By Keisha Oliver
The University of The Bahamas
As part of the last weekend’s Transforming Spaces (TS) 2018 tour, University of The Bahamas (UB) transformed the Hillside House gallery and courtyard into a cultural hub rooted in celebrating and reimagining Bahamian traditions through creativity. UB faculty, staff, students and alumni came together to showcase the music, visual, culinary and literary arts under the theme ‘Historic Nassau’ from March 16 to 18th.
Over the years Transforming Spaces has been committed to supporting and engaging UB art students through volunteerism and exhibition opportunities. This year UB’s participation stems from its interest to cultivate an interdisciplinary shared culture. Curated by UB Assistant Professor and Visual Arts Programme Coordinator Keisha Oliver the event was designed to identify the institution as a community dedicated to honouring the accomplishments and talents of its students, staff, faculty and alumni.
The three-day event offered an engaging and interactive program of live art, literary and musical performances, educational experiences, creative workshops, and exhibitions. It was a memorable moment for the institution, as it highlighted all creative disciplines under it’s UB umbrella in the heart of Downtown Nassau.
The event’s educational component offered several creative workshops and panel discussions lead by faculty, students, alumni and community partners. On Friday, 16th, Shift The Culture (STC) hosted a 'creative entrepreneur' panel discussion hosted by Travis Miller of STC with panelists Steven Cartwright (Bahamas Revisited), Michael Sands, (Vida Cayo), Justin Cancino, (Loan Dilly), Paige Hanna (Hands For Hunger), and Teneile Simmons (BTC Business). The event attracted all fibers of The Bahamas' creative industry and provided a platform for networking and professional development.
On Saturday, 17th, iCreate Music’s founder Gregory Collie ll hosted a ‘music panel’ discussion featuring a panel of contemporary Bahamian artists and producers including Jay Isaacs, Frederick Seymour, and Antoine ‘Mega242’ Thompson who shared tips on their success, critiqued music by upcoming artists, and discussed the challenges of being a creative in the music industry.
The programming culminated on Sunday, 18th, with a focus on culinary and literary arts including a ‘community read’ hosted by The Blue Flamingo Literary Festival team, a ‘conch salad competition’ with winner Justice Higgs (UB freshman), and a ‘poetry night’ hosted by UB’s Tingum Collective.
The focal point of the ‘historic nassau’ experience was its three art exhibitions. The student exhibition, ‘Foresight’ is a collection of new works that offers contemporary responses to their ideas on memorable moments in our country’s history. The UB alumni, staff, and faculty exhibition, ‘This is Remembering’ focuses on the art form as documentation. By celebrating the social and cultural narrative of the places, people and objects that define our historical visual culture they evoke memory and patriotism. Through portraiture, landscape and craftsmanshipm the artists celebrate themes of Caribbean identity, child’s play, folklore and abstract emotion.
Thirdly, ‘Of The Same’, the core of the ‘historic nassau’ theme was birthed out of a desire to use the celebration of Bahamian tradition as a means to foster generational relationships and dialogue within the art community. As a prelude to the 2018 Transforming Spaces writers and artists were selected to be apart of a project that focused on community and collaboration in print. The Tingum Collective worked with writers and to produce a collection of poems that reimagine history and confront social dilemmas. During this time a ‘Master Print-Making workshop was lead by Maxwell Taylor that included UB staff, faculty, students who produced linocut prints alongside Bahamian artists Antonius Roberts and John Beadle.
The visual art and literary exhibitions included works by over thirty artists including:
Pavel Eric Bailey
Staff/Faculty (Present and Former):
Nowé Harris Smith
Angelika Wallace Whitfield
The exhibitions will be on display at Hillside until Saturday, April 7th. For more information contact UB Visual Arts Department (Keisha.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hillside House (email@example.com)
All Photography by Tariq Cartwright