By Katrina Cartwright
NAGB Education Officer
On Thursday, September 28th, the traveling exhibition “Max/Amos: A Tale of Two Paradises” landed on Exuma soil and journeyed to Wenshua Art Gallery in Georgetown to be installed, in preparation for the opening reception and a week of programming including a mural project, which is a part of The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ (NAGB) Mural Programme.
The Mural Programme is one of several NAGB outreach initiatives that focus on involving communities in the creation of art while increasing the organisation’s presence in communities in The Bahamas and fostering an awareness and knowledge of the NAGB’s National Collection. This mural project, done in conjunction with the Max/Amos exhibition, marked the launch of the Out Island extension of the Mural Programme.
Designed by Abby Smith, NAGB Community Outreach Officer, the mural draws on the aesthetic of master artist Amos Ferguson - whose work is known for its rhythmic quality and bright, flat colours- and incorporates larger than life floral elements. Sited at the Exuma International Airport, it will be one of the first things that visitors to the island see on arrival and will set the tone for an authentic cultural experience. “The mural is a wonderful addition to Exuma. When approached by the NAGB about where we wanted it to be, to me there was no better place than Exuma International Airport. When people come to Exuma, the mural is now the first thing they will see,” said Alexa–Rae Smith, Marketing Coordinator, Wenshua Art Gallery, Georgetown, Exuma.
With the assistance of Jackson Petit, NAGB Digital Media Admin, Preparator and Installation Technician, members of the Georgetown community and school groups, the massive undertaking to complete the mural in just one week began on September 30th. The weather was a challenge, but a few sunny moments permitted NAGB staff to see the project to completion before returning to Nassau. The generous support of the local community has allowed the Gallery to leave a parting gift to the residents of Exuma, one that commemorates their fellow Exumian, Amos Ferguson, and marks the final voyage of the Max/Amos exhibition.
“I was delighted that we were able to honour Amos Ferguson, a son of the soil, in his hometown. As a graduate and former art student at LN Coakley, I went off to school to further my education and came back with a Bachelor of Arts. I always envisioned myself being home and giving back to the community. I was honoured to be a part of the team who painted the mural. It felt good to be part of something greater than myself,” said Ka’niska Curling, Director of Operations and Creative Director at Reno Curling Photography and a local artist who assisted with painting the mural.
The Exuma community now has a signature public attraction that has been embraced by residents and reflects the wonderful, colourful history of its local families, which is at the core of what it means to be Exumian.
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas thanks the Ministry of Tourism for their generous support of this project and the Exuma community for donating their time and talent to this initiative