By Holly Bynoe
In preparation for The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ ninth National Exhibition (NE9) set to open on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 the deadline for the Call For Works will be extended by one week, ending on Sunday, August 26th, given several recent developments which positively impact the call and its mission.
We are thrilled to reveal the jury for the NE9– “The Fruit and the Seed”–which includes Mr Derek Rolle, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas; Mr. John Cox, Former Chief Curator at NAGB and current Artistic Director at The Current Studios at Baha Mar; and Mr. Allan P. Wallace, local artist and instigator. Joining them will be NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe.
Cox enthusiastically shares, “It is my pleasure and honor to selected to participate on this year’s jury for the NE9. Beyond this it is my passion and obligation to humbly give back to the local institutional creative communities which have given me the tools to continually build platforms for dialogue, expression, resistance and growth all of which the NAGB embodies at its core.” Wallace, prominent creative and instigator of public works “still vividly remembers being part of the inaugural show (1NE) back in 2003 and is very excited to see the magic to come.”
Derek Rolle’s passion towards the creative community doesn’t only shine through in the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ annual competitions, he shares that, “to have been chosen to be part of NE9 continues to solidify my belief in and appreciation for the advancement of art and culture in The Bahamas. NE9 and NAGB are paramount to the cause, and strongly underpin the philosophy behind the country’s commitment to advancement in this area.”
This year, given the scope and nature of the call we are excited to welcome Los Angeles based curator Naima J. Keith, who is committed to producing timely exhibitions, advocating for artists and institutions, thinking critically, and developing ideas that are central to our time. Through Keith’s work with the Hammer Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and now the California African American Museum, she has come to understand that institutions can evolve to engage more broadly with the multiple, often competing histories that make us who we are, and this is very apt given our very recent history.
Joining her will be Diana Nawi, the former associate curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Before her move to become an independent curator, Nawi organised shows with work by John Dunkley, Nari Ward, Haroon Mirza, and John Akomfrah, to name just a few. Keith and Nawi were recently named joint curators of Prospect.5, the next edition of the New Orleans Triennial, which is scheduled to open in fall of 2020. Prospect. 3 held in 2014 titled “Notes from Now” and P4 in 2017, “A Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” supported the works of Bahamian artists Tavares Strachan and Lavar Munroe respectively and has been an important platform for bringing international attention to Bahamian artists.
The NAGB hopes that the exposure and integrated approach of the NE9 will give a further boost to the exhibiton, bringing even more global attention to our local artists, and that other points of view can come to the fore and contextualise practices in significant ways. Looking at a wholistic jury who are actively working to shape and shift their cultural and social spaces is critical in a global context, but truly necessary locally. As postcolonial thinkers, makers, tinkerers and institutions–sustaining ourselves through the circulation of minds and eyes that can add to our already dynamic cultural expressions, can provide critical feedback and momentum for artists who are ready for that push.
Also, the NAGB is also happy to collaborate with The Current at Baha Mar affording one artist, an artist-in-residence position for two months to create works for “The Fruit and The Seed.” The partnership hinges on the idea of community engagement and how best to ensure and grow social ties by connecting back to one of the NE9 prompts answering the question of how we encourage colleagues and peers in this creative ecology.
The candidate will be chosen by the jury and based on how the residency will be able to supplement his or her work along with the intentionality of the proposed project. By building these bridges and weaving a tapestry of support, we can further work to ensure that a healthy ecology and investment in our artists continue to be at the forefront of the NAGB’s mission.
The residency will start in mid-September once the selected artists for the NE9 have been announced and will include a material stipend and the opportunity to work along with a dynamic group of arts professionals and resident artists at The Current. Environment and the social conditions of our space are often seen as the backdrop to the development of work, and this collaboration will directly tie into allowing for more in-depth study and engagement with these stimuli and measures.
The NAGB and its partners are looking forward to receiving and reviewing your powerful proposals for the “The Fruit and The Seed.”