|Posted by Milton Drepaul on March 7, 2013 at 5:40 PM|
Professor Ruben Karsters, Head of the Art Department at AlphaMax Academy, died on Tuesday. Karsters was 71 years old. He was teaching his students up to last Thursday. He took a turn for the worse on Monday and was rushed to the Intensive Unit of the Academic Hospital on Tuesday.
Karsters spent nine years teaching the talented students at AlphaMax. Among his many achievements at the school was getting one of his students selected in 2007 as the Africa-Caribbean Art Scholar to Parson’s School of Art & Design in New York. In the last two weeks another of his students was offered a partial scholarship to the internationally-famous Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD).
Professor Karsters spent six years studying Fine Art in Holland in the 1960s. Art connoisseurs both in Suriname and abroad regard Ruben Karsters as a sublime portraitist at the highest level.
The poet and writer, Ivan A. Khayiat, describes Karsters' approach in this way:
"Karsters has spent the better part of sixty years seeking to perceive objects in ever-deepening clarity – to the point of seeking out ever-deeply every subtle, hidden nuance of tone, colour, shade and shadow – ever-present in the world of objective reality. This is the devout passion of Ruben Karsters’ artistic consciousness."
The President of Suriname honored Karsters in 2010 by selecting the now famous “Portrait of Hope and Peace: The Four Ms” as his official state gift to the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in November 2010. The Directors of the AlphaMax had commissioned this painting in 2007 to inspire young leaders with the outstanding life work of four of the most transformative leaders of the 20th century.
Khayiat describes the Karsters’ masterpiece in his review, Indian Resonances in Suriname, thus:
[The painting is]... a nostalgic reflective study of four masters of politics by the master of art himself. The glowing liberated faces of Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela appear above the contemplative, serious – almost troubled - busts of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the American freedom fighters, also men of colour. Indeed, gazing to his left, the beaming, joyous face of the Mahatma, the apostle of peace, clad in white – the son of India and father of the modern independence movement – appears to have inoculated and infected his dancing counterpart, Nelson Mandela: both freedom fighters ironically were dramatically pitted at differing periods against entrenched Dutch supremacy and interests in Southern Africa.
An MSNBC online poll in December 2010 voted Bouterse’s gift to Chavez as one of the top three ‘Most Appropriate Gifts” given by one head of state to another.
,As we learned that President Chavez had also passed away on Tuesday, we reflect that perhaps the divine forces want us to cement the link between President Bouterse, President Chavez, Ruben Karsters, and the ideals expressed in “A Portrait of Hope and Peace” which has been the focus of AlphaMax Academy's creative work since 2007.
Professor Karsters was subsequently further honored by the government of Suriname who specially commissioned other paintings presented to heads of state.
Ivan Khayiat , the poet, has been particularly inspired to write poems for each of these works. Non-coincidentally, Khayiat also chose a painting of Karsters' daughter as the cover for his award winning book of poetry “Msiba, My Love". The cover of a collection of AlphaMax Academy student writing, "Surviving the Ordeal” (2007) was also graced with a reproduction of a Karsters painting.
The President of Suriname Desi Bouterse has been an admirer of Karsters' work for several decades. Art connoisseurs know that Karsters executed two portraits of Desi Bouterse: One shows him as the young revolutionary leader of the 1980s, and the second, done in 2012, portrays the reflective, mature elder statesman, and international leader.
Ruben Karsters leaves behind his wife, Sabitrie and their three children, Cheranie, Vasilie, and Irina. He also has a son, Anthony, from a former marriage.
The AlphaMax community expresses its heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to Ruben Karsters for a life fully lived and devoted service he rendered in shaping the talents and ideals of youths.
From: Milton Drepaul [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 11:24 AM
To: Sean Taylor