Since it was established 11 years
ago, the annual Transforming Spaces art tour has sought to introduce locals to the
country’s artists as well as galleries and art hubs around New Providence. A
bus tour seemed the appropriate way to guide guests to each creative space,
providing them with a solid overview of some of the island’s established
This year, the Transforming
Spaces committee has altered the tour format to one art festival enthusiasts
might recognize and appreciate. The 2016 tour (TS2016) will be modeled on Art
Basel Miami Beach and centered in Downtown Nassau.
Themed “SWELL”, TS2016 is all
about community and collaboration. New and unconventional spaces will be
participating in the festival, which will feature pop-up events throughout the
week of March 7, culminating with tours on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March
In addition to inviting the Towne
Hotel, on George Street, and the Central Bank Gallery to participate, the tour
will also offer guests the option of walking to each locale and spending as
much time as they like viewing each space. Shuttles will stop at regular
intervals to provide transportation to anyone who cannot or does not wish to
walk to or from any of the six locations, which include the Central Bank of The
Bahamas Art Gallery, D’Aguilar Art Foundation, Hillside House, the National Art
Gallery of The Bahamas, Popopstudios and the central venue, the Towne Hotel.
A newcomer to the Transforming
Spaces itinerary, the Central Bank of The Bahamas will take part in TS2016.
Featuring three of the bank’s spaces – the art gallery, Great House and
Verandah House and works by approximately 20 artists, the Central Bank
component will be curated by Jodi Minnis.
Carissa Rho’s solo exhibition, “Eat”, will
be featured in the Great House. Rho is known for her miniature sculptures of
various meals native to other countries. This seems particularly appropriate,
given the Great House serves as the bank’s staff cafeteria. The main Central
Bank Art Gallery will feature works by invited artists whose art responds to
the broader themes of community and collaboration. In the Verandah House, works
by participants who responded to the bank’s open call will be on view.
The bank’s exhibition spaces will be open to
Transforming Spaces guests on Thursday night, Friday during the day and
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..
With several exhibition spaces, it is the
bank’s hope that emerging artists will find TS2016 a safe and inclusive
creative hub to exhibit their works.
The Virginia Street gallery will be transforming its space with
the fourth collaborative “Jammin’” exhibition (Jammin’ IV).
A concept developed by Stan Burnside and Jackson Burnside in 1985,
“Jammin’” refers to the process of multiple Junkanooers collaborating on a
single Junkanoo piece simultaneously. The Burnside brothers brought the concept
into the artist’s studio, painting on a single canvas at the same time.
The result is a dense, colorful and abstract expressionism that hints
at Junkanoo and festivals; though many hands and paintbrushes have been
involved, the imagery has continuity, appearing as if there was just one artist
In 1992, they invited John Beadle to join them and created the
well-known Burnside-Beadle-Burnside brand. A year later, Brent Malone and
Antonius Roberts joined the group for the second iteration of Jammin’.
And in 1996, Burnside-Beadle-Burnside works were exhibited at the
summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia; this was Jammin’ III.
With the losses of Jackson Burnside and Brent Malone, Jammin’ IV
will feature collaborative works by John Beadle, Stan Burnside and Antonius
Roberts. The works will be unveiled at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation, first at a
private collectors’ evening on Tuesday, March 8 and then as part of the
Transforming Spaces tours on Saturday and Sunday.
In a multimedia show provocatively
titled “Tourists Only”, Hillside House will be exploring the impact of the
tourism industry on popular destinations. While on a trip to Jamaica, gallery
owner and artist Antonius Roberts noted physical barriers around popular
tourist destinations, impeding entry by most locals. This trend was not
exclusive to Jamaica. Though a growing police presence in many tourist-centric
locales in Nassau can undoubtedly be a beneficial thing, the questioning of
locals who pass through these areas has resulted in some discomfort among
Bahamians to travel to and through such places.
To respond to this, Roberts will
present a series of photographs of iconic scenery that is partially distorted
and/or blocked, presenting the viewer with a symbolic barrier.
Also participating will be
Chantal Bethel, who will address the exclusivity of casinos in resorts through
a series of “Pandora’s Boxes”. Though betting has been in existence for years
among both locals and international visitors, and is now legalized, Bahamians
and residents are still prohibited from gambling in casinos.
Literary and book artist Sonia
Farmer is another familiar face who’ll be presenting her found poetry in
handmade chapbooks. Farmer’s poetry, much of which was inspired by her
experiences at unopened megaresort Baha Mar, explores the effect tourism has on
local identity and societal structure.
Transforming Spaces guests are
invited to the opening evening of “Tourists Only”, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday,
March 10. The gallery will be open on the weekend as part of the TS2016
experience. Roberts looks forward to expanding the project beyond the
Transforming Spaces week, and hopes to involve COB students in the
The National Art
Gallery of The Bahamas
Partnering with artist and Mega Mergers founder Candis
Marshall, the National Art Gallery will transform its adjacent property into a
dream catcher garden. The idea was Marshall’s. Working with at-risk young
people through her non-profit, Mega Mergers, Marshall’s objective has been to
teach business skills to disadvantaged teens and young adults. Through this
work, she was made aware of a widespread feeling of hopelessness among her
business students. During TS2016 and beyond, visitors can contemplate and enjoy
an interactive garden of dream catchers elucidating the harsh realities many
young people in the country face along with the real dreams of those people.
The NAGB will
also be open to the public until 7 p.m. from March 10 to 12. All TS
ticketholders are encouraged to view the Brent Malone retrospective free of
Popop will be also carrying on
its tradition of participating in Transforming Spaces. This year’s exhibition
will be titled “Triple Double”. The name is a play on the common sports
terminology in which a player accumulates a double-digit
number total in three of five statistical categories.
Cox has created a set of six
words. Each word is the title of six categories – such as personality,
orientation, country, perspective, position and color. In each category, there
is another set of six symbols, words or themes. To “play”, participants select
one symbol from each of the six categories. For TS2016, Cox has invited artists
to participate. Each artist is required to bring in a partner to play in pairs,
and between them, they choose three words or symbols from the Triple Double
matrix. Every pair will create a ‘visual poem’ from the six words or symbols. They
then respond to their respective poems by creating a work or body of works
reflecting some or all of the poem’s components.
TS2016 guests are invited to
attend the Triple Double opening night on Wednesday, March 9 and revisit during
the main TS2016 weekend tour.
Another new participating venue,
The Towne Hotel will be the TS2016 main showcase space. It will be a riff off
of the Aqua Hotel in Miami Beach, which, during Art Basel at Miami Beach,
transforms its space by turning hotel rooms into artist booths.
For TS2016, the Towne Hotel will
be curated by NAGB Chief Curator Holly Bynoe and artist Dede Brown, who will
help to transform the downtown hotel’s top floor as well as the pool area and
outdoor courtyard into galleries showcasing local artists. On view will be
works by artists Blue Curry, Claudette Dean, the COB Pro Society, Yutavia
George, Sue Katz, Jordanna Kelly, Edrin Symonette, Imogine Walkine and Drew
The Towne Hotel will feature a
VIP reception on Friday, March 11, and on
Saturday, guests will be treated to an afternoon and evening
party with live entertainment and refreshments.
“As one of the founding members
and I’ve been involved since the inception I think the time has come for us to
change,” said Transforming Spaces committee member Antonius Roberts.
He added: “For 10 years we’ve
been taking people to art galleries and I think there is a swell that is
happening in terms of the development of art in this country, and not just
visual arts. So we figure it’s time to centralize it.”
Tickets for Transforming Spaces
are now on sale and can be bought from the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas,
Bahama Handprints, Doongalik and Hillside House.
VIP tickets can be bought at $100
and regular admission tickets are being sold at $35 each. For more information,
call the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas at 328-5800.