In 2014, The Central Bank of the Bahamas celebrated 40 years of activity and as part of the celebrations, The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas staged an exhibition that drew on their considerable art collection.
In talking to local artists in preparation for the show, many spoke to the Central Bank as being the source of early support and that extra push that many needed to gain the confidence to continue on their chosen path. It is not an exaggeration to say that without this important institution, the Bahamian art scene would not be what it is today.
The Central Bank had an early commitment to the arts, initially through the purchase of works, and later through the establishment of their annual art competitions, which quickly became the local scene’s focal points for the entire year and generated excitement in the community.
Through the “Governor’s Choice” award and other prize categories, younger artists were given a boost in confidence, while others were awarded financial support for continued studies in the field.
The bank’s collection grew slowly, year-after-year, with the acquisition of the competitions’ winning pieces. This laid the foundation for what today is a major and important Bahamian art anthology but one that—held in office spaces within the building—was rarely seen by the larger Bahamian public. With their 40th anniversary, the NAGB felt it was time to stage an exhibition that would be accessible to everybody and acknowledge the depth and vision of the Central Bank’s commitment to the arts.
Central Bank has long been a partner of the NAGB and, together, the national institutions made it possible both to have the show on public view for free for an entire month and also to commission a series of artist films, allowing Bahamians to get to know local artists and their creative journies.
With the support of Central Bank, the NAGB commissioned young Bahamian filmmaker, Tatiana Clare of OX Productions, to direct and shoot these nine artist profiles, which we release in a run-up to the forthcoming annual exhibitions of the Open Category Prize and the High School Prize.
View the 9 artist profiles below: