An Artist as Ship’s Cook

There’s an illustration hanging above the comfortable corner seating area in our billiard room that shows DUCKDALBEN from a very special perspective. A drawing with a strong symbolic power. In the foreground, the huge dock anchor proclaims that here, one can “drop anchor” and find diversion and relaxation from a stressful working day. The buoy with the cross on the globe represents seamen’s missions all over the world. And in the background stands our namesake, the Duckdalben from DUCKDALBEN.

Ariel Guarino Loyaga painted this portrait of DUCKDALBEN. After completing his studies in Manila Ariel started working for Philippine television, drawing caricatures and illustrations to explain the programme contents. But the job was poorly paid, and one day wasn’t enough to provide a decent living for his family (two daughters, one son). Since he also had a talent for cooking, Ariel switched saddles and became a ship’s cook. As he explained with a chuckle, “From Artist to Cookie”.

In November/December 2012 Ariel came to Hamburg on board the Iris Bolten. The ship spent six weeks in the Norderwerft dry-docks because the ship’s motor was due for a major overhaul. During this repair period the greater part of the crew remained on board. Many came nearly every second evening to DUCKDALBEN, which had become a second home for them.

During his visits to the club, Ariel always brought along paper and pencils. Through his cheery, uncomplicated nature he was soon liked by all, and his portraits became highly sought after. Our volunteer Werner looked after parts of the crew during his free time as well, and developed an especially close friendship with Ariel. It was therefore a special event when Ariel drew Werner’s portrait on November 19th 2012 – his 51st birthday.

The painting of DUCKDALBEN was given to us on dreary grey day in late autumn, but it shows the fresh green colours of spring under a friendly blue sky. Reflecting the painter’s positive attitude and joy of life.

While jogging during his next home leave, Ariel suffered a heart attack and died on May 12th 2013. The ties between Werner and Ariel’s family still exist.