PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maaretn — Celebrated local artist, former police officer and official at the St. Maarten Harbour Group Maximiliaan “Max” Phelipa, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday morning after a fight with cancer. He was 68.
A native of Curacao, Max, as he was affectionately known, made St. Maarten his home since 1973. After leaving the police force he devoted much of his time to the arts as well as being one of the founders of the St. Maarten Zoo.
Despite his dedication to police work, followed by his tenure as head of security at the harbor, Phelipa’s first true passion was his artwork. A devoted family man, if Phelipa wasn’t painting, he was helping his sons advance their musical talent and opened his home to many young people who loved to simply hang out in his open flower garden where he had several species of parrots.
He was very proud of his art museum located in the same Frontstreet garden and welcomed hundreds of tourists and residents to the gallery on an annual basis. Phelipa’s work can be seen in several public spaces and is described as figurative and naturalistic. He painted everyday scenes that reflect reality, nature and the environment. His paintings are dynamic, colorful, vibrant and brimming with detail.
He is the recipient of numerous awards from various community organizations and government. He leaves to morn his wife “Aggie” and sons Tyrone and Arnaldo and their families.