By Katrina Cartwright
The opening of the NAGB’s “NE9: The Fruit and The Seed” was so dynamic, well supported and memorable, we invited the participating artists to share their experiences and thoughts on that evening and also on this National Exhibition (NE) in general. Here are the amazing, generous responses we received from several of these incredibly talented individuals!
“The pieces were powerful and dynamic and the crowd was animated and generally receptive. The vibe was awesome. I can't wait for the catalogue!” –Jalan Harris
“A gargantuan catalyst for change told through the lens of some of The Bahamas’s most creative minds. I’m honored to be included in the conversation. The curation was pointed and I enjoyed seeing my peers’ working through similar issues as me.” – April Bey
“The opening night of NE9 was filled with much energy and fanfare. The work was contemporary and invigorating and begged to be seen during a quieter moment, inviting reflection and self-exploration. I look forward to my second walk through to thoroughly engage in this year’s offerings.” – Edrin Symonette
“I thought that the opening was very well attended, and enjoyed talking with the many artists who were present, getting to know more about them and their work. This is a well put together show, one to come back to over and over again...such interesting, energetic works, and such a positive vibe! Everyone there seemed very engaged.
Thank you all who put this together: NAGB’s Team Ninja, the chief curator Holly Bynoe and
executive director Amanda Coulson.”- Alex Timchula
“I was pleasantly surprised by how well attended the opening was! Not only that there was a large turnout, but that there was a very diverse crowd. It was so refreshing to see so many young people turn out and engage with the work so fearlessly. I had so many wonderful and inspired conversations with people of all ages about the ways the work resonated with them. It was very refreshing for the work to be interpreted from the perspective of someone native to the islands and to be able to engage conversation about that subjectivity within conversations about some of the more global, overarching issues present in the work.
“I was overwhelmed by both the amount of people that turned up and by the positive energy everyone - the visitors, the NAGB team, and the other artists - gave off. The NAGB staff were super supportive and welcoming to me as an artist displaying for the first time. Overall a fun cultural event that felt like a safe space to truly express oneself.”- Tiffany Smith
“The opening night of the NE9 was nothing short of magical. Being able to share the work, fellowship with friends and celebrate with family added to the already amazing privilege of being included in the exhibition. I am grateful for all of the conversations about the work and I look forward to seeing what manifests out of all of that creative energy.” – Jodi Minnis
“NE9: The Fruit and The Seed was magic through and through! There were so many beautiful, diverse, vibrant, creative, unique, profound, thought provoking pieces to be seen, felt and taken in. Each piece is a body of literature on its own, creating dialogues layered in different levels of awareness. No one piece tells the same story twice.
I am immensely grateful for being part of such an historic exhibition in more ways than one. As artists, we have emerged from the deep with our creations to create a new and never before seen kind of cultural renaissance and colonial resistance and I give thanks to NAGB for creating a space for us to sow and till our most profound ideas, allowing them to grow and ripen into a much-needed diverse cultural fruit garden.” – Princess Abdiel
“Although my work has been included in past national exhibitions, this was the first opening I was able to attend. It was inspiring to witness first-hand the vast and diverse creative voices present within our community. My experience renewed my desire to remain grounded and in proximity to my roots.” – Anina Major
“As a first time NE9 artist I found the energy of opening night intoxicating! The scope of talent was something to behold; I’ll definitely visit the NE9 a few times before it closes next year.”- Danny Davis
“I’m very humbled to be a part of this show. The ideas behind the NE9 really spoke to me, making me think about my work in a global context and how I can contribute to the conversation.”- Saskia D’Aguilar
Thank you to all of the artists who answered the open call and worked diligently to produce work that has created an avenue for important, relevant conversations to be had and have given us a taste of what the future holds for contemporary art in The Bahamas.