Back on summer break from
Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute in Jingdezhen, China, ceramicist Alistair
Stevenson has found ways to keep himself busy as the first artist in resident
of Exnihilo Art Center.
Founded by Brian and Blair
Anderson and their son, Daniel, who moved to Long Island, Bahamas, from the
States, Exnihilo is a non-profit based in The Bahamas and U.S. Since its
founding on Long Island, the program has sought to provide artists with an
environment conducive to creative exploration while offering a platform for
connectivity and intercultural dialogue.
A focal point of the program is
residency experiences, which are currently offered in the Washington DC Metro
area and Nassau, Bahamas. New Providence-based partners Michael Edwards and
Katrina Cartwright organize the Nassau residency program. A residency on Long
Island, Bahamas is also in the works.
Growing up on Long Island,
Stevenson first experimented with ceramics as a student at N.G.M. Major High
School, Long Island, when a local cesspit excavation revealed clay in the area
and handed it over to the school’s art teacher. It was around that time that he
first met local ceramicist and philanthropist Joann Behagg, who traveled to
Long Island from Nassau to conduct a ceramics workshop at Stevenson’s school. Later,
while he studied at the College of The Bahamas (COB), Behagg recruited him as
her studio assistant. For four years, Stevenson worked and studied under her,
leaving only for a job at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation (DAF) in 2012. He has
since made a name for himself, holding several shows on New Providence to fund
his studies abroad.
His talents caught the attention of Cartwright and Edwards,
who approached Stevenson, asking him to be the first Exnihilo artist in
Stevenson’s four-week residency
began in mid-July and is hosted by COB at a time when the college moves toward
attaining university status.
“We thought the College of The
Bahamas would be an advantageous starting point for an initial pilot space to
embark upon in The Bahamas,” said Edwards, who is also a COB art lecturer.
“…There is a particular collective visioning for an arts complex to become a
major regional hub.”
As part of his resident artist
package, Stevenson has been offered a budget of $1,000 to be used toward the
acquisition of artist materials. And, with COB’s entire ceramics department at
his fingertips, he now has access to necessary facilities like a potter’s
wheel, kiln and slab rollers.
This is particularly important,
because Stevenson intends on using the work he creates during his residency to
support him during his studies throughout the next academic year. One of the
ways he will do this is via an exhibition at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation.
Titled Flourish, the show will
also feature the works of Angelika Wallace-Whitfield and Ivanna Gaitor, both of
whom also hope to use the proceeds to support themselves at their respective
The exhibition opens August 27 at
the D’Aguilar Art Foundation. In the lead-up to it, Stevenson will give a talk
at the NAGB on his experience as the Exnihilo artist in residence as well as the
direction of his work over the past two years and moving forward.
“From what I can tell, they
(Exnihilo Art Center) are trying to promote more art in The Bahamas and getting
a lot more art programs going in general, in terms of working with the
community and working with artists more personally. So my only hope is that
they can grow and continue to blossom. They seem to be off to a good start so I
just wish them growth and success.”