Published On: Thu, Apr 3rd, 2014

Melissa: ‘I see my art work as a piece of Curacao’

Dhan5WILLEMSTAD – Can you imagine starting something out of loneliness? HmmmWell that’s exactly what happened with Dhan Arts. Artist and entrepreneur, Melissa Vijay Bharwani explains how she came up with the idea to start making art and sell these to tourists visiting Curacao.

“I started 4 years ago. My Mom and Dad were not on the island. I was kind of lonely Dhan1without anything to do. So I decided to buy a sketch book and started sketching. One thing led to another, when my mother came back, she told me I did such a good job I should actually sell it. I didn’t believe in myself at first. I said I couldn’t do that, I’m not that good. My mother kept insisting. She told me to try it out.”

Dhan2Melissa decided to buy more tools to do the art. She wanted something that was easy for tourists to take back with them, nothing too heavy or bulky. She wanted something original since she realized that there was none easy accessible for the tourist on the island. “Most of the souvenirs you find here, you can find on other islands, but just with the name changed on it. That’s not original. And if you want something that is really from Curacao, then usually it is too heavy to carry around,” Mellisa said.

Melissa also indicated that the prices for souvenirs are too high. “The average tourist, who is on a tight budget, can only afford certain souvenirs. So, I decided to do this thinking on those tourists,” Melissa indicated.

“What I wanted was acrylic painting at a reasonable price that you can take home. That was my main goal. First I was a little Dhan3disappointed because it was not going as I wanted. It was not selling that fast. So I came up with another idea, which I saw in Miami. People are paying for a mug with the place’s name on it. I decided to design my own mug and offer these as souvenirs to tourists. Nobody was doing this on the island. And it is different because you can’t find the painting, which is on the mug, anywhere else in the Caribbean. It’s original.”

Where did the name Dhan Arts come from? “Well, I'm Indian, and all babies come with Dhan4a birth letter given to them by the Maharaja (priest). My letter was D, and the name I was given was Dhanu. My mother named me Melissa, because she had always liked the name and since I was born in the United States, they kept that as my legal name. My father always called me Dhan. When I was thinking of names I came up with all kinds of names and then suddenly Dhan came to mind and Arts which is a wide market.

Dhan Arts Paintings and Products are available exclusively at Copperstone Punda, and Copperstone WTC.

Dhan Arts
Paintings and Souvenirs

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