The luminous Carin Steen

Carin Steen is a luminous addition to the Honduras art scene. Photo: Luminosa (Carin Steen)

HONDURAS, December 4, 2013 — Carin Steen is an enthusiastic woman, full of life and energy. She seems to have emerged one of her own paintings ready for an explosion of colors, textures and shapes at any time.

Steen, a native of Rotterdam, is entranced by the famous ruins of Copan. Her journey to the Mayan lands started during a holiday trip as a young girl to Mexico. In her later years, she ventured to go a little further south.

The City of Copan is located in the department of the same name in northeastern Honduras, bordering Guatemala. Despite the archaeological wealth of this place and a cosmopolitan population, it is full of cozy corners and excellent tourist offerings.

Nowhere else one could find the unique atmosphere of Copan, a rural location but with a worldly and open touch and a rich history. Copan is a place owned by the Maya Macondian spirit with a touch of a magical and colorful world.

Carin arrived in March 1997 to visit some friends who own a restaurant. She repeatedly extended her stay and eventually made Copan her home. Carin says she fell in love with the magical realism of Macondo, the setting of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez, and promised herself to reach her own Macondo.

Starting her life from scratch in a strange country, without mastery of the Spanish language, Carin’s job options were limited. She could guide Dutch tourists or teach in a bilingual school. She chose teaching, and became a Kindergarten teacher in Copan. Because of her passion for art, she soon became the art teacher for the entire school.

In 1999, Carin organized an art exhibition, “Copan Draws,” with assistance from the painter Edgar Zelaya. The wild success of the exhibition lead Carin and Zelaya to establish and art school, open to all children of the village.

Carin then collaborated with an NGO that worked closely with the Maya Chortí Community to create an outreach program to teach art to the indigenous communities.

Carin recalls this experience and tells us that “That was a blast! children who had never drawn in their lives, but what enthusiasm!” Although her friend Edgardo broke away from the project, “Copan Pinta”, she continued on. The work increased so much that she had to leave her job as a Kindergarten teacher. She used art as a tool to teach indigenous children issues as fundamental as health, human rights and cultural heritage protection.

Due to administrative difficulties, the institution closed, but Carin continued her work. She is now an independent artist, who continues with community projects. She has also discovered a passion for murals, and some schools have it as reflected in its walls his creative genius.

Carin says this medium gives her great satisfaction, which allows her to contribute to the beautification of the communities where it operates, to turn a gray wall in an explosion of colors and shapes. Recently she visited the city of El Progreso to paint a mural at an orphanage with the participation of twelve teenagers, and although she likes most work alone, this experience was an important challenge in his career, becoming the leader responsible for marking the path of a group of young artists.

The most satisfying thing is to feel the positive response from the community for her creations.

“I paint murals many more; the only problem of this art in this country is that there are not many walls, hahahaha! And continue painting murals elsewhere, that’s my dream ….” concludes Carin Steen.

Carin has established a coffee-gallery called “Luminous.” Each of its corners saves some detail that reveals the genius of its owner, and invites visitors to socialize over a warm cup of rich coffee.

Carin’s adventures reflect a rich family heritage. Her mother, Matty spends most of the year traveling in France and Spain, her father Albert is always navigating the waters somewhere and hier brother Maarten is off exploring the Antarctic.

Honduras is lucky that Carin picked this country to live out her adventure.


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Carmen Stella Van den Heuvel Almonacid

Carmen is open minded, active, loves to write, and has all the best wishes to have success in my career.


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