Blank Canvas: May 26th, 2021 featuring Curators Natalie Willis, Richardo Barrett and artist Benjamin Ferguson

On this week’s edition of “Blank Canvas,” your host Amanda Coulson meets with the NAGB’s Richardo Barrett and Natalie Willis along with Ben Ferguson, the artist behind the “controversial” artwork “Mismanaged Culture”. His artwork was deemed “racist” by the Freeport Port Authority and removed from its public location on Taino Beach, Grand Bahama. The artwork was commissioned by the NAGB as part of the exhibition PULSE, which was conceived by curator Barrett, during the pandemic to bring art to the people—in the form of murals. Artists were given free rein to deal with topics they felt were socially important for discussion and Ferguson, with his beautiful addition, cleverly dealt with the uncomfortable truth that in The Bahamas—as in many global spaces—young persons are fed the idea, through the actions of broader society, that “light, bright and white” is more beautiful and “foreign = better”. This conversation was too uncomfortable so, rather than have public discourse around it, the artwork was removed from the public space in Grand Bahama, from where NAGB’s associate curator, Willis hails. All three discuss the point of the work, its impact and their position around its removal.

Another public conversation around this artwork is being held by the Bahamas National Reparations Committee on Tuesday, June 1st and is accessible on Zoom via meeting ID 93730340693, Passcode BNRC-2021

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