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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

pARTicipate! - New Exhibition at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation aimed at play and accessibility!

Natalie Willis

pARTicipate! - A NEW EXHIBITION open from 17th September to 22nd November 2018. The D’Aguilar Art Foundation is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition, pARTicipate!, a show that aims to highlight the playfulness and accessibility of art. The exhibition intends to be a medium by which children (and fun adults) can learn to appreciate performative artworks of all kinds: from singing sculptures to painting you can walk into, pARTicipate! encourages its viewers to play with the artwork shown in the gallery. The show features five prominent Bahamian artists: June Collie, John Cox, Kendra Frorup, Natascha Vazquez and Margot Bethel. Each artist created a piece of interactive artwork surrounding themes of play, folklore, and storytelling.

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Blank Canvas: September 19, 2018, Dwight Laadan Ferguson and "The Future of Democracy"

Katrina Cartwright

Gracing us in the studio this week (you’ll get the pun in a minute..) is the artist Dwight Laadan Ferguson, who joins Amanda Coulson in the Blank Canvas studio to speak about his exhibition at Doongalik Studios entitled, “Hope and Grace.” This show was inspired by an abandoned plot of land by his house where sunflowers were growing… something that connects in a larger way to his life and practise.

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The art of connectivity: Sinking our roots further down.

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. Caribbean peoples have cultural links and subterranean rhizomes–a mass of roots– that connect the region to a larger reality.  This is also articulated by Cuban poets and theorists like Nicolas Guillen and Antonio Benítez-Rojo.  The ethnomusicologist and anthropologist Fernando Ortiz argues about transculturation and harmonious combined with deeply conflicting existences.  We often flatten culture out into its artistic expression, removing any life from it; putting it in a museum and extracting its marrow. We thereby tend to fossilise and remove understanding of culture and its unique link to the place, time and people.  So, Guillen, Ortiz and Glissant came up with understandings of culture that transcend limited material understanding.  We also remove the multiplicity of experiences and histories from culture because so much of history and culture is limited to the official version as told by the coloniser. 

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From the Collection: “Cycle of Abuse” (2017) by Sonia Farmer

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. How does a referendum asking for men and women to be able to both gain rights in passing on citizenship, visibly backed by the government, still manage to fail? And what do we do in the aftermath? Sonia Farmer’s “Cycle of Abuse” (2017) is a paper work, but it is also time based, and the language employed is more than an exclamation, it is social commentary. She declares her status as a Bahamian citizen via text, and as a cisgendered woman she declares her womanhood through the monthly marking of blood upon these ballots. The blood represents not just her femininity and the rights denied her as a Bahamian woman, but also as a symbol of the various ways that violence is continued against women in this country.

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Blank Canvas: September 5, 2018, Expo2020 UB

Katrina Cartwright

Tonight on Blank Canvas, guest host Michael Edwards, Associate Professor at UB and member of the Expo2020 UB team, is filling in for our regular host Amanda Coulson. He is joined by other group members: Moriah Lightbourne (Visual Art), Ashley McClain (English), Ide Thompson (English and History) and Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies.

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The Art of Living in the Tropics, Part Three: Silence

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. Culture is the art of living in a place that speaks of experiences, adaptation and resilience.  Culture is the unique expression of spatial and temporal identity or vice versa where a people perform life based on their history and geography.  As people are increasingly marginalised through the expansion of capitalist desire into the tropics, the art of living there shifts from a national or an indigenous-peoples-based art to art of magazines and design. How do these things meet so that peoples and their cultures can thrive alongside gated out-sourced post-nationalist communities? 

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Teachers’ Seminar at the NAGB jump-starts the new school year

Natalie Willis

By Katrina Cartwright. Public School Math Teachers spend some time at the NAGB. The education department at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas fittingly began the new school year with a Teachers’ Seminar on August 21st -23rd that focused on teaching math through art and utilising the museum’s resources to enhance student learning. Over 65 junior high and high school math teachers from the public school system were in attendance as a part of their yearly summer professional development seminar.

The daily five-hour seminar incorporated a tour of the museum’s current Permanent Exhibition “Hard Mouth: From the Tongue of the Ocean,” a presentation on the techniques that can be used to integrate art and math and a series of activities that guided teachers through the various ways that the arts can be used to engage students in learning math. Each day ended with groups of teachers working together to formulate ideas that incorporated visual art into lessons that focused on a particular math topic.

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From the Collection: “Untitled (Boat Scene)” (c.1920) by James “Doc” Sands

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis

One would imagine this a typical scene along the Nassau coastline in the 1920s, as so much of our history - painful or profitable - was tied to the sea’s comings and goings. “Doc” Sands gives us what appears to be commonplace, but when we situate this image in the context of its time, and in our broader Bahamian history, things begin to take an exciting turn. Bottles and barrels that appeared to be ordinary fare now begin to remind us of prohibition and bootlegging, and the men shaking hands could very well be in the middle of a handoff. Of course, much of the imagery photographed at this time was staged out of necessity - things needed to be reasonably still for a prolonged time for the image to be taken appropriately. Was Sands staging this image of prohibition and illicit-alcohol Nassau at its roaring start?

James Osborne “Doc” Sands was born in 1885 in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, and is noted one of the first Bahamian photographers. The second of six children, his parents moved him to Nassau for what they felt to be a better education, and at age 18 he was handed over the photo studio of his mentor, American photographer Jacob Frank Coonley. Coonley and his contemporary William Henry Jackson (also American) were well known for their work, and now historically for their contributions to building and framing the picturesque, tropical images of The Bahamas at the start of its tourism industry, and Sands took up the mantle at a somewhat tender age.

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Blank Canvas: August 29, 2018, ALIV and EXPO 2020

Katrina Cartwright

Tonight on Blank Canvas, guest host Communications-Development Officer Malika Pryor-Martin interviews with the team from ALIV about the work they are doing to bring history and The Bahamas to life via the Discover App, an augmented reality app designed for locals and visitors alike to design their very own tour or cultural experience. The map, which will soon be available in the Mixed Media Store at the NAGB, is a 2D adventure that utilizes voice, image and even video to tell the story of wonderful institutions and landmarks, like the NAGB, as well as provide a sense of what you’ll find if you venture inside.

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NAGB Summer Camp comes to a close: Campers proudly show their work at the MMASC exhibition

Natalie Willis

By Katrina Cartwright

 Families, supporters and sponsors fill Fiona’s Theatre for the opening of the 5th Mixed Media Summer Art Camp Exhibition. Images courtesy of the NAGB.

Families, supporters and sponsors fill Fiona’s Theatre for the opening of the 5th Mixed Media Summer Art Camp Exhibition. Images courtesy of the NAGB.

After six weeks of fun, creativity and lots of adventure, the NAGB’s Mixed Media Art Summer Camp (MMASC) came to an end with much pomp and circumstance on August 9th, 2018. On a humid, but slowly cooling Thursday evening, over two hundred campers with their families and friends, along with volunteer camp counsellors, instructors and NAGB staff, filled the seats at Fiona’s Theatre, watching as awards and speeches accompanied by a series of riveting performances were enacted on the stage. This was the prequel to the greatly anticipated student exhibition that was on display in the museum’s Project Space and around the second floor veranda. The best of the artwork produced by each camper during the camp was showcased for the viewing pleasure of all those in attendance while they enjoyed fresh fruit, small bites, cold drinks and lots of great company.

 Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

Currently in its fifth year, the MMASC was revamped in 2015 and has been continually refined; it can be said with confidence that this year’s camp has been the best one yet. This can be seen in the quality of the work produced, the enthusiasm of the camp counsellor’s–who kept the evening of the opening lively–the support of the camp’s sponsors and the participation of the campers, three of whom performed during the opening. SuperCute and Chosen Soldiers electrified the audience and completed their sets to the sound of resounding applause and calls for an encore performance. The antics of the counsellors as they were called for their awards were an endless source of amusement and Novie brought the ceremony to a close with a rousing, interactive performance of down home music, inviting audience members to sing along and encourage the drummer, camp counsellor Sharvez Woodside, to really show what could be done with a goat skin drum.

 Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas thanks its sponsors: Lyford Cay Foundation; The D’Aguilar Foundation; Commonwealth Bank; New Providence Community Centre Maedon Rahming #71; Graycliff; ALIV; and Marco’s Pizza for their commitment to nurturing creativity in our children and providing educational opportunities that will positively impact them for a lifetime. We look forward to an even better summer camp in 2019 with lots of new adventures with new and returning friends!

 Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

Works inspired by Amos Ferguson on view as part of the NAGB’s Permanent Exhibition, "Hard Mouth: Tongue of The Ocean". MMASC Exhibition, now showing in the PS Gallery on the main level of the NAGB features works by campers, ages 5-16. 

The MMASC exhibition is on view at the NAGB’s Project Space Room through Sunday, September 2nd, 2018.

“When The Lionfish Came”: Tamika Galanis chimes in for the people of the reef in dangerously rising tides.

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. In Adelaide, there is a bell that has been ringing for at least a hundred years, but closer to two. Events, hurricanes, births and deaths, are all marked by the chime, and the proud denizens of this historic community for freed Blacks have, for generations, found themselves answering to its call. However, Tamika Galanis’ film, “When The Lionfish Came” (2015) is not a church bell…

It is an alarm.

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Double Dutch “Hot Water” Opens!: Climate change, Ragged Island and vulnerable ecologies explored.

Natalie Willis

By Holly Bynoe.  ​​​​​​​The “Double Dutch” series supports the concept of bringing together local and regional artists, irrespective of where they are currently residing, to work with a group of ideas personal, political and otherwise crucial to the development of a contemporary Bahamian identity. These artists and collectives are often divided linguistically and geographically but are united by common historical, economic or practice-based conditions. For this reason, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) pilot project attempts to create and maintain ties throughout the Caribbean and its more extensive diaspora.

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Bahamian Arts and Culture: The Fruit and the Seed Part 2

Holly Bynoe

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) holds a national exhibition every two years where all Bahamian artists and artists who reside here–irrespective of how their practice is defined–are invited to submit their work for selection. The 2018 National Exhibition will be the 9th edition (shortened to NE9) of this exercise which acts as a barometer of sorts on what is affecting and inspiring, being thought about and worked upon, developed and defined by individual creators in the Bahamian art community. This year’s national exhibition, entitled “The Fruit and the Seed”, is an invitation to all artists within the community to think about what risk-taking, truth-telling and innovation can do in a space that is still becoming.

Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine had an opportunity to ask the NE9’s curator, Holly Bynoe, a few questions on her hopes, reflections, and curatorial plans for this year’s national exhibition.

BAC: What was the inspiration behind the NE9's theme "The Fruit and the Seed”

Holly Bynoe: Can I say that it came to me in a dream? I feel that so many people get away with this answer. Honestly, it was a meditation that I realised had turned into words on repeat in my brain and heart for weeks. I had the map since the beginning of the year, saying it to myself in mumbles and hums then louder as the year progressed.  It is frequently how I work, listening carefully to the resonance of culture, to the whispers and the screams; to the things that fit, to those that clash and to the things that cause a disturbance.

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“The Fruit & the Seed” conjures up a kind of duality - the flesh and pith, something hard surrounded by soft, something immediately nutritious and then something that needs germination to come into being, to spring to life.

Then, of course, there is a way that these words are gendered; the connotation of something lush, pulpy and fecund, of a space so fertile, wild and ripe that you do not have to tend to it. However, you have to tend to the seed, to the soil to the way that you care for the land and care for the environment around this hard pith. I think a lot about this cultivation and landscape, especially within our culture and how it needs a different kind of attention and care. Something constant and faithful.

There is an inherent beauty and danger in what is created throughout the African diasporas, in particular, the Caribbean and absolutely, The Bahamas. There is softness and desirability to the veneers, patinas and aesthetics, but the closer you look all of that drops away and what remains is something harder to unpack, understand and something nuanced, idiosyncratic and expansive.

There is also an intimacy with the thematic of “The Fruit & the Seed”, and it is something that we can all relate to being in and from the tropics, even if it lingers. It hints to the ecology of the space and its fragility. Culture is genuinely married to transformation, and we have to have opportunities to engage in this articulation of change. And that for some artists might be a hostile, meandering, emotional encounter but this relationship makes us think differently about the image of ourselves. It might sound parochial to make this claim or a little backward, but so much of our material traditions and intangible heritage continues to be erased and eroded. It is therefore important to take the time to invent, to fantasise, to create, to nurture and to birth work to populate and counteract this loss, that speak about rebuilding the body of what we are, thereby creating an element of fleshiness in a structure.

Of course, as a Caribbean woman working in culture and being dedicated to fostering richness and value in The Bahamas and across our region,it is also very personal.Sometimes we forget the kind of listening and awareness that we need to practice. It is also a moment of having intimacy with self, our communities, the broader archipelago and all of the points that hinge from this space. To this end, I want to share this anonymous quotation that artist Dominique Knowles shared with me: “Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit.” Know that every day we are planting seeds, watering the ground and watching for new and continued growth. 

 

The Provocative: Drew Weech plays with the history of the nude in Western Art

Holly Bynoe

ByNatalie Willis

“To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself.” – John Berger, “Ways of Seeing”.

The history of the nude, particularly of the female nude, in Western art history, treads a precarious line between the provocation of the mind and the body. This distinction between nakedness (as the state of being clothesless in life) and nudity (as the posed and framed view of a naked subject in an artwork) is key to the way we look at nudes. What makes a painting sensational and lewd, or a work of art to be considered as more than just erotica–is often left up to the opinions of those viewing it – more often than not, the opinions of those deemed “important” in the art world.

 Drew Weech’s work on view in the NAGB’s new Permanent Exhibition “Hard Mouth: From the Tongue of the Ocean.”

Drew Weech’s work on view in the NAGB’s new Permanent Exhibition “Hard Mouth: From the Tongue of the Ocean.”

Drew Weech follows along this centuries-old tradition- well, millennia if we are looking at art history in its fullness of the world and all its inclusivity - and he plays with it in an unabashedly cheeky manner, pun intended. Using traditional media to actualise the digital is an irreverent critique on the etiquette and boundaries of the history he references. In taking pornographic images of idealised women’s bodies, often surgically altered to realise these overly lauded and yet still arbitrary standards, Weech gives us a moment to think on the respectability politics of the naked feminine body and harkens to the origins of the Western nude. More often than not, the women painted were sex workers, as they were, of course, the only women at that time who would be willing to be paid to pose unclothed in “polite” society. Weech parallels this history into the digital era, taking women who fit into this role in contemporary society to render his image, all the while referencing the digital space they exist in.

In some ways, Weech is being critical of the male gaze as both artist and viewer and gives us a moment to consider the way women’s bodies are both sexualised and censored in public spaces, particularly within the museum. Nudity is common to world museums of art, but they are most often the bodies of white women and used to represent the ideal. By taking these white, idealised feminine forms and distorting them, deconstructing them down to hand-drawn pixels of colour, he is challenging the hierarchy of this ideal body. Displayed amongst the problematic imagery–in the NAGB’s new Permanent Exhibition “Hard Mouth: From the Tongue of the Ocean”–of the Black “mammy” of Khia Poitier’s “Alters/Altars” or Joann Behagg’s full-figured ceramic women, adorned in their head wraps – a device to “play down” the attractive and often exoticised appeal of historic Black hairstyles – Weech’s nudes serve as a sobering reminder of the way nudes are not just nudes, but bodies, and the way that Black bodies have been viewed over time.  The white body of the porn star is an idealised one in regards to desire, higher up that hierarchy that designates ill-taste value on women, but it is also one that is marginalised as we see sex workers stigmatised and criminalised and denied fundamental rights for centuries. A history that Black women have known all too well, an uncomfortable similarity especially given the hyper-sexualisation of Black women from childhood experienced as a vestige of slavery today.

The questions that come up are centred around autonomy and the power of the gaze. The nude becomes a subject, no longer a person, and the discussion is more about their nudity than their person as it were. Subject hood replaces personhood and humanity, and the nude person becomes a topic of discussion, an idea, and their own lives rarely considered outside of whatever visual metaphors or contexts may be hanging around the image. Also, who does the looking and has the power in the looking? The matrix of men’s eyes versus women’s, Black and Brown versus white, are problematised in this work. It is a man doing the looking and rendering, as we have seen time after time again in art, but this man is Black, so some of his power is stripped. The women he renders have their power taken in a sense by way of being women, but they are white women. Who honestly has the power here, and how much does this depend on context and scenario? The sad truth of power hierarchies is that, aside from serving no one save but a select few, we all suffer in some ways, yet we must cling to what little we have. 

 Group II, 2018. Drew Weech. Pastel, pencil and graphite on paper. 12” x 12”. Works courtesy of the D’Aguilar Art Foundation

Group II, 2018. Drew Weech. Pastel, pencil and graphite on paper. 12” x 12”. Works courtesy of the D’Aguilar Art Foundation

The power of looking or being the looked-at is a subtle, powerful, and insidious one. We are trained to look at certain bodies in specific ways, to strip away their humanity in our looking - porn stars, human zoos, ‘side-shows’ are all a part. Perhaps this is why pointing is so rude, a physical display of this power. However, perhaps point in that, and in all this, is that we need not only consider what power we do not have as people marginalised for race, gender, disability, and sexuality, but how many of us have privilege over another for where we are not marginalised. The simultaneous power and powerless is a way that we need to consider ourselves outside of that hierarchical binary to develop a deeper sense of empathy. We needn’t be one thing at a time, life is so often made of grey and pixelated pictures we can’t quite discern, we live in it even in this era of HD discrimination, but perhaps this duality is where we can find ways to mend the ways we have been hurt and prevent ourselves from hurting others. Just as Weech’s images come into more explicit focus upon their filtering through a phone camera or other device, sometimes it merely takes distance from what is in front of us to gain a better understanding for more level considerations. 

Sinking: Field Notes on Loss and Belonging

Holly Bynoe

By Ethan Knowles, NAGB Summer Attaché

The sea looked like one big aquamarine blanket, rippling in the wind. It unfurled before us in long, slow waves, showing no sign of hem, border, edge or limit. As we cruised across its surface like a stray breeze, I observed our monster of a fishing boat gradually shed its mossy skin. The white froth of the wake slowly gave way to green hills and grassy valleys, revealing fertile lands before my eyes. Then the algal hide sank, and blue came back, and things carried on just as before. How, I wondered. How could I do just that.

 A dinghy viewed from above. Photo by Ethan Knowles.

A dinghy viewed from above. Photo by Ethan Knowles.

Now and then, dark, oblong shapes would steal Grandpa’s attention away from the horizon. Scattered here and there, like bruises in the blue sea, were patch reefs. They rose from the sea floor like strange skyscrapers, harbouring underwater creatures of all kinds. They were far and few between, but Grandpa recognised each one. It was how the older fishermen found their way: the reefs by day and the stars by night. Gliding past them, Grandpa would always give a grateful nod, as if thanking the reefs for their reliability. Their stillness. I thought it a considerate gesture.

In the distance, occupying a gap between two rocky cays, I suddenly caught sight of a vessel heading south. Grandpa, who had been in the process of letting out a fishing line at the stern, identified it as the mailboat making its regular rounds. The mailboat; I often imagined what would happen if one day it never came again. It was a grim thought, and Aunty had always brushed such grim thoughts aside, but I could not help wondering. We needed fresh water for everything we did on Ragged Island, from drinking and washing to building. If the boat stopped bringing it, what should happen then? Everyone knew cement and salt didn’t mix, so when the time to ration came, repairs would surely cease. But even then, how long would we last? Would people flee as soon as the tide began to flow? Unlikely. They all knew about land grab. Still, the mailboat was our lifeline, our umbilical cord. With it taken away, how could we survive?

Just then Grandpa’s fishing line began to squeal. I watched the rod pan right and left as if possessed, locked into the sudden jolts of whatever fish had been bold enough to take the bait. Grandpa’s movements, by contrast, were calm and sure. First, he brought the boat to a steady halt. Then he grabbed the rod and let out a great deal of line. Finally, after a short pause, he pulled back with all his might. And later he relented. Forfeiting line when necessary. And then he pulled back again; and I watched as the rod bent up and down, bowing to the sea as if in a fit of repentant prayer. This ritual went on for several minutes. Until, content with its prayer, the rod resumed its upright position. And the line went slack. And the fish swam away. And Grandpa was destroyed.

I could not help but think Grandpa looked far more disappointed than I expected for a man who had caught so many fish in his lifetime. In fact, he looked desperate. He said not one word when reeling the line in, did not hesitate in turning the boat right back around, and expressed little regret in promptly steering us in the direction we had come. The whirr of the engine had returned, and soon enough so would we.

 A lonely chair rests outside a house on Ragged Island. Photo by Ethan Knowles.

A lonely chair rests outside a house on Ragged Island. Photo by Ethan Knowles.

But before then, Grandpa turned to look at me. He waved me over to the ship’s wheel and, as I sat by his side, studied me with heavy grey eyes. Then he said he believed my mother’s affair had been the death of her. He had no grounds for believing this, on that he was clear. But believing helped. Complications during my birth had always been cited as her cause of death, but Grandpa could not bear to let himself accept it. His way of coping was to create a different story. To stave off his grief – and spare me any ill feeling – Grandpa convinced himself that the affair had somehow poisoned my mother. That had she and my father been married, his daughter would never have died. This is what he wanted to believe. And so, to rid himself of the grief, he did his best to get rid of the affair. But in the process, Grandpa gave up any hope of closure. His charade grew so wide and complex that he too had fallen into it. And now that it had all collapsed on top of him, he feared the slightest shift might bring him greater pain than his old soul could endure. Yet, with all this weighing him down, Grandpa decided to let the fish escape anyway. It was an exercise in loss, and it had ruined him. But it was the first step to acceptance. As if unwilling to let me go too, Grandpa pulled me closer to him. And that was when we hit the reef.

Warm water came gushing in like blood. I sat there in a stupor as the boat drank more and more and more. We were slowly being swallowed by the ocean, just miles off shore, and all I could think about was how, in the distance, Ragged Island looked like it too was struggling to stay afloat. Grandpa rushed for the flares, lighting off one after another, and started combing the cupboards for lifejackets. Meanwhile, I sat motionless. I wondered what my mother would do right now. Would she feel frozen? Or would she start to move and sweat? Really and truly, I had no idea. All I knew was that the boat was beginning to turn. I felt a cushion press against my back followed by two quick snaps. Then Grandpa picked me up and with unbelievable strength hauled me onto the side of the boat as the whole thing began to roll over. With great effort, we crawled onto the underbelly of the boat, slicing our limbs on the blades of its barnacled skin. There we rested, panting, until Uncle Freddy and Aunty Mary came to our rescue in a dinghy some thirty minutes later.

As we parted from the wreckage, a sudden profusion of bubbles stirred on the far side of the boat; and, just seconds later, the whole ship was consumed. We stared on with unease as it sank. At this time I drew closer to Grandpa, bringing my tired head to his shoulder for rest. Aunty Mary saw this and let free a small smile. She was thinking her plan had worked. I, on the other hand, could not help thinking that there would be no changing back to the way things were before. Things would go forward, and which route they took - whether an upward trend or a downward plunge -  was entirely up to us.

National Exhibition 9 Deadline Extended till August 26th: Jurors and collaborations announced

Holly Bynoe

By Holly Bynoe

In preparation for The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ ninth National Exhibition (NE9) set to open on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 the deadline for the Call For Works will be extended by one week, ending on Sunday, August 26th, given several recent developments which positively impact the call and its mission.

We are thrilled to reveal the jury for the NE9– “The Fruit and the Seed”–which includes Mr Derek Rolle, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas; Mr. John Cox, Former Chief Curator at NAGB and current Artistic Director at The Current Studios at Baha Mar; and Mr. Allan P. Wallace, local artist and instigator. Joining them will be NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe.

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Cox enthusiastically shares, “It is my pleasure and honor to selected to participate on this year’s jury for the NE9. Beyond this it is my passion and obligation to humbly give back to the local institutional creative communities which have given me the tools to continually build platforms for dialogue, expression, resistance and growth all of which the NAGB embodies at its core.” Wallace, prominent creative and instigator of public works “still vividly remembers being part of the inaugural show (1NE) back in 2003 and is very excited to see the magic to come.”

Derek Rolle’s passion towards the creative community doesn’t only shine through in the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ annual competitions, he shares that, “to have been chosen to be part of NE9 continues to solidify my belief in and appreciation for the advancement of art and culture in The Bahamas. NE9 and NAGB are paramount to the cause, and strongly underpin the philosophy behind the country’s commitment to advancement in this area.” 

This year, given the scope and nature of the call we are excited to welcome Los Angeles based curator Naima J. Keith, who is committed to producing timely exhibitions, advocating for artists and institutions, thinking critically, and developing ideas that are central to our time. Through Keith’s work with the Hammer Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and now the California African American Museum, she has come to understand that institutions can evolve to engage more broadly with the multiple, often competing histories that make us who we are, and this is very apt given our very recent history.

Joining her will be Diana Nawi, the former associate curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Before her move to become an independent curator, Nawi organised shows with work by John Dunkley, Nari Ward, Haroon Mirza, and John Akomfrah, to name just a few.  Keith and Nawi were recently named joint curators of Prospect.5, the next edition of the New Orleans Triennial, which is scheduled to open in fall of 2020. Prospect. 3 held in 2014 titled “Notes from Now” and P4 in 2017, “A Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” supported the works of Bahamian artists Tavares Strachan and Lavar Munroe respectively and has been an important platform for bringing international attention to Bahamian artists.

The NAGB hopes that the exposure and integrated approach of the NE9 will give a further boost to the exhibiton, bringing even more global attention to our local artists, and that other points of view can come to the fore and contextualise practices in significant ways. Looking at a wholistic jury who are actively working to shape and shift their cultural and social spaces is critical in a  global context, but truly necessary locally. As postcolonial thinkers, makers, tinkerers and institutions–sustaining ourselves through the circulation of minds and eyes that can add to our already dynamic cultural expressions, can provide critical feedback and momentum for artists who are ready for that push.

 Studios at The Current

Studios at The Current

Also, the NAGB is also happy to collaborate with The Current at Baha Mar affording one artist, an artist-in-residence position for two months to create works for “The Fruit and The Seed.” The partnership hinges on the idea of community engagement and how best to ensure and grow social ties by connecting back to one of the NE9 prompts answering the question of how we encourage colleagues and peers in this creative ecology.

The candidate will be chosen by the jury and based on how the residency will be able to supplement his or her work along with the intentionality of the proposed project. By building these bridges and weaving a tapestry of support, we can further work to ensure that a healthy ecology and investment in our artists continue to be at the forefront of the NAGB’s mission.

The residency will start in mid-September once the selected artists for the NE9  have been announced and will include a material stipend and the opportunity to work along with a dynamic group of arts professionals and resident artists at The Current. Environment and the social conditions of our space are often seen as the backdrop to the development of work, and this collaboration will directly tie into allowing for more in-depth study and engagement with these stimuli and measures.

The NAGB and its partners are looking forward to receiving and reviewing your powerful proposals for the “The Fruit and The Seed.”

The D'Aguilar Art Foundation seeks volunteers

Holly Bynoe

The D'Aguilar Art Foundation runs an after school art program at Uriah McPhee each wednesday from 3:15-4:14pm throughout the school year. They are looking for 3 volunteers that can commit to volunteering for the majority of the classes for one school year from mid-September 2018 to June 2019.

 Art Club at the DAF. 

Art Club at the DAF. 

You would be joining Tessa Whitehead and her colleague Letitia Pratt to teach kids ranging from 4 yrs old to 10 yrs old. They prepare classes and have a fairly structured format that can be followed with an aim to have 8 students or less per volunteer.

If you are interested or know somebody else who might be interested and suitable, please give Tessa a call on 3767553 so we can have a little interview and discuss it further