Published On: Mon, Dec 7th, 2020

‘Run for Freedom’ mural will NOT to be painted over – UPDATED


UPDATE: Be the Change Foundation Project Manager Laura Bijnsdorp confirmed that the new owners have agreed to honor the agreement to continue exhibiting the mural and to not paint it over as was initially reported. As a matter of fact, they said the mural is good for business and will bring them lots of foot traffic and they will be looking to add another mural to the building.


By Jacqueline Hooftman

PHILIPSBURG — Artist Annemiek van Kerkhof-Posthuma’s mural design ‘Run for Freedom’, commissioned as part of a government supported project to beautify Philipsburg with vibrant murals, is NOT [Ed.] going to disappear behind yellow paint, as shown in an artist impression of the new store of Rima Beach World. The company is in the process of renovating the former Regency perfumery and beach wear store on Front Street and plans to paint the whole building in their signature colors yellow and blue. 

Van Kerkhof-Posthuma’s mural design is one of twelve murals that are part of the ‘Color Me SXM – Philipsburg Art Walk’ mural project, an initiative of Be The Change Foundation. The project, written by Laura Bijnsdorp, was sponsored by the Government of St. Maarten, the Ministery of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied.

The mural on the wall of the new Rima Beach World store celebrates an important historical moment known as the Diamond Estate Freedom Run. According to information from UNESCO: “The French freed their enslaved persons on May 27th, 1848. However, enslavement remained a fact of life in St. Maarten until July 1st 1863. The Diamond Estate was a plantation on the border between Cole Bay, St. Maarten, and Bellevue, Saint Martin.

On 29 May, two days after the abolition of enslavement in the French territories, twenty-six persons, the entire enslaved population of Diamond Estate Plantation in Sint Maarten fled to the French Plantation Mount Fortune in Saint Martin where they were recognized as free men and women.” This ‘run for freedom’ is re-enacted yearly, often in conjunction with emancipation day celebrations.

People use the backdrop for Instagram photos and other social media, and its reception has been resoundingly positive. Last year, when local artists where working on murals all around Philipsburg, the Honourable Ms. Ludmila de Weever, Minister of TEATT, said: “I would love to see this project celebrate and incorporate our local legends and heroes while reflecting the interpretation of Caribbean island life through the artists’ eyes. The finished work will surely be an inspiration to all.”

The Ministery of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport co-sponsored the project through the Department of Culture to “highlight our St Maarten expressive culture and art and helps to protect and honor our St. Maarten heritage”.

Credit: Photos of the ‘Run for Freedom’ mural taken by Jacqueline Hooftman.

Related articles:
Be The Change Foundation announces Philipsburg mural project
Unveiling of the Philipsburg mural project by ministers (photos)

Photo caption: The unveiling of the ‘Run for Freedom’ mural painted by Annemiek van Kerkhof-Posthuma seen here together with Minister of Tourism Ludmilla De Weever and Minister of Culture Drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel on Saturday, July 11, 2020. Photo is taken from the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook Page.