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West and West Hill Streets
Nassau, N.P.
The Bahamas

(242) 328-5800

Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

A partnership taking flight

Most folks old enough to remember the former Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) terminal agree that the upgraded facility is a massive improvement both aesthetically and where functionality is concerned.
And while few would argue that the airport’s large-scale renovation continues to make a positive impact on the enjoyment of its users, many hail the hub’s smaller details for giving it a finer and more creative touch.
A collaboration between the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, local artists and Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) has been partly responsible for this.

In 2011, the NAGB took on the responsibility of filling the new airport wing with local art and crafts, complementing the many vendors offering travelers tasteful gifts to take away with them. Perhaps, en route to the immigration and customs halls, travelers may have noticed a succession of display cases filled with paintings, sketches and ceramic works. Those paying closer attention might have taken a look at the labels identifying the works and their creators – all Bahamian artists and artisans. The hope is that the project will benefit both the individual artists, who receive a stipend as well as international exposure, and anyone interested in the country’s arts and culture community.
According to Jan Knowles, NAD vice president of marketing and communications, LPIA hosted over 3 million travelers between July 2014 and July 2015.

The project offers potential artists the opportunity to display their work to this wide audience of travelers,” she explained. “We want to see artists succeed in a tangible way. As such we have created special spaces to not only display art but we also give particular attention to profiling the artist.”
Every six months to a year, NAGB curatorial staff exchange the works in the showcases for fresh pieces. The recently updated spaces now feature works by ceramicists Rhojai Burrows, Celeste Harding and Spurgeonique Morley. All of the women are in the early stages of their professional development and are currently studying art at the College of The Bahamas. Each of the emerging artists was offered four cases to display their pieces in the international U.S. departure terminal and in the transitory corridors for international arrivals.

Burrows decided to study art in her last year of high school, in 2012; she has since been using her work to discuss themes related to the environment and conservation. Her pieces are influenced by local surroundings.
“I use the form and textures in nature to enhance and bring a sculptural aspect to simple forms,” she explained.
Harding hails from Long Island, Bahamas and takes inspiration from the ordinary. The series of works presented at LPIA is nature-themed and heavily based on the healthy marine life found throughout The Bahamas. The works include an extensive aquatic series of over 100 “sea urchins” and marine flora.
“Not only is the marine life naturally bright in pigment, but the textures blow you away… It is my goal to show this to the world, not in one way, but many, with no restrictions,” said the artist.
Morley’s studies are in art education and ceramics. Her work was recently featured at PopopStudios in the 2015 Transforming Spaces art tour. She demonstrates a continuation of her focus on the feminine figure with her “Mechanical Woman” piece and “Jus’ Cause She Phat” series; visitors may also catch a glimpse of more functional pieces, like her “Deep Blue Sea” tea set.
Bynoe believes the NAGB and NAD partnership offers “an opportunity to engage with a platform that is often unconsidered”

“If you visit any bustling international airportNYC, Miami or Torontoyou will see a big part of their décor and how they think about the space is often in tandem with cultural work and public art commissions,” she said
This connection with local production and authenticity is what drove NAD to invest more than $2 million in permanent art fixtures at LPIA.
“We want Bahamians to continue to have a sense of pride and ownership in LPIA. This airport belongs to the people of The Bahamas. Through our partnership with the NAGB, we hope to display a wide range of art from across our archipelago that Bahamians can identify with, take pride in and enjoy,” said Knowles.

            For more information on the NAGB/NAD partnership or to find out more about purchasing artwork from Burrows, Harding or Morley, contact the NAGB at 328-5800.