Sue Bennett-Williams was born in New Jersey, USA, in 1947, though has lived in the Bahamas for the past 33 years and has become a well known art educator and artist. Bennett-Williams is a naturalized Bahamian and a retired assistant professor of art at the College of The Bahamas. Sue and her husband opened a successful art and music school in their studios known as ASMAC Studios. She is a dedicated artist and art instructor who is constantly challenging her students of all ages and in return being inspired by their unique and exhilarating spontaneity. As a result of working as a ceramicist with her students, Bennett-Williams began experimenting with large scale sculptural installations: “which she envisions as a step forward into another series involving ordinary objects in which one does not normally see expressed in clay.” She has presented work in both solo and group exhibitions such as Hear Me Roar (1996), Union (1998), Naked Fruit (2002), and the Bahamas’ First All Ceramic Exhibition (2009) and has distinguished herself in a variety of media such as watercolor and ceramics.
I was a young teen living in the South in the middle of the desegregation era. I grew up in Virginia during the Civil Rights Movement and was “bussed” during the time of desegregation in the early 1960s. My personal perspective regarding race began evolving during that time, even though I was unaware of it. Many things started changing when politicians in the state of Virginia decided to refuse to integrate the schools. Black and white students lost almost an entire year of schooling because of the decision to close the schools rather than integrate them in the county next to mine. After my father retired from the Navy in 1962, we moved to South Florida. In the mid to late 1960s, I sailed to The Bahamas with my “Pop” and eventually moved permanently to Nassau in 1970 as an art teacher. After spending my first year teaching in The Bahamas, I returned home for a visit. It was while I visited a school friend that my friend’s mother asked me, “Do you have any white friends?” I remember thinking “What a strange question”. I had to think about it and realized that after spending an entire year in a predominantly black society, NO, I did not have any white friends. The decade from 1961 to 1971 was filled with many changes in my life as it prepared me for the process of assimilation from an all-white society to a predominantly black society.