Malone was aided on his way to his newfound place of serenity. Before making “Metamorphosis”, he was inspired by musician Tony “The Obeah Man” McKay’s “Reincarnation” album, which was produced in 1972. The album contained iconic songs like “Brown Girl” and “Exuma’s Reincarnation”.
The country, too, had experienced a shift – The Bahamas became independent only six years earlier and was under the leadership of the first black prime minister.
Remembered fondly as the “Father of Bahamian Art”, Malone is known for being the first person to paint Junkanoo seriously. His Junkanoo works, which fill the NAGB’s ‘ballroom’, manage to capture the raw and visceral response the festival is known for evoking in its participants and spectators. In “Metamorphosis” the Junkanooer’s gaze is intentional and focused. This captured concentration is a commonality found in many of Malone’s festive works.
“Metamorphosis” and other Malone works can be viewed in R. Brent Malone: Reincarnation, which is on display at the NAGB until April 3.