Blank Canvas: June 8th, 2022 featuring Dyah Neilson and Shacqeel Coleby of The D’Aguilar Art Foundation’s, “Salt & Earth”

On today’s Blank Canvas, the show on which we discuss visual culture and creative community, your host Diana Sands interviews Dyah Neilson and Shacqeel Coleby. The two artists are featured in the D’Aguilar Art Foundation’s exhibition, Salt and Earth which also features creative floral expressions by Omar Williams. The discussion centres on how these complimentary works of art and how the use of symbols from the Bahamian landscape can reveal intricate stories about self, Bahamian lore and spirit. As the show closes on June 16th, you are encouraged to view the breathtaking visuals as soon as possible.

Artist Bio

Dyah Neilson (b. 1996 Nassau, The Bahamas) graduated from Queen’s College High School in 2013 and from York University, Toronto, Canada with a BFA in Visual Arts in 2018, after which she returned to The Bahamas. While in high school, she received the top score for the Art BJC (2008) and BGCSE (2012) examinations in the country, and received the Governor General’s Choice Award in the Annual Central Bank Competition in 2009. Since returning to The Bahamas in 2019, she has taken part in group exhibitions and held her first solo exhibition Love & Fear (2019) at Doongalik Studios in Nassau, Bahamas.

Preferring fast drying mediums, she works in acrylic paint and coloured pencil, and her use of a dry brush technique allows her to build up layers of colour while keeping a relatively flat surface. Neilson is deeply inspired by nature, natural and social histories, and the symbolism and metaphors that are ingrained in these histories. She uses symbolism in her portraits to explore the complexities of spirituality, relationships and femininity. 



Shacqeel Coleby is a multimedia artist who was born in the Bahamas but spent most of his early childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Having moved back to the Bahamas as an adolescent, Shacqeel used painting, drawing and creative writing to cope with challenges in his childhood. After completing secondary studies, Shacqeel transitioned into the workforce where he taught himself how to use graphic design software and ultimately became a freelance Graphic Designer. 

Shacqeel’s graphic design abilities have afforded him many professional and educational opportunities, from studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and The University of Hainan (China) to consulting on major branding and marketing projects with the Bahamas Government. 

Shacqeel leverages both traditional and digital mediums to create tropical and nostalgic illustrations inspired by history and folklore. 


“Blank Canvas” airs each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on Guardian Talk Radio 96.9FM.