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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

Filtering by Tag: Exhibitions

Roach on my bread.


There was yet another illustration of ownership in Jodi Minnis’ exhibition, “It’s a Bahamian Thing!” Perhaps the objectification of women by men, the social construct of women being seen as inferior and limited to that 19th century concept of being chattel or property, has become clear. On Thursday, January 14, at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery, Jodi Minnis opened her the exhibition and unveiled a compelling, if not disturbing, social commentary on the state of national ‘sweethearting’.

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Guanahani—An Unspeakable Land


The Bahamas, from European sensibilities, conjures 007 dreams of exotic beaches and cocktails. It appears to be the epitome of a tropical paradise, however the reality is more complex. The past; pirates, colonial times and slave trade, are elements implicit to contemporary Bahamian culture and they still resonate in the collective psyche. Look deeper and there is another raw and painful history.

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R. Brent Malone: Reincarnation opens this month at the NAGB


In a blitz of color, a year-long development will blossom at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) this month. On Saturday, October 24, the NAGB will celebrate the opening of R. Brent Malone: “Reincarnation” – a retrospective exhibition featuring more than 200 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptural pieces by legendary Bahamian artist Brent Malone.

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‘Cul-De-Sac’ by Dave Smith is NAGB’s Artwork of The Month


We start most of our tours at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) downstairs, in the space showcasing our permanent exhibition, Bahamian Domestic. A show centered on portraying everyday life in The Bahamas, Bahamian Domestic includes visual representations of the places Bahamians live, work and play. It also takes a deeper look at some of the social issues that The Bahamas still grapples with today. For locals and international visitors, it serves as a comprehensive overview of works by some of the country’s younger and more established artists.

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Art of the month: ‘Enigmatick Funktification’


It’d be rather difficult to explore our Bahamian Domestic Permanent Exhibition without noticing “Enigmatick Funktification” – an energetic work occupying more than 48 square feet of wall. The acrylic painting is the product of a collaborative approach, known as “Jammin’”, by John Beadle, the late Jackson Burnside and Stan Burnside.

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Art of the month: ‘Enigmatick Funktification’

It’d be rather difficult to explore our Bahamian Domestic Permanent Exhibition without noticing “Enigmatick Funktification” – an energetic work occupying more than 48 square feet of wall. The acrylic painting is the product of a collaborative approach, known as “Jammin’”, by John Beadle, the late Jackson Burnside and Stan Burnside.

Though it could easily take days to thoroughly examine the work, visitors can find clues pointing to the painting’s Junkanoo roots in a single glance. “Enigmatick Funktification” – a mélange of vibrant colours, figures in costumes and musical instruments – is reminiscent of Bay Street in the early morning hours of Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. This is when Junkanoo, a biennial street parade and the country’s most revered festival, takes place. There is good reason for the tradition’s presence in the painting.

Discovering their affinity for Junkanoo in the late 70s and early 80s, Jackson and Stan Burnside were leading members of the Saxons Junkanoo group for years before leaving to help found the One Family group. It’s no surprise, then, that Junkanoo is heavily represented in their works.

Jammin’ – a term coined by the Burnside brothers – originated in Junkanoo shacks. It refers to the process of as many as six Junkanooers working on a single piece simultaneously. Inspired by the approach, the duo embraced the Jammin’ methodology in their studios, creating works together.

Founding B-C.A.U.S.E. (Bahamian Creative Artists United for Serious Expression) in the early 1990s, the Burnside brothers expanded the Jammin’ circle and invited Beadle, Brent Malone, Antonius Roberts and Max Taylor to collaborate on a body of work. They later invited then-recent COB graduate John Beadle to join what is now referred to as the “Burnside-Beadle-Burnside” collaboration.

Between 1995 and 1996, the trio produced a series of works of which “Enigmatick Funktification” was a part. The collection traveled to Atlanta, Georgia in 1996, where it amazed visitors at the Olympic Games. “Enigmatick Funktification” has since made the rounds and returned home, where it rests comfortably in our permanent collection. Stop by and see it Tuesday to Saturday between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday between 12 noon and 4 p.m.

Art of the Month: Shanty Town Tea Service

On my way to work, I noticed that a familiar town had been demolished. Boards and other forms of structure that once housed a community lay broken on the ground.

I’ve always known that the town enclosed by trees and bushes was there, but when it was exposed, the size and difference of the town was a shock. I was looking at another way of living, another standard of living; how certain groups of people lived.

July 2nd, 2014, Tracy-Ann Perpall, also known as TAP, released a documentary on YouTube called Bwapen: Village Documentary. This documentary gave insight on the burning of a ‘shanty town’ village off of Joe Farrington Road and the Haitian-Bahamian situation in the Bahamas. Perpall’s investigation into this tragedy unearthed tensions between Bahamian landowners and ‘shanty town’ residents, the true conditions of said ‘shanty towns’, and ended by questioning the public. “Does real change occur with dismantling Bwapen, or is it just a band-aid attempting to cover the symptoms of underlying problem” – Tracy Ann Perpall.

Over the past year and a half, the government has been working to effectively address and act upon the issue of growing shantytowns within New Providence. Over the past year and a half, the island has experienced a mass exposure of those towns, several fires of buildings in the towns, and demolition and plans of demolition for some areas. These issues of immigration and the living standards of some immigrants and poor Bahamians in the Bahamas have not popped up over night.

In 2011, Jeffrey Meris, a graduate of the College of the Bahamas and a Popop Junior Prize Winner, constructed Shanty Town Tea Service, which is on display in the Bahamian Domestic exhibition. As a Haitian-Bahamian, Meris comments on the Haitian-Bahamian situation and the view of said people through the manipulation of clay. The class of a tea service is not often compared or associated with standard of shantytowns. Contradictory in some senses, some may say. The standards of shanty towns deemed as “environments that incubate horrible, horrible health challenges,” by Duane Miller does not compare with the dainty, polished China set utilized during tea parties.

In 2011, Jeffrey Meris was concluding his studies at the College of the Bahamas. He commented on the social structure of shantytowns within the Bahamas. In 2014, Tracy-Ann Perpall exposed the social structure of a forgotten shantytown in her documentary. At the later part of 2014, the relevance of the conversation still prevails. During the late part of 2014, on my way to work, I noticed that a familiar town had been demolished.

Shanty Town Tea Service
Jeffrey Meris
Dawn Davies Collection

Written by NAGB Gallery Assistant, Jodi Minnis for the Art of the Month.

Feature from the Exhibition: Rootsy

Jackson Petit
Acrylic on canvas
 48 x 32
D'Aguilar Art Foundation Collection

Rootsy is currently on display at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, as part of the Permanent Exhibition: The Bahamian Domestic. Originally on display as part of his solo exhibition, The Surface Beneath, Petit produced this piece after winning the 2012 Central Bank competition.

In this piece Petit explores the notion of masking oneself, be it personally or for a wider audience, as the individual in the painting stares at the audience with vacant eyes. Crowned in local foliage, Petite purposely chooses to integrate the Bahamian landscape into his work. This creates connections between artist, artwork and viewer, as the natural motifs provide a familiar point of reference. This common ground culturally integrates the work within a wider dialogue of 'Bahamian art'. Further, it situates the individual in the painting within a natural and cultural landscape, and poses the question: who is he masking himself from? As a Haitian-Bahamian artist, Petit actively integrates his personality and history into his work. Rootsy is thus, a form of self-portraiture, exploring the artist's own identity as it relates to his person, but also his history and culture.

As a central piece in The Bahamian Domestic, Rootsy is a particularly strong choice as it directly relates to the exhibition's exploration of Bahamian social and cultural identity. Remaining masked, the piece explores notions of 'Bahamianess' and what, as a nation, we choose to show and choose to hide. This focus on depth, on seeing beyond simple everyday existence, encourages viewers to look below the surface, deeper even. Coupled with the other pieces in The Bahamian Domestic, Rootsy is part of a larger call to notice one's physical, social and cultural landscape and one's place in it.

The Bahamian Domestic is on display on the bottom floor at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. The Gallery is open from 10AM to 4PM, Tuesday to Saturday and 12PM to 4PM, Sunday.


The Bahamian Domestic is on display on the bottom floor at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. The Gallery is open from 10AM to 4PM, Tuesday to Saturday and 12PM to 4PM, Sunday.

Biography of the Artist:
Jackson Petit (born 1983, Nassau, The Bahamas) was educated at The College of The Bahamas and Toronto Film College, Toronto Canada. From 1998 to 2004 he was a participant in the FINCO Summer Art Workshops and has taken part in numerous group exhibitions. He won The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art competition six times in various categories and received top honors in the CLiCO Caribbean Art Competition in 2003.

Further Reading:
The Bahamian Artwork Collection: Jackson Petit
Jackson Petit 'Removing The Mask'

Behind-the-Scenes: The John Beadle Project and Artists of The Bahamas

Have you ever thought about the work that goes on behind an exhibition opening? The artists must produce the work, yes, but how does it get mounted for display? Paintings, sculptures and installations don’t just fix themselves into place, or align themselves just so to encourage you to think about certain concepts or consider the relationship between one issue and another. That’s where the work of curators and curatorial assistants come in.

For the last few weeks, the spaces at the Gallery have been a whirlwind of activity as staff prepared for the (rare) opening of two shows at once, The John Beadle Project and Master Artists of The Bahamas. On the evening of Thursday, April 25th, the exhibitions were unveiled to a packed house. If you weren’t able to attend the opening, you must come sometime soon to view the artists’ fabulous work! In the meantime, take a look at the pictures below to get a behind-the-scenes look at NAGB staff in action: measuring, drilling, sanding, mounting and consulting – just some of the work that goes into producing an exhibition.

Coming to Terms with the Inside World, John Cox, waiting to be stretched

-Gabrielle Misiewicz

Feature From The Exhibition: Northeast Gallery 2

Jodi Minnis

The triptych by Susan Moir Mackay, Anthropology 2012: Human, System, Object breaks the reality of human life into these three specific categories. It examines the relationship between people, their social networks and the apparatus of everyday routines. Mackay’s work offers a means of location and charting the diversity of society through a kind of modern excavation that reveals the symbols of collection preoccupations that ultimately obstructs us from a much meaningful existence.

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Feature From The Exhibition: The Pathways


Jace McKinney’s work visually echoes the Biblical narrative of the Hebrews being delivered by God from the hands of the Egyptians where they sang a song of praise that became known as “The Song of Moses”. Mckinney’s choir is constructed from plaster molds made from the heads of young children from a grass-roots community and subsequently turned into 21 makeshift lamps. McKinney’s work acts as a metaphor for the innate divinity of the culture of youth and a call for us to elevate ourselves from our collective cynicism.

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Feature From The Exhibition: Northeast Gallery


This gallery delves into the sub-theme of balance, which in matter of Kingdom Come itself is tied to spirituality; be it societal, individual or the lack thereof. Finding Balance, Tyrone Ferguson’s aluminum sculpture distinctly focuses on this theme. The balancing of a white disc and a black disc shows the constant point of equilibrium that we all try to find in our lives on a daily basis, and seeing that the figure is on a tight rope this stability is reiterated with other things that may be occurring in the world/society, that we walk the tight rope in hopes to survive.

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NE6: Our Visitors Respond

Inside the Ballroom, located in the front of NE6: Kingdom Come, visitors are encouraged to participate in the exhibition by answering a series of questions. In these questions we ask viewers, Who Is Their Greatest Hero Of Fiction? And What Is Your Motto?

Each of these questions are important as NE6 artists were asked to respond to the same. In participating, visitors actively engage with the show and become part of a much larger discourse.

The NAGB is open from 10 to 4PM Monday to Saturday and 12 to 4PM on Sundays. NE6: Kingdom Come will be on display till April 7th, 2012.