The Story Behind Curaçao Chichi Dolls

Category: | Published on: January 23, 2020 | By Omaily Lucas

Art can take many forms but one of the most beautiful forms of art is when it becomes a tangible reflection of a country’s culture. The Curaçao Chichi ® dolls, a popular souvenir on the island, is the perfect example of this type of art. The Curaçao Chichi ® dolls are a literal translation of the local culture of Curaçao. It’s a nice souvenir or gift to take home after a memorable holiday on Curaçao.


What Does a Chichi Mean?

One thing you should know about the Latin-America/Caribbean culture is that we often have nicknames for people depending on their “function” in the family. On Curaçao, the older sister of the family used to be called ‘Chichi’. The Curaçao Chichi® doll represents that older sister who is a strong, proud, voluptuous Caribbean woman.

The handmade sculpture shows both the vibrancy and the power the older sister has on the family. At the same time, it shows the openness and warm-heartedness of an older sister. It’s the person that supports the mom, takes care of the little siblings, and takes on a lot of responsibilities aside from the parents.


The Creator(s) of the Curaçao Chichi Dolls

The trademarked Chichi® sculpture was first created and designed by the talented artist, Serena Israel. She blended her German background and her Caribbean environment in her work. She was also inspired by the work of famous artists like Venus of Willendorf, Fernando Botero, and Niki de Saint Phalle, while still holding on to her own authenticity and creativity.

Yet, the creation of the Chichi dolls you see today is not only the result of Serena’s work but also of the many talented female painters she trained. Each with their own colorful style, passion for the art, and dedication to create a beautiful and vibrant sculpture.


Serena’s Art Factory

The Curaçao Chichi® dolls are created at Serena’s Art Factory which is situated on the east side of the island, just next to the Aloe Vera Plantation and the Curaçao Ostrich Farm. The Art Factory features a beautiful store and a view into their work and of their workplace.

What makes this place extra special is that every Friday you can join a workshop and paint your own Chichi. In the shades of the farm-style garden, you can take a seat and let your creativity go wild.

A Local Handmade Gift and Souvenir

If the idea of painting your own Chichi takes you a bit out of your artistic comfort zone, then you can always choose to just buy one of the beautiful creations by Serena and her team. The Curaçao Chichi® dolls are not only sold at the Art Factory but also at their store in the ‘art alley’ in Punda, Willemstad. The dolls come in different sizes and designs, as well, there is even a male version of it, Bubu.

While the Chichi® can be bought at several other souvenir shops, the biggest selection of items can only be found at their own stores. The Chichi dolls are certainly a favorite of many and totally worth taking one, or a few, home with you.

Related Tours