The Eighth National Exhibition (NE8)
Call for works
Proposed dates: December 15, 2016 - April 16, 2017.
For the past 13 years, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas has committed itself to the nurturing and fostering of a healthy creative ecosystem, and it continues to push the frontiers and foundations of cultural value and consciousness across the islands. The institution assumes a vital role in the development of visual arts, as well as a strong economy of thought and a fertile space for thinking about cultural orientation and emancipation.
The National Exhibition stands apart as a laboratory – a site where artists can question, interrogate and develop ideas about their current concerns while witnessing and paying testament to complex global dynamics. Within The Bahamas and across many Caribbean countries, there is resistance and equal embrace to the hegemonic construct of Western art. Creatives are dealing with clarifying conscious and discreet understanding of themselves and how to find their unique voices, visual and otherwise, within this larger discourse.
In this quest to engage with our best selves, there is a certain anxiety attached to engaging with global chronicles and an innate fear of losing our essence, thereby diluting the very thing that makes us distinctive. For the NE8, the hope is to challenge artists to think about universality, about the ways in which human beings continue to orbit incongruencies, glitches in experiences and near extinguishment of stories, narratives and ideas. We are sometimes moving at lightning speed through a barrage of thoughts, feelings and contradictions, and as creatives, we struggle to find meaning within our lives and to move beyond producing work that merely mirrors society. Within this, we wonder and question the reality of nurturing cultural legacy in a space that practices cultural amnesia. How do we work to unfix this and how do we pay testament to the complex fragmentation of selfhood?
As a curator and someone invested in new subjectivities and visualities within contemporary practices, I aim to position the NAGB as an environment – an eco-sphere – where, as thinkers, makers and active participants, we can make meaning. How can we remove ourselves from a monolithic understanding of this space? How can we move toward representation in a more critical way? How can we get to the experience of things without reducing them to a normalized/homogenized way of knowing? How can we swim in the fluidity that we naturally inhabit and how can that inspire new kinds of freedom through creative expression?
Famed curator, Okwui Enwezor in crafting the call for the fifth Venice Biennale entitled ‘All the World’s Futures’ proposed this question to viewers and to artists: “How can artists, thinkers, writers, composers, choreographers, singers, and musicians, through images, objects, words, movement, actions, lyrics, sound bring together publics in acts of looking, listening, responding, engaging, speaking in order to make sense of the current upheaval?” I am interested in Enwezor’s statement as it calls for an agency in how this environment of looking and participation is cultivated within an historic institution that is often unyielding to change.
Moving away from crafting a themed call is a first step for the NE8, as authoritative and unbending frameworks can act directly or indirectly to force the artist's hand and/or understanding into a certain motion. With this invitation to build a dialogue and forge conviviality with the institution, we hope that there is latitude to respond broadly to the multiplicities of experiences and scope of cultural production and the generation of ideas.
As the NAGB moves into its formal years as the country’s cultural institution, we are conscious of our civic mission to create a democratic platform that acts as a space of resistance against pervasive cultural ennui and apathy. We draw concern to our collective future and seek to engage with the creative community to ensure the sustainability, survival and flourishing of the nation's artists.
This exhibition is open to all visual and literary artists residing in The Bahamas and all professional Bahamian artists practicing abroad. Entries will be accepted under the following conditions:
1. Artists may submit one proposal containing a total of 10 works for consideration.
2. All works must have been created after December 2014.
3. No late entries will be accepted for review.
4. All works accepted for the National Exhibition 8 must remain at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas for the duration of the exhibition.
5. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public on October 13, 2016, and will end February 26, 2017. Please remember that the accepted works will not be released before the closing date and that the NAGB reserves the right to extend this date.
6. All deadlines ( for submissions, updates, delivery of works, etc.) are fixed and must be adhered to. Missing of any deadlines throughout the process will result in disqualification.
Deadline for submissions: Friday, June 17, 2016
The selection of works will be chosen by the NAGB Chief Curator.
Proposals should include:
1. A full resume, with exhibition record as necessary;
2. A biography, maximum 200 words;
3. An artist’s statement that explains and contextualises the proposed submission, maximum 300 words;
4. In the case of work that is under production: a full list, with technical details, and photographs of the works of art proposed for submission;
5. For new works, a detailed description, with technical specifications, including space requirements, and sketches, diagrams and work in progress photographs.
Open to all media, including paintings; works on paper (drawing, collage, original prints, watercolours, pastels, etc.); photography; digital media (video art, sound art, interactive art); sculpture; assemblage; installation; ceramics; writing (experimental short and long form) and performance-based works.
A general forum with NAGB Chief Curator Holly Bynoe will take place on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 at the National Art Gallery on West Hill Street from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Submissions should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: NE 8 Submission_Surname. Submissions that are over 20MBs must be sent via Dropbox or another file sharing service, like www.wetransfer.com. For more information, contact NAGB Chief Curator Holly Bynoe at 328 5800/1 or via email at email@example.com.
Note that the NAGB is not obligated to exhibit any of the submissions and that all curatorial decisions, including the selection of artists and works to be supported in the National Exhibition, will be final.
Announcement of NE8 and selected artists: August 15, 2016.