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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery presents Happy Birthday, Nettie

Mixed Media Blog

The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery presents Happy Birthday, Nettie

Holly Bynoe

The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery is proud to present a retrospective exhibition of artworks by Nettica “Nettie” Symonette, on her birthday, that allow the public a window into her developmental practice as a visual artist and life as a cultural grande dame.

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Emerging from years in the hospitality industry, specifically ecotourism, in both New Providence and Abaco, Nettie has settled in New Providence on West Bay Street to devote herself to cultivating the ever-expanding Nettie’s Place. Operated and managed by herself and her family, Nettie’s Place is a treasure chest of art and cultural relics.   

When walking through Nettie’s Place, the artworks that adorn walls, ceilings, tables, floors and flora are elucidated by Nettie’s storytelling. Whether it be what inspired a work, how it came to be or an anecdote of what was occurring in Nettie’s life at the time of making it, there is an accompanying and contextualizing story for everything. A stroll through the property will educate any visitor on the rich cultural history of this country that has, as Nettie will explain, become diluted through time and technology.

Arriving at Nettie’s Place is a serendipitous event for most who have been lucky enough to be given the grand tour. The photographs and video accompanying her artwork throughout the exhibition further contextualize the works in the absence of a visit to Nettie’s Place. Visitors to the exhibition are granted access through this intimate aperture into the home and mind of Nettie as she strolls around her cultural haven, beaming with pride, storytelling and gesturing with her hands. Following a self-proclaimed inability to draw, viewers witness how exactly her inspiration is drawn from the spiritual realm. Nettie decodes not only the physical works that define her artistic practice, but also takes time to translate its spiritual origins.

The exhibition comes together to bring a face and context to the naïve, intuitive, gestural works that Nettie has become known for. In coming together to celebrate her birthday and artistic practice, The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery hopes toffee the public an insight into Nettica Symonette, as well as the arts and cultural history that she embodies.