National Exhibition 9: “The Fruit & the Seed” Call for Works


“A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.” ― Zora Neale Hurston

For the past 15 years, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) has committed itself to the nurturing of a healthy creative ecosystem for artists.It continues to push the frontiers, defining its position locally, refining its values and goals and declaring its role in the shaping of a vibrant and dynamic visual arts ecology.

As we continue to advance the thinking and impetus behind the National Exhibition (NE), we have used this platform in the past to honour contemporary works that are grounded in the advancement of practice, dialogue and social engagement. This year the attention is no different, as an incubator, laboratory and site of curiosity, the NE presents an opportunity for us to test the temperature of our artistic, cultural and social climates.

A socially curious project, “The Fruit and the Seed” centres around how artists are working to define their space and experiences. Whether it be through the lens of race, gender, parity and class as a way to clarify cultural, social and aesthetic decisions, the art-making process is used as a tool to bring to the fore ideologies on activism and advocacy, leading to a more empathetic and understanding culture.

“The Fruit and the Seed” is an acknowledgement of the binaries in which we exist, paying attention to the fertile creative space we inhabit, its nuances, contradictions and complexities. The analogy of the fruit and seed conjure up very explicit things–from the religious and poetic, to the agency around cultivation and harvest, possibility and outcome. The fragile nature of our ecologies in the age of global warming and the anthropocene is calling for a radical shift in how we tend to our ground and lives.

As the world around us contracts and becomes more conservative, reactionary and closed off, we see the conversations that art provokes as a way to negotiate, to understand and to find compromise. We also see these conversations as a way to demystify social stigmas and to unfix the dogmas that keep our humanity and compassion from being a part of the dialogue. So here, we turn to the many untold stories that lay silent and dormant within our culture, the secrets and fears, the achievements and triumphs, to break old habits and welcome a new awareness of self and others.

The National Exhibition 9 (NE) is an invitation to all artists–irrespective to how your practice is defined–to think about what risk-taking, truth-telling and innovation can do in a space that is still becoming. Within this liminality—and this is undoubtedly where we thrive—and as we come to grasp an understanding of what it means to be Bahamian, which in itself is perplexing and fertile as it has ever been, the central impetus for the call for works is to understand what is being created and why.

As the NAGB moves out of its formative years into its youthful years, we are thinking about futures, all possible futures within the spectrum for the institution, its surrounding communities, stakeholders, the country, wider Caribbean region and the diaspora as entities in evolution. This flux does not have to mean chaos and degradation, nor does it have to show up as insecurity or any of the reductive ways in which it sometimes manifests, be it through the perpetuity of anti-equality legislation, xenophobic laws and other mores and restrictions that keep beings/voices owned, compromised and hijacked.

As we come to know the shape of our futures and creative environs, the Museum is cementing its place as a haven and site for the contesting of rooted ideologies and speculations about our futures. So therein, here are some questions for your consideration out of which you may answer only one or many with your submitted project:

How are you diversifying your experiences and thoughts through art?
What language/devices are you using to speak about (re)presentation?
How are you unfixing colonial understandings of our society and decolonising your space with new ideologies and narratives?
How do these new images, writings, movements or selves look and where are they located?
How are you working with The Bahamas’ vulnerable geography to advocate for the environment?
How are you encouraging your colleagues and peers in this creative ecology?
How are you defending and protecting those that continue to be stateless?
What do the paths of resistance look like in your lives, your families, communities and the expansive country?
How are you making space for yourself and for others that share differing perspectives?
How does your intersectionality benefit yourself, your communities and country?

The NAGB hopes for this platform to create freedom for challenged dialogues, to incite opportunities for deeper engagement and cross-collaborations; further evidenced by the creation of works inside and outside of the institution. By being a witness to our times and contributing to the ongoing story, we collectively shape the components and narratives of our country.

Growing up means that we have to come to terms with that awkward and at times unsettling reflection in the mirror,  but it also means that we are in a unique position to continue to mould, expand and, like water, move around obstacles of least resistance or better yet, we can forge our path.

Open Forum:

All artists are invited to attend an Open Forum for the NE9 with NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe. The purpose of the forum is to answer any questions and address any concerns about the 9th National Exhibition set to open on Thursday, December 13th, 2018. The forum will be held on Thursday, July 26th, from 6-7 pm. Artists of all disciplines including spoken word, performance artists and musicians are invited and encouraged to attend.


For the NE9, the NAGB will assemble a selection jury, including professionals from within the institution and from without, both locally and internationally. The jurors will be communicated at a later date.


Phase 0: Deadline for Submissions: August 26th, 2018
Phase I: Preliminary Review: August 27th – August 28th.
Phase II: Final Review and Selection: September 5th.
Phase III: Outreach to artists – Notice of Selection: September 17th
Phase IV: Artist announcement and Framework for NE9: October 15th.
Phase V: Installation: December 3rd – December 12th.
Phase VI: Opening Reception: Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 7 – 10 pm.
Phase VII: Programming: Performances, Artists Talk, Studio Visits and Public Lectures by Jurors: December  14th and 15th.
Phase VIII: Catalogue launch: Feb 7th.
Phase IX: Programming: Occupy Fiona, Feb 15th and March 15th, a curated evening of spoken word, poetry, readings and music.


Works will be reviewed by curatorial team and preliminary selection made.

Update: 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; John Cox, Former Chief Curator at NAGB and current Artistic Director at The Current Studios at Baha Mar; Allan P. Wallace, local artist and instigator, joining them will be NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe. International jurors include Los Angeles based curator Naima J. Keith currently with the California African American Museum, and independent LA-based curator Diana Nawi, former associate curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Keith and Nawi were recently named curators of Prospect.5, the next edition of the New Orleans Triennial, which is scheduled to open in fall of 2020.

Submission Guidelines- Proposals should include:

A resume, with exhibition record as necessary in word document or PDF format;
A biography, maximum 200 words in word document or PDF format;
An artist’s statement that explains the proposed submission, maximum 300 words in word document or PDF format;
Please submit a detailed description, with technical specifications, including space requirements, sketches, diagrams and in progress photographs. Up to five (5) images, sketches etc will be reviewed. If an entire body of work is available to view, please submit web address for viewing.

Important Highlights:

Work by Bahamian nationals, residents and nationals in the diaspora will be considered.
Collaborative projects are allowed, these collaborations could include creatives who are working regionally or internationally.
5 images, sketches from 1 proposal will be reviewed.
Budget for production will be discussed upon proposal acceptance and will be dependent on project needs.
Proposals supporting public projects will be given special attention.
Proposals to occupy the NAGB Sculpture Garden and Fiona’s Theatre will also be reviewed.
Musicians, spoken word artists, poets, writers and performance artists are invited to develop two unique programs for our first season of programming for Fiona’s Theatre!
Occupy Fiona’s dates are February 15th and March 15th, 2019 and will be curated evening of works.
A dedicated catalogue of works will be produced for the show.


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), spoken word and performance-based works.


Submissions should be sent via email to [email protected] with the subject: NE 9 Submission_Surname. Submissions that are over 20MBs must be sent via WeTransfer. For more information, contact NAGB Chief Curator Holly Bynoe at 328- 5800/1 or via email at [email protected].

Deadline for submissions is on Sunday, August 26th, 2018.

NB: The NAGB is not obligated to exhibit any of the submissions and all curatorial decisions, including the selection of artists and works to be supported in the National Exhibition, will be final.

  • Hopefully they legalize pot soon so we can understand this letter ! way too complex, art is more free spirited and simpler than what you seem to think. I would love to submit my art, but afraid of confrontations like the questions that was listed.

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