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West and West Hill Streets
Nassau, N.P.
The Bahamas

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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

Potter’s Cay: Markets and the importance of public spaces

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas .  “Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value” provides an invaluable view into the way the islands have been visioned for decades.  It is a unique and important show that serves as a historical and current window into a perspective that adds value to our discussions and to how we see ourselves.  Working in tandem with “We Suffer to Remain”, both shows provide an incredibly fruitful and open discussion for the cultural materialism and intermateriality cross-materiality that allows deeper and broader understanding of where we live and how we live here. The latter show deals with the loss of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of slavery through erasure. The periphery, the colony where the history physically took place has gutted its memory through a process of deletion and writing over. 

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Over 800 Million Souls: An interview with Graham Fagen (Pt II) on his work in “We Suffer To Remain”

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis.  We continue where we left off with Graham Fagen last week on discussing his work, “The Slave’s Lament” (2015) in the collaborative exhibition, “We Suffer To Remain”. 

NW: Where you do situate your voice in the work and in the overall exhibition? In “The Slave’s Lament” do you see yourself in the work, or more as a facilitator?

GF: You as the artist, in collaborating with people, start with an aim as to what you think you could achieve, or what you hope you could achieve. When you start the process it needs to allow space and room for other people to offer what they want to bring to the project. I suppose I was directing their influence and then having them step back, and then I would take that influence on to each stage. When I see the work, for me it’s Ghetto Priest’s, the Scottish ensemble’s, it’s lots of other people’s work. And that’s good, I like that as an artist, when what you make belongs to others.

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Fiona’s Theatre Opens: A moment of remembrance, celebration and love

Natalie Willis

By Malika N Pryor.  At the NAGB, we’d like to think that every special event we hold is one-of-a-kind. However, Friday April 6th, 2018 was particularly spectacular as it marked the naming ceremony and formal opening of Fiona’s Theatre. The only amphitheatre in New Providence, the bowl shaped auditorium is a part of a long and storied history that ties its earliest recorded use to its current purpose.

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MMSAC 2018 goes “Back to da Island”: The NAGB opens early registration for its annual summer camp

Natalie Willis

By Katrina Cartwright. The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is excited to announce the opening of early registration for its Mixed Media Art Summer Camp (MMASC). Now in its fourth year, the camp was started in response to the need for an arts focused camp after the FINCO Summer Art Workshop was discontinued. MMASC has been popular since its inception and has impacted the lives of over 300 students since 2014. The camp takes place between June 25th and August 3rd and is divided into two, three week sessions. 

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Other Tongues: An interview with Graham Fagen (Pt I) on Scottish cultural amnesia and gazing into the mouth of silenced histories.

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis

The last in our series of two-part interviews with the artists of “We Suffer To Remain”, this week we speak to Scottish artist Graham Fagen on having his work not only as the starting point of this series of exhibitions on “Difficult Conversations”, but also on having his work brought to the Caribbean context to which it refers. “The Slave’s Lament” (2015) is a moment for us to consider the realities of this Trans-Atlantic history in contemporary contexts, and now that we’ve seen Bahamian responses with our national artists responding to this work, we take a moment to consider Fagen’s perspectives in our space.

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Blank Canvas: April 11, Annalee Davis and Gemma Hollington

Katrina Cartwright

On Blank Canvas this week, we continue to highlight the exhibition currently showing at NAGB entitled “We Suffer To Remain,” which examines Scotland’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade—through an artwork by Scottish artist Graham Fagen—and its legacy, as explored in the works by Bahamian artists John Beadle, Sonia Farmer and Anina Major.

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Blank Canvas: March 28th, The Current at Baha Mar

Katrina Cartwright

The Current at Baha Mar is back in the Blank Canvas studio!

Kevin Taylor (filmmaker, far left), Jordanna Kelly (Studio and Gallery Manager, second from right) and Keith Thompson (Studio and Gallery Coordinator, far right) speak with Amanda Coulson (Director, NAGB) about the experience of taking The Current art gallery from Baha Mar to the VOLTA NY art fair in New York City.

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Historic Nassau: UB highlights community and culture

Natalie Willis

By Keisha Oliver, The University of The Bahamas . As part of the last weekend’s Transforming Spaces (TS) 2018 tour, University of The Bahamas (UB) transformed the Hillside House gallery and courtyard into a cultural hub rooted in celebrating and reimagining Bahamian traditions through creativity.  UB faculty, staff, students and alumni came together to showcase the music, visual, culinary and literary arts under the theme ‘Historic Nassau’ from March 16 to 18th. Over the years Transforming Spaces has been committed to supporting and engaging UB art students through volunteerism and exhibition opportunities. This year UB’s participation stems from its interest to cultivate an interdisciplinary shared culture. Curated by UB Assistant Professor and Visual Arts Programme Coordinator Keisha Oliver the event was designed to identify the institution as a community dedicated to honouring the accomplishments and talents of its students, staff, faculty and alumni.

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Locked in our Bodies: A resurrection of voices

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas.  We are locked in bodies that demonstrate a temporal fixity that is only such.  This became more apparent to me on my first experience in Salvador de Bahia, where the material remnants of slavery and colonialism remained intact and on view, unlike in New Providence where most of the remains of slavery are either dematerialised, vanished and decontextualised.  As “We Suffer to Remain” evidences, the coloniality of the postcolonial condition becomes even more poignant when expressed through a clash/confluence of arts.  Art allows space for a dialogue that exposes the pasts and versions usually edited out by the passage of time, and the power of the state to redirect what was once empowerment discourses. 

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The Current at Baha Mar makes international debut at VOLTA New York 2018

Natalie Willis

The Current, Baha Mar’s original arts program, gallery and studios, made its international debut in New York City during VOLTA NY, a contemporary art fair known for its creative discovery and social engagement. The Current was represented through two solo exhibitions created by John Cox, art director and Bahamian artist; and Natascha Vazquez, creative arts programming manager and artist, March 7-11. Cox’s recently completed body of work “A Long Walk Home” debuted at VOLTA as a mixed-use sculpture and painting collection comprised of various materials such as wood, video, vinyl on canvas and cut paper silkscreen. The exhibit emphasizes the parallels between early Japanese Geisha culture and the complexity of Caribbean hospitality and tourism, commenting on the similarities between the two cultures, time periods and industries.

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Beadle, the Mechanic: An Interview with John Beadle on his work for “We Suffer To Remain”, part II.

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis.  Last week we heard John Beadle speak to his participation in “We Suffer To Remain”, an exhibition in collaboration with the British Council. The works produced in “We Suffer To Remain”–the Bahamian leg of a 4-part journey of the British Council’s “Difficult Conversations” series of exhibitions– serve as Caribbean response to Scottish artist Graham Fagen’s work, “The Slave’s Lament”. Shown at the Venice Biennale in 2015 as a representation for Scotland in the global art biennial, and choosing to uncover the country’s complicit nature in the Slave trade and the general amnesia surrounding Britain with their role and repercussions in chattel slavery - there is more to this work than meets the eye. Here is a not-so-difficult conversation with Beadle.

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From the openings!

Holly Bynoe

On March 22nd, the NAGB opened its double-bank of spring exhibitions with British Counci supported "We Suffer to Remain" and "Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value". 

"We Suffer to Remain" features the works of John Beadle, Graham Fagen, Sonia Farmer and Anina Major, and for the opening we welcomed a cohort from the British Council including Gemma Hollington, Director of Exhibitions and Annalee Davis, Caribbean Arts Manager.

"Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value" showcases 142 works by 42 artists with the oldest work dating back to 1854-1856. The artworks are on loan from several generous Bahamian collectors. 

Images by Jackson Petit and courtesy of The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

#artconnectsus #wesuffertoremain #traversingthepicturesque #thenationalartgalleryofthebahamas

Blank Canvas: March 21st with Graham Fagen

Holly Bynoe

On tonight’s, “Blank Canvas,” your regular host Amanda Coulson, Director of the NAGB speaks to visiting artist Graham Fagen, a Scottish artist living and working in Glasgow, Scotland. His art practice encompasses video, performance, sculpture, sound and text. His work reflects on how contemporary identity and its associated myths and fictions, can be expressed and understood and his portraits of real, imagined, historical and contemporary characters explore the idea of identity and performance in portraiture.

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Spring Exhibitions open at the NAGB on Thursday, March 22nd: All are invited.

Natalie Willis

By Malika Pryor Martin. The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas is striving to do the most and in the best way in anticipation our two new exhibitions, “We Suffer to Remain” and “Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value.”

“Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value”, explores works that were created prior to 1960, here in The Bahamas. They represent the more pastoral and curated Bahamian ideal, designed by visitors and almost always through a colonial lens. The works, a survey of time and a specific perspective within it, explore a period in Bahamian art creation wherein Bahamians themselves were rarely author. The worldview of the indigenous person, their communal or individual experience was left little if any space for meaningful exploration. Instead, the works represented the romantic notions of people, often cultural passers-by, of a space about which they functionally knew very little. This can be felt in the beauty and ambiguity of the brush stroke. It is especially poignant in the discount lack of human presence and experience.

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"Who do we speak for?" An interview with John Beadle for the upcoming exhibition “We Suffer To Remain”

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. Continuing with our series of artist interviews in the lead up to the opening of “We Suffer To Remain” on March 22nd, the product of a collaboration between the NAGB and the British Council, we stop to chat with John Beadle. Beadle is considered one of our master artists and works in a range of media. From painting to installations, his practice looks to some of the difficult aspects of the Bahamian condition and aesthetically shows his background in Junkanoo outside of his artist training.  

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"Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value" - The Colonial Gaze

Natalie Willis

By Holly Bynoe.  On March 22nd through July 29th, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas presents the first of two historical surveys exhibitions that include works produced from 1856-1960 by visiting artists and expatriates, who were inspired by the then-colony's landscapes, people, luminescence, coastlines and seas and bustling lifestyles. Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value draws from several familiar and a few new collections to detail the breadth and scope of how The Bahamas has been framed within the popular global imagination and the impact of the colonial and outsider gaze on the development of a historical understanding of the nation.

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