Influencer Giovanni Abath: positive, experience and transformation
Interview: October 7, 2019
Giovanni, could you share with us some information of your family life?
I am married for 13 years now and I have 6 children and a sister. My parents both had passed away, and both played a significant role in helping me become whom I am right now. My mother passed away when I was 14 years old and we grew up without our father. My mother was a hard working lady, I can’t remember her other than hardworking. She was a humble person and we were poor and at times I saw her cry and I wasn’t aware of the fact why she cried, because we had nothing to eat. But when she passed away, it was tough, but live goes on. I continued my life and continued going to school. We also lived with my father forcefully for two years. He had a different influence on me. Where my mother raised me, she would never ask me to help out.
My father was the total opposite of my mother. He taught me what hard work was. My father was a very talented man, a musician. He would challenge me to do things and that in the end taught me, how to work. So both had their influences in whom I am now, but their influence was different. Through my father I learned to develop the musical part of my talents. I learned to play the percussion, which is not an area that I want to further explore btw. I have dreamed about becoming a singer, but then my hearing is not sophisticated enough to hear the tones.
When my mother passed away, my sister and myself lived for one year alone. I was 14 years old and my sister 15 years old and it was only after one year, we sort of got a family that more or less adopt us, their where our care takers and to a certain extend family of my mother. There is where we grew up thereafter.
Could you share with us some of your educational background and past professional experiences as we know that you are an entrepreneur?
After I had finished my craft school in electrical engineering (LTS), I went to business school at the local refinery more or less in the same year I graduated. I have been working there for 30 years now untill today.
We have been refered to you by Michel Jourdain and after talking to your wife I defintely consider you an Influencer. He told us that you a mulit talented Influencer in the Arts and Entertainment sector. What kind of actvities, arts and other work are you exactly involved with and what is your company’s name?
I am a Master Of Ceremonies and I had the priviledge and honor to animate in all the big events we have on the island, like “Dia di Bandera”; “Dia di Banda Abou”; the “Tumba festival”; “Festival Hubenil di Tumba”; “Kantoda major”; “Reina Prins i Pancho”.
I am also an actor and my biggest achievement until now was an actor’s role in the film “Tula Revolt” a high budget movie and I played “Bashan”, I had to loose 10 kilo’s and I have to grow a beard to play that role. I am a trainer in “acting”, I train people how to deal with aggressive customers and facilitate teambuilding sessions. I am also a fashion designer for costumes of groups in Carnaval and can transform trucks into pieces of arts to be used during the Carnaval parade.
I do the Christmas and New Year’s decorations of Punda and Otrobanda for the end of the year and I do this for Isla. I have done the decoration of Isal during the last 18 years. I am a storyteller, all my works of arts have a story as I have showed you around in my atelier. I am a very positive “Yu di Korsou” . I think, feel and act creatively and through my poetry formulate the messages that Isla always include as part of their Christmas and New Year’s decoration. I have made decorations at different roundabouts on the island, so indeed I am a multifaceted person.
Your company’s name is Kara Productions BV. Your artistic name is “7.1”, why is that?
My artistic name is “7.1”, which I chose deliberately, as I needed to re-brand myself. People knew me by my nick name “Geno” as a Master of Ceremonies, an actor and I needed to separate the different roles I had when I decided to become a more professional artist. Or to explain it with more nuances, let put it this way: In “7.1” I exclusively use when I works as a sculptor. I have come to learn from marketing and sales strategies, that the brand is more important at times than the product itself. So I came up with the numbers of my initials G.A. if you go through the alphabet, “7.1”, being G = 7th letter and A = 1st letter of the alphabet, it is arts by the numbers, it sounds easy and we are proud of this name.
We envision that people locally and maybe around the world will be proud to say someday: “I have a “7.1” in front of my house or business.”
As “7.1” I do all the works of small, medium size and large steelworks and iron (Roundabout at Brievengat: Roundabout of Banda Abou and Protektor di Bandera – “Historia den Moveshon”; in Kaya Kaya I created “Emancipation from mental slavery” and Inaruba I created “Let it Grow” ) exclusively as a sculpture. In the other services I do as an MC, writer, actor I profile myself as Giovanni Abath. In Kara Productions where me and my wife are the sole owners, we work on the decorations we offer to Otrobanda, Punda the past 4 years and we do the decorations and customs for groups of Carnaval in our atelier. Just as a clarifictions.
Do you work alone or do you have other people employed by your company?
It depends on the time of the year. During the end of the year and during the carnaval period, I could have about 20 people that I work with. The rest of the year its 2 to 3 people.
When do you consider that you have been successfull?
It’s difficult to express this in words….I am successful when I have reached a goal or milestone and when I am able to influence people so that they can also do what I do.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
Experience and transformation.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
My biggest challenge is time management, how to manage my personal (read = social and familiy life) and my professional life as an artist. I try to involve as much as possible my family in the work I do, so that we can spend time together, while I am doing what I like most. This is the influence my mother had on me. It doesn’t matter how tired I am when I come home, if one of my children asks me to come and listen to them, I will do it, they don’t know or suppose to know and care that I am tired. So I try to be there for them.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up? How does that work for you?
I shows up in different ways, it shows up from my life experience mostly and I follow this inner voice most of the times. It shows me the way. It is like: “Hakuna matata” from the Lion King. There are no troubles, no worries. Jump, because life is great, we have to enjoy life.
Do you have a creative idea before you start your creations or does the story and what you create develops as you go?
Well mostly I have an idea up front, but at times it also goes the other way around. But all my works of arts have a story, as I have a lively imagination as I am creating.
How do you tap into your creativity as an artist?
I am connected, that is how I call it. I call it “Avatar”. This is the framework where I see and go through life where everything is connected in the Universe, it is a whole system connected with everything that breathes, but with me I also feel a connection even with the materials I work with. I sense, that we are creating something together. I respect everything that lives and the materials I work with, it is this connection that I tap into and where I create from, be it a nice phrase or work of art, related to a challenge that I have encountered during the day.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
I live consciously. I am always practicing and learning new things. It is like training to act in a movie, in my consciousness I choose what voice I should use in that conversation. Everything I do, I do very consciously. That’s how I learn.
What are your strengths?
My level of thinking logically is very high. I am very creative. I can do almost everything with my hands. I can take the most rough structure or the most finest of structures, I can transform it into a crown with jewels.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I still love singing, I am not so in writing it is too passive I get sleepy when writing, it forces me when I write. I need to be on the move that makes me feel great.
If you as Giovanni would meet a stranger in the bus (let say in Holland or the US) and they would ask you to introduce yourself what would you answer?
My name is Giovanni Abath, I am from Curaçao and I am an artist.
How would you describe Giovanni in one word or one sentence?
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
Many have helped to form me to become the person I am right now. My wife whom inspired me and respects me, helped me take the steps to move forward; two colleagues Edward Gibbes he is kind of my social father; Edsel Riedel whom is my spiritual father to mention a few, but I really have a million masters. Facundo Cabral I learned a lot from, it’s the way he looks at life, he is like a life coach talking about life and last but not least Michael Jackson his philosophy on perfectionism, just do it right because you have to do it right otherwise find some else to dance.
Is there a specific character trait that you want to work on to improve you as Giovanni?
I can be too flexible at times, too passive and when you are running a business, like I do, you are not going to progress with such a mentallity. I am so grateful I have my wife Angelica in my life, she helps keeps me strong and business like.
What are some of the challenges, lessons learned, that you have encountered in your life when you ultimately discovered your talents and strenghts? What was a defining moment in your life?
My defining moment was after the death of my mother and I had to continue living on my own. I was in the world all alone without money, I was very naive and I barely knew how to take a bus. I needed to start living, I needed to stay positive, it was a crucial moment and I could either go to school or choose to do lots of others things.
Where do you want to be 15 to 20 years from now with your career?
I want to be sitting at peace, enjoying life in the sense that I would be exclusively spending time on arts and getting the maximum potential out of myself, get whatever is in me, out.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
I want them to say that:
• I was a positive role model for them;
• they are proud of me;
• they could live on without me;
• thank you father, that would be enough.
I would dance with all my children, my daugthers and sons the song of Vicente Fernandes: “Mi querido viejo.” I like the lyrics in this song.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
We are not alone and basically things are not that bad. I believe that things are better than it is being pictured. There are so many good things, that are also happening. I don’t know how bad the economy is, and there might be people feeling it, but for me, owning lots of material things and wealth is a relative thing. It depends on how you see things. Through my lenses, I see so many opportunities, that I don’t have enough hours and time to explore them all. The question is, are their no jobs or do people choose which job they want to work. I have this building and a car that I own, but I wouldn’t mind working in the tourism sector and treat tourists so well, that they would tip me more than my basic salary. That is why I am optimistic about our future, it is through what lenses you look at where we are at this moment in time.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I am very concerned and feel hurt by the state of humanity. People are not aware of how much damage they are causing to the world, which is our home as the human race, it is where we live. The damage seems to be irreversible. This makes me very sad as a member of the human race, to see what we are doing to mother earth. If we destroy this planet, money can’t buy us fresh air. This makes me feel overwhelmed and powerless at times and it is a pity, as I firmly believe that we need to be more deliberate of our actions and its effect on earth.
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Giovanni Abath, known by his artistic name “7.1” as a sculpture, as Giovanni Abath he is a Master Of Ceremonies, actor, storyteller, “trainer” in acting, fashion designer, in Kara Productions he aand his wife do decorations for Carnaval, he is the decorator of Otrobanda, Punda and the Isla’refinery New year’s and Christmas decorations for years, he is a roundabout street and neighborhood artist, a magician with his hands as he changes the most rough structure or the most finest of structures and transformed them into a crown with jewels, to sum up Giovanni is a super talented multifaceted diverse artist representing the Arts and Entertainment sector. Giovanni’s creativity matches the best of the best in the world and all of his works of art have an interesting story related to their creation. His arts inspired all walks of life and in that sense Giovanni influences people through his works and whom he is, so that they can also do what he does and that is create, experience and transform.
Giovanni ’s work ethic, his tendency to make everything he makes as beautiful and as perfect as he can make them, definitely makes him one of the 250 Influencers in our society.