Ol’ Story: Folktales & Traditions: MMASC 2022 Virtual Exhibition

MMASC 2022 Virtual Exhibition

“Ol’ Story: Folktales & Traditions”

Opened: Thursday, Aug 4th, 2022
10:00 AM

Closed: Sunday, Sept 4th, 2022
5:00 PM

Oral tradition should be central to students of culture, of ideology, of society, of psychology, of art and, finally, of history.

–Jan Vansina

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) was pleased to announce the return of its annual Mixed Media Art Summer Camp (MMASC). With two, two-week sessions running from July 4th – July 29th, 2022, the camp welcomed children and young adults to the museum and worked to expose them to a wide variety of visual art mediums.

This year, campers explored the art and history of storytelling in The Bahamas and across the Caribbean diaspora under the theme “Ol’ Story: Folktales and Traditions”. The rich and vibrant history of teaching and entertaining with the spoken word is deeply entrenched in our culture. The creatures that are spawned and the lessons we take with us are a substantial part of our heritage and shape our collective identity. As visual artists we are also storytellers, and the pieces we create are saturated with the journeys we long to share. In the tradition of our collective stories and in the pursuit of their personal stories the campers studied and experimented with a diverse range of art skills, mediums, and techniques.

The NAGB has always provided a classic summer camp experience that is fun, engaging, explorative and above all safe. It is designed to give campers the opportunity to work with trained art teachers, professional artists and NAGB staff for the duration of the camp. While at the museum, campers were guided in creating individual art pieces and collaborated with a professional muralist in the painting of a group mural onsite. There were also tours, expert led workshops, and other theme-related activities.

Through hard work and dedication, campers have created amazing artwork that showcase their unique approaches to storytelling. It is a pleasure to now exhibit this work at the NAGB, the country’s national art museum.

Virtual Exhibition

Exhibition Slideshow

Telling Stories Through Art

Campers explore Bahamian folklore and traditions at the museum’s first fully on-site camp since 2019

Written by: Blake Fox

For the first time since the pandemic reached Bahamian shores, this year’s camp brought 77 campers between the ages of 5-17 years fully onsite to the NAGB’s campus where they created artwork under the theme “Ol’ Story: Folktales and Traditions”.

How do we construct our identities? How do we know who we are? Camper-artists took a closer look at Bahamian oral culture, folklore, and traditions to find answers and create their own stories. And what better way to create those stories than by making art? This year, campers were inspired by the rich stories, myths, and legends of The Bahamas and the Caribbean, using them to build individual and collective meaning through art making. While reflecting on the inspiration behind this year’s theme, Zearier Munroe-Wilkinson, NAGB’s community outreach officer said, “Every time I am engaged in the tradition of storytelling I am transported,sitting at the feet of my Cat Island Grammy, completely enthralled and hanging on her every word. More than the information or the lessons in the stories, for me it’s about the memories they evoke and the connections they helped build and strengthen.”

Campers making artwork at the Mixed Media Art Summer Camp. Photo courtesy of Jackson Petit.

Identity is a complex thing–it is an amalgamation of stories told, experiences, and traditions shared, environments lived in and so much more. We often look to our past for context, to see what we’ve done and who we’ve been in the past, and how much or how little we’ve changed.

With a wide range of inspiration to pull from–the key writing of Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, the intuitive paintings of Amos Ferguson and mythical creatures like the chickcharney–campers worked on projects that encouraged them to reflect and express themselves through writing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and even performance. While campers created individual pieces using traditional media, they often incorporated found objects and unconventional materials in their projects. Munroe-Wilkinson remarked, “Children are encouraged to explore and question and even challenge without fear of judgment, failure or inadequacy. The environment is so open and inspiring that all of our young artists end up learning something about themselves. And, in that rare firework moment, some find their voices as artists.” Campers were also a part of a collaborative group mural project led by artist and Sixty 2 Sixty Art Gallery founder June Collie.

Campers in the 15-17 year group explore painting portraits. Photo courtesy of Jackson Petit. 

Mural painting with muralist June Collie. Photo courtesy of Jackson Petit.

The museum is also thrilled to have launched our first satellite Family Island summer camp in partnership with Exuma Arts Network (EAN), founded by Sann Sann Lam. For Lam, this partnership “means that we can potentially reach more students, local artists and the community with the backing of a national institution. Furthermore, this support brings added legitimacy to our organization and shows our Out Island community that we are not alone or forgotten in the Family Islands, that we are connected to the capital and an integral part of the greater population.”

Found objects add texture and interest to campers’ creations. Photo courtesy of Sann Sann Lam.

Both summer camps were a success. When reflecting on the camp, Lam shared that one camper “loved to make art at home, but whenever she did, she cried. Coming to art camp, making art at EAN, she didn’t feel like crying, she felt good.” Art has the power to connect us and the final student exhibition opening confirmed just this–over 150 parents, family members, friends and loved ones came out to support their campers who all had  artwork on display in the Project Space at the NAGB. This joyful and colorful exhibition featuring the work of 77 budding artists was on view until September 4th, 2022. 

Family and friends view campers’ artwork at the MMASC exhibition opening. Photo courtesy of Jackson Petit.


A special thank you to the Central Bank of The Bahamas, whose support allowed the NAGB to fund this programme.