Curaçao, a vibrant island in the Caribbean, is home to a remarkable initiative called 100Opheto. This ambitious project aims to create sustainable change and empower local communities in Curaçao while impacting the entire Caribbean region.

In a conversation with Joeri Oltheten, the initiator and project manager of 100Opheto, we explore the project’s goals, achievements, and significance, shedding light on the remarkable power of the people and the transformation the project has brought about.

Inspiration

Three years ago, amidst challenging circumstances like the pandemic, Joeri conceived the idea for the 100Opheto project. In a year meant to celebrate the 10-year autonomy of Curaçao, Joeri wanted to create a project that would restore hope for the future which sparked the idea of telling history from the bottom up.

History is often told from the perspective of the conquerors and grand narratives about the people who gained victories. Drawing upon the region’s rich history, the project aimed to tell stories from the people’s perspective rather than the ones in power. Joeri, Cleo de Brabander, Martijn Brugman, and David van Delden formed the core team and embarked on a journey to capture history through 100 objects, allowing multiple voices to be heard and perspectives to be explored.

"We wanted to create a project that would restore hope for the future, telling stories from the perspective of the people, rather than the people in power."

Joeri, Initiator of 100Opheto

Developing the project

Initially, the project aimed to engage heritage institutions and museums, but practical challenges led to another approach of collecting objects directly from individuals. The Curaçao Museum, which wished to attract a younger audience, embraced the project wholeheartedly. Local photographers, writers, and individuals from various backgrounds contributed their skills and expertise.

Through workshops with the local community, several objects were gathered that expressed the history of Curacao. A little over 300 objects were collected. By voting, the objects with the most impact or inspiring stories were selected to be featured in the exhibition and on the 100Opheto website.

100Opheto works together with many partners, including the Curaçao Museum, and is supported by many foundations and ambassadors.

The collaboration with Ngrane

Ngrane gladly cooperated with Joeri and the team to make this a project with a lasting impact. As a creative agency with roots in Curaçao, it was a no-brainer for David van Delden, our creative director, to jump on the project. Joeri reached out to Ngrane because of its connection with Curaçao. Ngrane’s founders, David and Stephen, gladly wanted to contribute to the project’s success as a digital partner, ensuring the website could tell the story of 100Opheto.

100Opheto had a special significance for David van Delden, Ngrane’s founder and creative director. For him, it was also an opportunity to still make an impact and stay connected with his roots: Curaçao.

As someone from Curaçao, David is also a firm believer that history has not been told from an authentic point of view. When Joeri introduced this project to David, he immediately felt the importance of changing this and using his skill to contribute to 100Opheto.

For him, the drive for change added an extra layer of creativity to the project, allowing him to put a little extra effort into it.

Through workshops with the local community, several objects were gathered that expressed the history of Curacao. A little over 300 objects were collected. By voting, the objects with the most impact or inspiring stories were selected to be featured in the exhibition and on the 100Opheto website.

100Opheto works together with many partners, including the Curaçao Museum, and is supported by many foundations and ambassadors.

Working with such a professional team from 100Opheto to create a meaningful project with such a profound social impact was the cherry on the cake for the Ngrane team.

“I'm very proud of the results. We created a website where our history is rewritten by telling compelling stories accompanied by narrated audio and high-resolution images of historical objects.”

— David,  Creative Director of Ngrane

Dutch Design Week

Even before 100Opheto took off, the Dutch Design Week invited the team. This invitation to the prestigious brought about a huge acceleration in the project because they just started with the idea and the development. Through a quick selection of objects, the team made an exposition of 10 objects with photos of their owners. They used QR codes to tell these inspiring stories.

100Opheto successfully kicked off the project at Dutch Design Week by exhibiting 10 inspiring objects with stories that matter.

Social Impact on Local Communities

The impact of the 100Opheto project on Curaçao’s local communities has been profound. In a society historically divided between “high” and “low” culture, the project has fostered a sense of pride in the local heritage. The inclusion of “ordinary” people and their objects, coupled with the themes of telling history from the bottom-up explored, brought forth a unique and respectful sharing of experiences. This inclusivity is essential, as traditional historical narratives often represent Western perspectives.

The project’s documentation of stories has played a significant role in recording and shaping the nation’s history, promoting a sense of nation-building and democratizing the process of historical representation. 100Opheto contributed to people’s self-confidence, self-worth, and overall sense of identity.

Future Plans and Aspirations

Looking ahead, the 100Opheto project has ambitious plans for growth and expansion. With the Curaçao Foundation serving as the basis, they aim to establish a consistent presentation style for the objects. Each collaboration, such as the one with Aruba, brings forth unique artistic expressions that allow local influences to shine.

The collaboration with Aruba, called “20 Objects: A Story of Aruba and Curaçao” is currently touring through Colombia, visiting four main cities and San Andrés. It narrates a part of the history of the two countries, and their relation to the Kingdom of the Netherlands through ten objects from Aruba and ten objects from Curaçao.

The objects and their stories make it possible to generate dialogues with the communities on topics such as migration, human rights, collective memory, peace building, among others.

As the project moves forward, the 100Opheto team envisions refreshing the objects every two years to keep the history alive and maintain inclusivity. They aim to expand the database and link objects from different countries based on shared themes. The project remains open to local influences, allowing artists in different regions to interact with the objects through mediums such as music and poetry.
Next year, the project will tour to Venezuela, and Joeri is in conversation with more countries about their own possible collections.

The collaboration with Aruba, called “20 Objects: A Story of Aruba and Curaçao” is currently touring through Colombia, visiting four main cities and San Andrés. It narrates a part of the history of the two countries, and their relation to the Kingdom of the Netherlands through ten objects from Aruba and ten objects from Curaçao.

Supporting the 100Opheto Project

The project warmly welcomes new collaborations and contributions that align with the project’s vision, allowing everyone to play a part in this open platform. 100Opheto invites you to be part of the ownership, the bottom-up mentality, and the inclusive nature of the project.

Send a message to 100opheto@gmail.com if you’re interested in collaborating or have an object you’d like to contribute.

As 100Opheto continues to evolve, it holds the potential to inspire communities across the globe and shape a future where history is inclusive, participatory, and celebrated by all. By nurturing a bottom-up mentality and embracing inclusivity, the project thrives on the genuine sense of ownership and the desire of individuals to share and pass on their experiences to make a lasting social impact.

By nurturing a bottom-up mentality and embracing inclusivity, the project thrives on the genuine sense of ownership and the desire of individuals to share and pass on their experiences.

Want to learn more about this project? Contact David van Delden!