My girlfriend and I landed in the Dominican Republic in the beginning of 2002. Although it was our first visit to the Island, we were quite determined to make it our home. We left our baggage in Santo Domingo, the capital, and went out on a research trip, to find the most inspiring place we’d like to live in. Sitting in the open air, in the back of the crowded pick-up truck called ‘Gua-Gua’ (the local public transportation), we climbed up a mountain chain in the middle of the Samana Peninsula. When we reached the top, we couldn’t believe our eyes. It seemed like we are entering the gates of paradise. We were surrounded by lush green hills, covered with coconut trees and all kinds of tropical trees, fruits and flowers. Suddenly, beneath us, appeared a dreamy, almost infinite beach stretch, made of numerous little bays, each with its unique shape and color. We gazed at the turquoise hues of the ocean, and with eyes wide open, we looked at each other and asked simultaneously: “could this be our place?”
Las-Terrenas was a love at first sight. Amazingly beautiful, tropical, bohemian and peaceful, and very different from Israel, the place we both came from. We found our paradise on earth, and lived there happily for 11 years.
Las-Terrenas is in my blood and in my art and a major part of my being.
Las-Terrenas also changed my name.
From the very beginning, we became friends with the Terreneros, the Spanish speaking locals. However, they had difficulties in pronouncing my name “…Ofis, Ofil…” They tried, and asked me why I have such a difficult name, and what does it mean? I told them that Ofir is Gold and they joked with me: “Oro! that’s an expensive name”. Oro is Spanish for Gold, and that was it. I became Oro. Everyone in Las-Terrenas and in its surroundings know me as Oro. Even me, whenever I talk to myself, I call myself Oro; “Wake up Oro!” “Oro, be strong!” etc.
As Oro, I was thrilled by the magic of Las-Terrenas, and naturally, an irresistible urge to paint showed up pretty quick. Since there were no art supply shops in Las-Terrenas and back then it was a 6 hours drive to the capital, I couldn’t wait and went into the ‘Ferreteria’, the local hardware store, and bought industrial acrylic paints and a few brushes. I bought the only fabric I could find in the ‘Subastadora’, ‘the poor people’s store’, and stretched it over a big plywood. I then painted my first Las-Terrenas series, signed it as Oro and named it “El Nuevo Mundo” – The New World.