection committee. In addition, she is accused of plagiarism on social media because the depicted boat and hummingbird can already be found in the Shutterstock photo database.

‘It appears that the designer has committed a crime’
With the unveiling of the winning emblem, the discussion between supporters and opponents has increased considerably. So much so that the morning newspaper Extra encourages its readers to keep calm in an editorial. “It appears that Mrs. Monart has committed a crime.”

Left: Curaçao’s current coat of arms. Right: the concept for the new emblem.

Our society needs to grow up and stop destroying each other with this childish behavior. “Extra doesn’t pretend that every aspect of the decal is perfect, but the suggested tweaks should help with the final concept.”

In September, criticism started on social media about the selection among all 205 entries. The discussion sparked further after designers who were not in the top ten posted their sketches on social media.

Decolonization
With the introduction of the new emblem, the government wants to replace the current coat of arms of Curaçao; a shield covered with a golden crown, with a WIC ship and the coat of arms of Amsterdam below.

Former minister Omayra Leeflang sees “Curaçao’s decline” reflected in the designation of the new emblem. “From weapons to logo. How low can we go,’ she wrote on her Facebook page.

In addition to the many opponents, there are also people who defend the choice for the logo. They think the simple design is beautiful and contemporary. Or they repeat what Minister of Culture Sithree van Heydoorn (MFK) said at the presentation of a new national emblem. “The winning design will be used as a concept. It serves as the basis for the final and official design.”

How much does a new sticker cost?
The question is how strong the reaction will be when the final design is presented and the cost of introducing a new badge is made public. All stationery must be adapted, but also name tags, coffee cups, e.g.

In the Netherlands, the municipality of Amsterdam paid 100,000 euros for the introduction of a new logo, while the municipality of The Hague lost 250,000 euros for the introduction of a new logo. A new logo for the national government cost 15 million euros. It is unclear how much Curaçao will allocate to this.

Minister Van Heydoorn does not want to mention any amount for the fight, the campaign and the replacement of the existing weapon. The government has asked all organizations involved to contribute ‘voluntarily’. But officials involved in the project would do so during their regular working hours. And it also costs money in the end.

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