On this week’s “Blank Canvas,” NAGB Director Amanda Coulson speaks to participating artists in the ongoing photographic opus, “The Bahamian Project” (www.bahamianproject.com), the next leg of which opens on Thursday night at the Central Bank Art Gallery with the participation of 21 photographers, including Guilden M. Gilbert, Jr. (far right) who joins us in the studio tonight, along with the project’s founder/creative director Duke Wells (far left) and founder/project manager Ana-Lisa Wells (middle right).
Conceived at the time of Jackson Burnside’s passing—when photographer Duke realised there were no fitting official portraits of this legendary Bahamian icon—the project seeks to record, archive and maintain for posterity the images of people who embody “the Bahamian spirit.” Nominations can be made via the project’s website for candidates to be photographed as the project aims access to a broad cross section of society.
The first show was organised in 2013 at the NAGB, in celebration of the 40th year of independence, highlighting 40 black-and-white portraits by Duke Wells alone. At the end of that show, he realised there was no way for one single photographer to manage the vast range of talented and passionate individuals who deserved to be photographed for posterity. With his wife Ana-Lisa, also a photographer, they invited many more colleagues to join the cause, broadening the range and approach of the artists to each subject.
The show at Central Bank will exhibit 50 new images as prints, with a screen showing all 130 images from the project, which has now been ongoing for 5 years and has embraced many local photographers.
“Bright Lights & Raw Gems,” Portraits from the Bahamian Project, opens at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 6th and is on display through the end of July.
The Blank Canvas airs weekly on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on Guardian radio 96.9 FM.