“A community has one of three options for developing its vision. Unfortunately, two of the three don’t work. You see, the first institution we look to develop vision is politics. Well unfortunately, politics is the institution of the past. Everything about politics is its relationship to what has happened. The second institution we look to figure out where we are going to go is journalism. Unfortunately, journalism is the institution of the present. Its job is to tell us what is going on now. The only institution that can talk about where we need to go is the institution of Art. It is the only institution whose job it is to step into the future, look around, and come back and say, this is where we need to go. And so, artists, please understand this: your job is not to be popular. Your job is not to be journalists. It is the artist’s job to risk their life to go into the future and tell us where to go.”
Bahamian poet, songwriter, author, and architect
Call for Works
Welcome on board the NELEVEN – a ship that travels INTO THE VOID. The Void can be thought of as nothingness, everywhere and nowhere, a space ripe for opportunity and growth. In quantum physics, the Void is the space between filaments (i.e. structures of the universe, such as galaxies), and it is this liminal space that connects everything. This concept of the Void is an apt analogy of Caribbeanness, where the liminality we inhabit as a people forces us to define and redefine ourselves. Voids, then, are a perfect space to birth innovative ideas, new creations, and new ways of life.
This NE asks contemporary artists to visualize these new ways of being through the lens of Caribbean Futurism. This imagining is already imbedded in Bahamian identity – for around 100 years, after the Spanish arrived, kidnapped, and massacred the indigenous Lucayans that lived here, these islands sat in relative emptiness – a Void waiting to be filled with people, culture, and histories. Quite literally, most people who currently live on these islands were born of a line of people who travelled into this Void. Thus, like most Caribbean nations, our current culture developed from the intersectional milieu of peoples and cultures that settled on these islands throughout our history.
We are open to all mediums, including (but not limited to) digital media (video art, sound art, interactive art); sculpture; assemblage; installation; fashion; works on paper (drawing, collage, original prints, watercolors, pastels, etc.); painting; photography; writing (experimental short and long form); spoken word and performance-based works.
About the National Exhibition (NE)
For the past twenty years, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) has committed itself to nurturing a healthy ecosystem for art and intellectual ingenuity in The Bahamas. Held every two years, the National Exhibition (NE) does just this: it is a space for the museum to tap into the cultural zeitgeist and to use the moment to build its collection. In general, the NE is an opportunity for contemporary Bahamian artists to show new works that reflect the current ethos of our community and honor work grounded in the advancement of practice, dialogue, and social engagement. This year, the thesis of the NE is no different: it is not only a temperature test of our current artistic climate, but it is also concerned with how our people and artistic practices can grow into the future.
Proposals should be submitted as a single, multi-page PDF or Word document, and include the following:
- A CV/resume with exhibition record;
- A biography (max. 200 words);
- An artist statement that explains the proposed submission (max. 300 words);
- A detailed description with technical specifications, including space requirements, sketches, diagrams, and in-progress photographs. Up to five (5) images, sketches, etc., will be reviewed. If an entire body of work is available to view, please submit a link for viewing.
Submissions should be sent via email to [email protected] with the subject: NELEVEN SUBMISSION Surname. Submissions that are over 20 MB should be sent via WeTransfer. If you have questions not addressed in this call, please contact Letitia Pratt at 242.328.5800 or [email protected] for more information.
Considerations on Your Voyage
As true visionaries of Bahamian identity and culture, it is the duty of the artist to travel into the unknown to find the truth of who we are. The artist must see within the Void. As you explore onboard the NELEVEN, we welcome you to submit any creative work that captures what you see. Here are some questions to consider during your voyage, out of which you may answer one or many with your project:
- What exists within the Void?
- When you think about what our ecological reality will look like in the future (i.e. the rising seas, the stronger hurricanes, the deteriorating landscape), what tactics do you believe will be used to survive?
- How do we find a connection with each other in the rising technological landscape?
- How will we contend with the multiple histories that exist within a landscape?
- How do you see traditional cultural practices interacting with our new technological reality?
- In what new ways will we express our individual/overlapping identities? (i.e. race, gender, sexuality, etc.)
- How do you see Bahamian culture developing from where we are now?
- What new worlds/new landscapes do you see developing in the future?
- In what ways will our bodies adapt to survive in this new world?
Jury & Review
For the NELEVEN, the NAGB will assemble a selection jury, including professionals from within the institution and from without. The jurors will be announced at a later date. Works will be reviewed by the jury and curatorial team, and a preliminary selection will be made. After studio visits, a final selection will be made by Captain Richardo Barrett, Curatorial Manager, and First Officer Letitia Pratt, Associate Curator.
- Deadline for submissions: July 4, 2024
- Preliminary Review: July 18, 2024
- Studio Visits: July 19 – August 4, 2024*
- Final Review: August 6, 2024
- Notice of Selection: August 8, 2024
- Announcement of participating artists: August 22, 202
- Installation: February 17, 2025 – March 7, 2025
- Opening Reception: March 13, 2025
- Programming: TBD
Please note that a studio visit is a part of the review process and does not ensure your proposal will be selected. Some studio visits may be conducted virtually.
- Work by any resident of the islands and Bahamian nationals in the diaspora will be considered.
- Collaborative projects are allowed; these collaborations may include creatives who are working regionally or internationally.
- Up to 5 images and sketches from 1 proposal will be reviewed.
- The budget for production will be discussed upon proposal acceptance and will depend on project needs. Funding is limited.
- Proposals for public projects will be given special attention.
- Proposals to occupy the NAGB Art Park and Fiona’s Theatre are encouraged.
- A dedicated catalogue of works will be produced for the show.
Any person on the NAGB team or Board is not permitted to submit to the National Exhibition 11, and any applications submitted by such persons will not be considered.
The NAGB is not obligated to exhibit any of the submissions, and all curatorial decisions, including the selection of artists and works to be supported in the National Exhibition, will be final.