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The Bahamas

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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

Blank Canvas: October 9th, 2019

diana-lynn sands

Lynn Parotti, a Bahamian artist, now based in London, is Amanda’s guest on “Blank Canvas” this evening. Parotti’s ancestral family, of Italian marble workers, settled in The Bahamas at the turn of the century and she was brought up close to the land and sea, which is often the subject of her deceptive artworks.

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Create Space: Art as Therapy

Natalie Willis

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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Good Instruments for the Goodness Tour

Holly Bynoe

The NAGB is proud to partner with the US-based non-profit organization, The Goodness Tour, who are dedicated to bringing free music and art experiences to people facing adversity all over the world. The tour travels to refugee camps, disaster zones, homeless shelters, hospitals, disability centres, youth crisis shelters and anywhere that humans are in need of trauma relief and encouragement.

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After their first reconnaissance trip to New Providence on September 27th, the three main participants, Benjamin Swatez, Luc Reynaud and Chez Libby were able to see first-hand impacts from Hurricane Dorian with guided and discreet tours to shelters provided by team NAGB and We Gatchu core member, Jenna Christie. During these visits, it was clear that the children, young people and adults were very excited and curious by the playing of instruments and the engagement with song and storytelling.

Historically, The Bahamas has a rich oral tradition that continues to be affected by waves of gentrification and modernisation. The intangible quality of this tradition that is integral to its very uniqueness, has also lent to a cultural forgetting in the absence of adequate documentation. As such, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas seeks to give its public and most vulnerable an opportunity to reconnect with songwriting, art, filmmaking and mural making through this unique partnership.

However, we need your help! Most of the displaced families have lost everything and we are on the search for good instruments, ones that you have retired, put away and safely stored to be found, resurrected and donated for use by The Goodness Tour in their outreach efforts.

This means that children will have first-hand impressions with guitars, flutes, recorders, tambourines, violins, drums etc., which we know not only enhances mood and cognitive behaviour but deeply restores a sense of wellbeing, joy and belonging. We are looking to collect brass and string instruments along with percussions.

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas will open its donations on Monday, October 7th through Friday, October 18th, to coincide with our cultural evening of drumming, storytelling, drawing and dance called “Digging Deep and Letting Go.”

Donations will be accepted by Sophia Smith, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Weekend donations can be taken to the museum’s Mixed Media Gift Store, Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information contact Katrina Cartwright at kcartwright@nagb.org.bs.

#wegatchu #sanctuaryafterthestorm #healgoodfeelgood

Open Call for “Refuge”: The NAGB stages a call for artwork as we recover, rebuild and restore the nation’s spirit.  

Natalie Willis

By Holly Bynoe

September 1, 2019...the day that the sky opened up and tried to swallow a country.

- Bernard Ferguson. Hurricane Dorian Was a Climate Injustice. New Yorker, September 2019

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas acknowledges the dawning of a new chapter in our country’s history after the passage of Hurricane Dorian. Collectively we have made a decision to suspend our planned exhibition for the end of the year and rather, extend an open call to our creative community to start a larger conversation on the personal and collective impacts after the passage of the storm. This new era has led us to explore the mission of the NAGB even further and what it means to be a socially responsible institution in the age of climate crisis. We are a population on ground zero of this transformation, and as we work to regroup, reconcile and rebuild–now and into the future–the NAGB commits to providing safe space for all who rise within the nation’s borders to heal, to be seen and heard through creating.  

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Central Bank of The Bahamas presents their 36th Open Art Competition

Holly Bynoe

Since the inception in 1984 the Art Gallery of the Central Bank of The Bahamas dedicates the months of October and November to their art competitions.

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To promote, foster and advance Bahamian artists remains our dedication and especially in hectic and difficult times like this, creative processes are even more important and are the essence of all progress. The opening of the show takes place on Thursday, October 3rd, from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

 

Hope is all around us

Natalie Willis

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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Open Call for Works for “Refuge”

Holly Bynoe

We cannot go back to how things were. Our world, and our Bahamas, was changed forever. How we move forward, however, is another question entirely, and the place of the museum in a time of climate crisis is yet another still. As part of our mission to educate, uplift, and inspire people of The Bahamas, the NAGB has taken the current moment and context of the nation in mind, and suspended its scheduled end of year exhibition in favour of lifting up the voices of our artists to understand your experiences after Hurricane Dorian.

Apply here!

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For some it may be too soon, for others not soon enough, but we want to give you space to begin to create, heal, process and protest. "Refuge" is an exhibition of works selected via an open call for works to artists and creatives of The Bahamas and its diaspora, all of us who have been collectively changed as nation and region by the storm. All disciplines of creative practice (art, storytelling, poetry, performance, and more) will be accepted. Special support and consideration will be given to artists from Grand Bahama and Abaco, with an understanding and recognition that many have lost everything including their loved ones.  

The closing date for submissions is November 11th, 2019. All will be invited to attend the opening reception of "Refuge" on Thursday, December 19th, 2019, the show will run through Sunday, April 5th, 2020.

Apply here!

More than skin deep: Jonnique A. Beadle’s first solo exhibition takes on new life post Dorian

Natalie Willis

By Kevanté A.C. Cash, NAGB Correspondent. Since the passing of the monstrosity that has left many Bahamians destitute, dead, traumatised and unaccounted for, “Façade”, the first solo exhibition by Jonnique A. Beadle, takes on new life challenging its viewers to truly search beyond the skin deep.  “The human condition is riddled with layers of codes and rationale. In “Façade,” Beadle tackles one of the most prominent of them all - the tendency to hide one’s true self. Through this series, the artist dares to probe even further and ask you, the viewer, “What are you protecting?” The hidden self is an entity born of defense, and to hide what we deem as ugly; we cover it up with our own idea of ‘beautiful’,” says Beadle in her artist statement. 

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Blank Canvas: September 25th, 2019

diana-lynn sands

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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Traditional knowledge living in the tropics: Respecting lifeways

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

The University of The Bahamas

 As Dorian’s wake remains with us, do we have time to consider the indigenous, traditional knowledge of the Abacos? Abaco, similar to Inagua and Crooked Island in the south, and even Bimini in the North, has dealt with its share of natural disasters and man-made shocks. Its people are deeply connected to their lifeways and arts.   

Boat building, home building, fishing and knowing and adapting to the ways of the islands have made Abaconians a formidable people as they adapt and live in their environments.  Yet little is written about this in the national discourse of Bahamianness.  Each of the islands and settlements, even within the tightly knit groups, is unique and holds a craft and knowledge that they own for themselves. There are elders in these communities who hold much of the traditional knowledge deep within them and pass it on through lessons and communal sharing.  

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Alleviate: An Art Auction for Hurricane Relief

Natalie Willis

The visual arts community of The Bahamas has come together to organize an art auction in support of ongoing relief efforts for Abaco and Grand Bahama post Hurricane Dorian. The auction will be held on October 6th, 2019 at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas from 6pm - 9pm. Although there is no entry cost, we urge the public to bring donations to further assist our efforts. 

Artists were asked to donate artwork understanding that 100% of the proceeds from sales will be donated to various non-profit organizations already leading the charge. 

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From the Collection​: “North Star” (2007-8) by Heino Schmid

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. Landmarks are such a common way to give directions we often think nothing of it. In some cities it could be the tallest building, in most, it was historically a cathedral as it was in old Nassau, and in others still an old water tower. Landmarks hold significance, they become a fixed point of reference that we navigate around or through, often in the periphery just so that your little satellite of a body knows where it is in relation to this sentinel. Heino Schmid’s video artwork “North Star” (2007-8), first shown as part of NE4, the Fourth National Exhibition back in 2008, gives us a moment to consider the significance of having the imposing and distinctive structure of the Atlantis hotel as a marker within our landscape.  

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NAGB Donation Drive

Natalie Willis

By Diana Sands. Hurricane Dorian. The name is sure to be remembered as one of the most destructive forces of nature. The devastation left in its wake can weaken the resolve of the strongest of us. We have all seen the pictures and videos on the news and social media platforms. Abaco and Grand Bahama have been affected in ways few, if not there, can truly understand. It is because of this, the staff at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) wanted to help. Our first day back to work after the storm was harrowing. Many team members were unable to contact family and friends who were in Abaco, Grand Bahama, or both. While no one knew what to do initially, there was one common consensus – we wanted to help. The team decided to mobilise and establish a donation drive. As the plan formalised, the NAGB officially partnered with Women United and Equality Bahamas, whose teams would volunteer to accept donations at the NAGB. Once sorted and packed, the donations would be collected by Tropix who would pass on to HeadKnowles for distribution.

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We Live at the Undersides

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. Resilience in the era of climate crisis and finding the fraternity in loss after Hurricane Dorian.  Two years ago, I wrote an article on the impact of Hurricane Irma on the loss of cultural material and the devastation of the landscape, lamenting the single death we sustained here, how we “lost two cultures that day”. I spoke about how many of us, in light of the nature of our dotted, disparate geography, felt the smallest sigh of relief that the more inhabited islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama were not hit, though it did little to soothe the loss of life and property in the Southern Bahamas.  This year, I write about another Category 5 storm. This year I write about such heart-piercing loss of life that it’s hard to contemplate how much material loss there is. This year, I write about what happened to one of those “more inhabited” islands, the island I have called home for most of my life, and how the culture and people I grew up with Grand Bahama are underwater, and Abaco all but washed away.

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Climate Refugees: On becoming climate refugees or building back differently

Natalie Willis

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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Blank Canvas: September 11th, 2019

Holly Bynoe

On tonight’s "Blank Canvas" we invite the Smith family to speak about THE BRENTON STORY. Brenton Smith, was 17-years old in 2009, when he was shot dead by the police while walking on Village Road, apparently mistaken for another youth who had committed a robbery. His family: grandmother Shirley, father Hector and brother Bernard, are committed to maintaining the memory of a bright young man who was first and foremost innocent, as well as loyal, peaceful, loving, kind, and many other attributes.

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