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Create Space: Art as Therapy

By Zearier E. Munroe. Exploring art materials with therapeutic thinking. Dorian was the most unnatural of natural disasters to batter this country. The hardest hit islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama will be recovering for years, but they won’t have to do it alone. In the days and weeks following the storm, the power of community and the outpouring of financial, emotional and spiritual support for those affected has been the very epitome of “Bahamas Strong.” And, in this moment of physical and emotional turmoil, the value of a safe space cannot be calculated. Understanding this, the education team at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) partnered with the incomparable Art Psychotherapist, Susan Moir Mackay, a former resident of Grand Bahama for twenty years. The result of this partnership was Create Space under NAGB’s We Gatchu!: Sanctuary After The Storm initiative. The aim of Create Space was to designate and design areas where participants could explore art materials in a therapeutic way. We prioritised the creation of this space within the shelters, while we reaffirmed the availability of the NAGB property as a haven for all who are in need. As it has long been the mission of the NAGB to use the sanctuary of its halls to uplift and inspire through art. 

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Hope is all around us

Bahamian and Caribbean artists from all genres are coming together to uplift The Bahamas through hurricane relief efforts post-Dorian.

By Kevanté A.C. Cash, NAGB Correspondent. It seems as though visual artist and muralist Angelika Wallace-Whitfield may have been foreshadowing with her Ninth National Exhibition (NE9) public art project: “Hope Is A Weapon.” During these trying times, the words that the artist penned to elaborate on the work finds us at a convenient moment and feels all too real. Much like the pressing issue placed on the backs of our nation’s leaders, Bahamians who have not been severely affected by the storm and the global world who is watching.

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Blank Canvas: September 25th, 2019, Create Space

On this week’s “Blank Canvas” we’ll be talking about art therapy and how that can heal us in the difficult days after Hurricane Dorian. As part of the NAGB”s “We Gatchu: Sanctuary After the Storm” initiative, the NAGB Education team, with art therapist Susan Moir Mackay, facilitated “Create Space.” These specialised art sessions are designed to release emotions or find quietness. Working with art materials after a crisis can be an excellent tool for restoring a sense of safety, connection and rebuilding agency and grounding for individuals and communities.

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Climate Refugees: On becoming climate refugees or building back differently

By Dr Ian Bethell Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. After hurricane Irma hit Ragged Island in 2017 that island was declared uninhabitable given the loss and damage to this small island in the Southern Bahamas.  The community was told it would be the first green island in The Bahamas.  From this tragedy, grew an initiative to explore how we could rebuild better and retain the lifeways of the small community on Ragged Island. “Hot Water” was an exhibition under the wider project of the Double Dutch series at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) in August 2018 that drew on best practices and the work and ethnographic research conducted on the ground in Ragged Island by faculty and students of the University of The Bahamas and members of the arts collective Plastico Fantástico.  The work has continued on the project, yet government’s words have vanished into a boiling sea of tsunami waves. The art of living in the tropics was some of the writing derived from the research and documentary that supported the show.  We find now that the art of living in the tropics has continued and needs to be a sustained topic of a dynamically changing conversation: how do we retain life in the tropics, become refugees to climate change and flee the islands we inhabit? As the sea levels rise around barely sea-level islands, we face new threats to our existence.  As the climate crisis advances, which includes rising temperatures as well as more severe storms, we see the increase in hurricanes or mammoth storms that come through annually during hurricane season.   

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