The Blank Canvas: December 21, 2016: Hilary Booker + Jon Murray

In the studio with Amanda, this week are agitators, researchers and facilitators whose intellectual and research endeavours cross over with artistic practice, leaning into the area of what is now called “social sculpture.”

Jon Murray (left) is a Bahamian, currently resident in New York, and a recent graduate of Hunter University with a BA in Art History and German. His project for the NE8 is a visual manifestation of a larger project in which he sees himself as the instigator, not the sole author.

Under the banner of The Commission of The Queer, part of the larger project is presented in the Villa Doyle as “An Exhibition of Queer Findings From the Royal Bahamian Empire,” whose boundaries, as we discuss on the show, extend throughout the globe, represented in the bodies and minds of all the ex-patriot Bahamians who feel they can no longer live in the country of their birth or citizenship due to discriminatory practices that are sanctioned either implicitly by traditional attitudes or explicitly by discriminatory laws and legislation.

Hilary Booker is the first Artist/Researcher in residence for a National Exhibition and will be living for six weeks in the Artist-in-Residence space at Hillside House on Cumberland Street. With a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University in New England, Hilary is no stranger to The Bahamas, having lived here for several years as part of her Ph.D. research; she had thought she would be in location for just a few months as part of a sustainability project funded by the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation but stayed much longer, examining decolonization and cultural healing through food.

For the NE8 she has produced “The Moonflower Room” at Hillside House, a space where she will develop an edible cartography linked to healing, communal dining and the exchange of stories.

Both artists speak to their individual projects but also, more generally, to how such interventions fit into contemporary artistic practice and how art, research, food, and storytelling can engender bonds between diverse communities who might otherwise believe they have nothing in common.

See more here and tune in this evening to Guardian Talk Radio at 6:30 pm to hear more about Hilary and Jon’s work.