“Buon giorno!” was Bustamante’s usual greeting on arrival. He would sit at his table in the HAI loft, like Captain Kirk on the Enterprise, commanding his table and exploring new and old worlds. Jungles and beasts, gondolas, Mayan temples and African gods appeared under his hands. Bustamante was a prolific, highly skilled artist who refined his work while at HAI Art Studio from 2005–2013. He loved working with oil pastels and, when provided with quality art materials, the reward was great. During his time at HAI he created over 1000 pieces, some as small as 9 x 12 inches, others mural sized, each unique and filled with colour, flora, fauna, history and mythology. Every day he was well, he was at HAI.

Bustamante exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He had a two-person show at the Gallery at HAI in 2011. He exhibited at the Noyes Art Museum in Oceanville, NJ, and the Gaga Outsider Art Festival in Garrison, NY. His work is in numerous private collections in the US and Europe.

Bustamante was born in Curaçao, Netherland, Antilles. A member of the Arawak/Caribe Indian nation, he came from a family of educators and church people. He was a US Army veteran who served in an airborne battalion from 1976–1983 and lived with post traumatic stress disorder. The determined Bustamante never let his disabilities define him.

 

by Quimetta Perle

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