All honor and glory goes to a cultural super Black hero that descended on Montaberde an impoverished neighbourhood near Punda in the second decade of the 20th century, son of Mayo and Hosé surviving poverty growing up with aspirations to discover himself, his Black identity and the collective umbilical cord knotted up within Curacaoan society. From a young kid that got named Elis with one ‘l’ because moms didn’t have ducates to pay for a double ‘l’ when at birth she registered him and his twin sister at ‘Kranchi’ to tough times, no money for school, becoming a craftsman, mechanic to earning skills at Shell oil refinery, those ‘Do whatever you can to make ends meet’ movements. Meanwhile the poet in him comes out then he drops on the scene with national Black self-esteem schemes.
National Archaelogical Anthropological Memory Management (www.naam.an) home of one of the most highly valuable treasures the ‘Zinkinza’ collection: “In the fifties and sixties, for more than six years, Father Paul Brenneker and Mr. Elis Juliana collected more than 1,400 songs, pieces of music, stories and events of the people of Curaçao. The result is a collection that can be considered the soul of 20th century Curaçao.”
Anthropologist Ieteke Witteveen compared him to Aimé Césaire from Martinique and the Jamaican Rex Nettleford. Dr. Rene Rosalia ex director of Kas di Kultura gave him the title of ‘Kulturista Mayo’ a crowned investigator of Afro-Curacaoan culture, its characteristics, the customs and challenges of the Yu di Kòrsou, an emancipator who after his research and documentation dropped cultural knowledge jewels back into the heads of the common people via poetry, story telling, kids stories on the radio and television.
Besides being a self taught anthropologist, archeologist, ethno-musicologist he was a visual artist. A giant blessing up our collective memory. Parasitical sidenote is that colonial opinionators and most media subtly steer away from the fact that he repped Afro-Curacaoan culture and critical minds might wonder why he ever allowed himself to receive a royal Dutch condecoration? Circumstancial strategy of a sly anti-colonial icon registering working class life of the ordinary women and men exorcizing Dutch mental colonialism.
His works inspired visual artist, teacher and activist Ashley Mauricio fighting his one man war to re-open after 13 years a school for the artistic spirited to bless him up and once the finances come through put a brandnew Elis Juliana Academy of Arts on the spot.
More people need to study his works of light and spread it through modern day systems of communication. His immense importance cannot be watered down. Hype his legacy up in Venezuelan manners put him on McDonald Happy Meals whatever use all the Goddess given creativity to commemorate him forever.
The gratitude is infinite and humble as he was he wants us all to remain simple, enrich ourselves mentally with our cultural gold nuggets open up spiritual pathways to persons by saying ‘Didjo’ (Dia di Dios-Day of God-old custom of elders to say good day)
Now that he has risen to ancestral ‘kunuku’s’ refusing to eat up the salt like rebellious enslaved souls Ompi Elis spread his wings one day before San Juan and majestically Luango style flew back home.