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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

Amos Ferguson Match Me If You Can: Photos of the Event

The NAGB staff and Mixed Media would like to wish our viewers a hearty Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and wonderful New Year! Mixed Media has a new posting schedule as of the 5th January 2012 with new posts appearing just once a week on every Thursday. Also, there will be no posts on Tuesday, 27th December and Thursday, 29th December with our first post of the new year appearing on Thursday, 5th January 2012. We hope that our wonderful visitors and guests will continue to support Mixed Media, the gallery and Bahamian art!

Christmas Hours:
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas will be open on Friday, 23rd and Saturday, 24th December. The gallery is closed on Monday, 26th December but open for the rest of the week with normal operating hours! We are also closed on the 2nd January and resume normally on the 3rd January 2012.

Last week Friday, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas hosted a successful showing of the new film, Amos Ferguson: Match Me If You Can. After the film was a small Q&A session with Amos’ niece, Lorraine Bastian and Director, Karen Arthur. Despite troublesome weather and technical difficulties, the NAGB hosted a successful event with an amazing turnout of over 60 people flocking to see the film! Here are some photos of the event.
Amos’ niece, Lorraine Bastian and Director, Karen Arthur opening the event.

The Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas speaking with Amos' niece.

Guests enjoying discussion and conversation after the film!

Visit the NAGB today, tour the current Happy Birthday To Me: Kendal Hanna Retrospective exhibition, visit our library, our gift shop, the Mixed Media Art Store and eel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

Feature: A Look into the role of the Curatorial Assistant

Curatorial Assistant, Jackson Petit-Homme installing art at the Government House.

Curatorial Assistant, Ashley Knowles assisting with a tour.

At The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, the experience of the Curatorial Assistant is very similar to that of the Curatorial Trainee. This position is specialized in technical hands-on work that varies in duties from curatorial, to making sure that conservation and restoration are up to museum standards.

The role of the Curatorial Assistant is simple in definition; they fulfill the mission of the gallery and work closely with the acting Director and Curator in taking oral directions and executing tasks efficiently and effectively. These tasks include, but are not limited to, the collection of artwork for exhibitions, the National Collection or events, collections management, administrative tasks, preparing legal documents, appraisals and contracts for collection loans and the training of individuals in the proper handling and care of artwork. Curatorial Assistants must also work wherever talents are needed and as a result, talents such as carpentry and the use of mechanical hand power tools are encouraged.

The Curatorial Assistants work very closely with the National Collection in collections management. From the moment a piece enters the grounds at the gallery it must be catalogued into the database, regardless of whether the artwork is a loan, donation, purchase or permanent loan. The first step in accessioning and cataloging artwork is to gather information about the piece. This includes the name, medium, size (framed and unframed), provenance, date and creator of the piece. The piece must then be inspected for any wear and tear, rips, rust, mold, discoloration and dents and a photograph taken. This information, with a little blurb identifying the most important visual qualities of the artwork, are first entered into the database and the piece is then given an accession and object number. An accession number identifies which group the individual piece came in, and an object number is the piece’s individual number and main form of identification in the collection. After the data has been recorded, digital and paper accession files are created for reference purposes and it is finally recorded in a large master list.

Despite these tasks seeming very straightforward, the Curatorial Department must have an extensive knowledge of the collection and artists, as this process often becomes complicated a large number of pieces are to be accessioned in a short period of time, or when information is not present. This is a big problem in collections management, as there is often data missing and this must be researched by looking up newspaper articles, contacting artists if they are alive or closest relatives, if they are not. Sometimes the information cannot be found. After the pieces are safely nestled in the NAGB art storeroom, they must be checked constantly to assess conservation efforts and update data files. Due to this closeness with all artworks that enter the gallery, Curatorial Assistants also interact a great deal with other art galleries, donors and art collectors.

At the gallery, Curatorial Assistants have the opportunity to further their growth and understanding of museum practices by undertaking independent research and endeavors, depending on where interests and talents lie. For instance, if the Curatorial Assistant wishes to do so, they can become integrated into the curatorial process with the curator and learn the ins and outs of curating a quality art exhibition. This opportunity for learning can lead to independent curating prospects in the future for the assistant. Curatorial Assistants and Trainees also have opportunities to improve their writing skills by writing articles for exhibition catalogues and newsletters.

Overall, the role of the Curatorial Assistant is a varied one. By working with the Director, curators, Curatorial Trainees and education staff, assistants are able to grow as they are constantly exposed to other positions, work ethics and experiences everyday.


If you'd like to book a tour with the NAGB, please call 242-328-5800. Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

Enigmatick Funktication: A Painting's Long Journey

This past Tuesday the Curatorial And Education staff had the amazing opportunity to install art in the Government House, just down the road from us. Over the course of 4 hours we installed 5 paintings and rearranged many more. One of the highlights from the day was trying to move Jackson Burnside, Stand Burnside and John Beadle's mammoth piece, Enigmatick Funktication (which is 52.75 inches by 175 inches large!) down West street to Government house. Thankfully, the Curatorial team is made up of very strong members!

We hope you enjoy the photos, feel free to send us a line if you want to see more.
Stan Burnside's Solomon, wrapped and ready to move to Government House on Friday!

Note: A hearty congratulations to Giovanna Swaby, the grand prize winner of our December trivia!

If you'd like to book a tour with the NAGB, please call 242-328-5800. Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

December Trivia

It's that time! Mixed Media will host it's December quiz today. The rules are very similar to November's. The first individual to get all of these questions right will win a special Mixed Media prize, and the first 10 will receive a small token from Mixed Media.

December's quiz pertains to the many activities, programs and events that the NAGB has had within the past 6 to 7 months. All of the answers can be found either on Mixed Media or the official NAGB website.

To submit your answers, please email with your responses, your name, and an email or phone contact. This trivia opportunity expires on 6PM Wednesday. Good luck!

1. Which artist hosted the Teacher’s Workshop on November 12th 2011?

2. Name the 2 films shown in October as part of the NAGB Film Series.

3. What is the name of the upcoming opportunity for artists in January at the NAGB?

4. What is the name of the film that discusses art as a form of therapy, shown as a part of the NAGB film series?

5. Which month did the NAGB start their t-shirt and book drive?

6. When was the Transforming Spaces 2012 meeting held at the NAGB?

7. Name the organization and artist that the NAGB held a Mural Painting workshop with in August 2011.

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Also "like" our Facebook page to get the latest updates and information!
NAGB Facebook Page.

Feature: NAGB Mural Projects

Inside the Administrative Building of the NAGB are some not so hidden gems. Standing at an imposing and statuesque height in middle of the building are a series of four murals by prominent Bahamian artists. Each artist was given license to let the large canvases speak to them and do as they please. As a result, the NAGB hosts four very different murals, reflecting each artists particular style and concept. Below are short videos based on these murals, click on the links to see the artists at work!

Allan Wallace:

Steven Burrows:

AJ Watson:

Daniel Coleby:

The Administrative Building is open to our guests and visitors. It also hosts a selection of large pieces by Stan Burnside, Jackson Burnside, John Beadle, Kishan Munroe and Maxwell Taylor. Feel free to drop on by to view the artwork or talk with the Curatorial or Education staff! Feel free to send Mixed Media a comment or email (, we look forward to hearing from you!


Feature from the National Collection: Emancipation Day Boat Cruise

Emancipation Day Boat Cruise
Acrylic on Canvas
71in. x 53in.
Collection of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

The sight of colorful faces, the rock of the music, and the sway of the boat with a boisterous, energetic crowd are all felt in John Beadle’s Emancipation Day Boat Cruise. Viewing this piece is an experience in and of itself. The analogous colors of reds, oranges and yellows are aptly applied across the canvas. The painting also includes elements of drawing, collage and quilting.

The grids, where sectioned off with the taping method, allow for separate compositions intensifying the expressions on the faces shown. In the spaces where the tape was removed, Beadle super-imposes images, allowing them to flow into one cohesive piece. The slashes of black across the piece, simulating a sail blowing in the wind, helps one to feel the movement of the boat and carries the viewer’s eyes to the gyrating couple in the center. The added texture of layered canvas also implies the use of a sail. The geometric shapes and patterns remind the viewer of the Junkanoo culture of the Bahamas and a feeling of celebration.

In naming the piece emancipation day, which is a holiday, the sentiment of being free from work/school is synonymous with freedom from slavery and is reiterated in this piece. Though the faces are colored with exciting colors and mask-like designs, some faces are lined with anxiety, apprehension and sadness, which remind us of that exact day that slaves were emancipated.

John Beadle’s appreciation of from whence he came, his Afro-Caribbean heritage is recognized in his style and Emancipation Day Boat Cruise reflects this precisely.

Visit the NAGB today and see Beadle’s “Emancipation Day Boat Cruise” for yourself. Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!


In The Ring with Bahamian Artist Toby Lunn: Truth Revealed Part 2

Today's post is our full interview with Bahamian artist, Toby Lunn! Instead of choosing a few questions to answer, one of our lovely visitors kindly requested that we display footage for all of the questions. We hope you enjoy the interview. The questions from the interview are displayed below the video for your viewing pleasure.

1. Did you always wanted to be an artist?
2. What inspired your work?
3. What is your medium of choice? Why?
4. Least favorite and why?
5. Is there a connection between religion and your work?
6. Lifestyle versus profession?
7. When did you know you were an artist? You’re arrival?
8. What is an artist?
9. What would you do if were not creating art?
10. Favorite color? Any?
11. Technique styles, what is your process?
12. Do you think you can ruin a painting? What do you do when it happens?
13. If you could display your artwork anywhere, where would it be? Include location and art institution.
14. How important is classical training to an artist in your opinion?
15. Right- brain versus left-brain? What does this mean? Which are you, right, left or in the middle?
16. You are inspired by the Burnside brothers, Max Taylor and of course Kendal Hanna. What inspiration do you draw from these artists?


Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

In the Ring with Bahamian Artist Toby Lunn: Truth Revealed Part I

Choose the questions you want to have Toby Lunn answer. Select the number of the questions and place them in the comment box below. Entries will be accepted until Monday, November 28th at 4pm. On Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, the answers will be provided.

1. Did you always wanted to be an artist?

2. What inspired your work?

3. What is your medium of choice? Why?

4. Least favorite and why?

5. Is there a connection between religion and your work?

6. Lifestyle versus profession?

7. When did you know you were an artist? You’re arrival?

8. What is an artist?

9. What would you do if were not creating art?

10. Favorite color? Any?

11. Technique styles, what is your process?

12. Do you think you can ruin a painting? What do you do when it happens?

13. If you could display your artwork anywhere, where would it be? Include location and art institution.

14. How important is classical training to an artist in your opinion?

15. Right- brain versus left-brain? What does this mean? Which are you, right, left or in the middle?

16. You are inspired by the Burnside brothers, Max Taylor and of course Kendal Hanna. What inspiration do you draw from these artists?

Visually Inclined: The Architecture of the NAGB

For today's post we decided to give our viewers a break from all the reading they have done over the past 2 months. Instead, we are sharing 3 videos made in 2004 featuring past NAGB staff members and the former director, Dr. Erica James.

These videos detail the advent of the NAGB and the creative processes and struggles that its founding members dealt with when constructing the building.

If you'd like to see more videos from the NAGB, subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here.
The direct url for those who want it is,

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

Feature from the National Collection: Burnside Crowns a King

Oil on Canvas
72in. x 72in.
Collection of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

If a visitor to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas were to wander into the office, which is found on the second floor, and take a turn to the left, one of the first things one would see is a larger than life painting of a gentlemen gazing back at the viewer with a contemplative and peaceful expression on his face. This is Stanley Burnside’s feature piece, “Solomon”.

The viewer might ask, why is he wearing a crown? What’s with the colorful leaves to the upper right of the canvas? Why is the sea only on the right of the gentleman’s shoulder? And the purple to the left, what’s that about? To answer these questions two men of importance need to be briefly mentioned.

The first is the late Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey, also knows as Tony Mackey and known to most Bahamians as the musical performer, Exuma: The Obeah Man. Born in Cat Island, Mackey wrote and sang prolific songs about Bahamian culture that continues to resonate with visitors and Bahamians today.

The second man is King Solomon, credited as the wisest and richest and most powerful king in the Bible.

The dots begin to connect as the viewer gradually sees Mackey through Burnside’s eyes. Burnside creates a bold commemorative piece of art that recognizes Mackey’s memory and status as a leader at what he did. Mackey’s face is given life with the vivid use of color. The yellows and browns seem to reflect the very light of the sun. The artist chose the color purple to fill the space to the left of Mackey’s face, undoubtedly a reference to the esteem Burnside feels Mackey deserves.

The croton leaves, a native plant grown in The Bahamas, are placed to the upper right of the canvas. It would not be too far removed to say that this alludes to the vibrancy of Mackey’s culture and his deep roots in The Bahamas. Behind Mackey’s right shoulder Burnside placed a view of the sea, another clear symbol of Mackey’s Caribbean roots. The viewer shouldn’t ignore the crown that sits snugly over Mackey’s locks, this is Burnside’s assertion of Mackey’s wisdom and kingly status in Bahamian history.

We sympathize with the viewer who pauses expectantly in front of the image waiting on Mackey to burst into song. The peaceful gaze itself readies the viewer for a calm, wise word that only a king could give. Perhaps you’ll have a different experience all together, but there is only one way to find out.


Visit the NAGB today and see Burnside’s “Solomon” for yourself. Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

Review: Two Workshops, One Day, Two Stars!

This past Saturday the NAGB was a busy and bustling place! From 10 AM to 4 PM the Education department hosted a very successful teachers workshop, complete with an in depth tour of the gallery grounds, a hands-on abstract workshop with Toby Lunn, exhibition tour, finally ended with a round table discussion on strengthening the relationship between the NAGB and teachers. From 10 AM to 1 PM the Curatorial department hosted an abstract painting workshop with Toby Lunn and we were even fortunate enough to have Kendal Hanna himself come and interact with workshop members.

Preparing for the In The Likeness workshop with the Curatorial and Education teams!

In The Likeness: NAGB 2011 Teachers Workshop

In The Likeness: Workshop with Toby Lunn.

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Remember to subscribe to our blog to get the latest information on news and activities at the NAGB.

The All-Star Amateur Artists Night: Flyer, Rules and Application Form

Calling All Amateur Artists! The NAGB announces the launch of a new NAGB art initiative designed to encourage and engage amateur artists in The Bahamas: The All-Star Amateur Artists Night! If you are an amateur, non-professional artist, submit your work and possibly get the opportunity to be featured in a museum level exhibition at the NAGB. Pass the word!

Below is the Promotional Flyer, Rules of Entry and Application Form. If there are any problems, please call the NAGB at 328-5800 or email us at

Promotional Flyer OR

Rules of Entry:
The All-Star Amateur Artist Night: Rules of Entry OR

The All-Star Amateur Artist Night: Rules of Entry

Application Form:
The All-Star Amateur Artist Night: Application Form OR

The All-Star Amateur Artist Night: Application Form

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Also "like" our Facebook page to get the latest updates and information!
NAGB Facebook Page

Feature: A Look into the role of the Curatorial Trainee

Curatorial Trainee, Averia Wright speaking at the beginning of My Kid Could Paint That.

Curatorial Trainee, Nastassia Pratt hard at work preparing for an event.

At the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, the job of the curatorial trainee begins with the preparation and execution of an exhibition; however, this is not where it ends.

From the moment a curator has an idea or plan for an exhibition, the job of the curatorial trainee is set into motion. Alongside the curatorial assistant(s), the trainee(s) begin to hunt and gather. Vital information about artists and collectors are recorded and later contacted. The next step involves transporting pieces from collector’s homes and institutions, then photographing artwork to be placed in gallery storage. The photographs are little snippets of the art that allows the curator to peruse, and file away the art in their mind for framing ideas and final placement in the gallery space. Identifying mediums, measurements, artists, dates and collections for labeling is another task that has to be meticulously fulfilled for the exhibition and/or catalogue.

The de-installation of an exhibition takes place in the middle of the preparations for the next exhibition and requires paperwork for artwork being returned to collectors and artists. Art that belong in the NAGB collection are placed in storage. The handling of the artwork is dependent on the curatorial team and is carefully and swiftly implemented to have the pieces back in their owner’s possession. Any plans for the present exhibitions are followed through at this point. When the hanging, placement of artwork and lighting for each space is completed, the opening for the exhibition is held. Setting up is executed by the curatorial staff, and specific needs such as whether a mike, stage, podium, seating and/or lighting are all taken into consideration. Opening night is a grand occasion that presents the exhibition to the community at large.

Trainees take daily walkthroughs through the gallery to ensure pieces have not shifted, that the gallery is clean, the temperatures are comfortable and that the gallery is properly lit. Another exciting part of the curatorial trainee position is carrying patrons and visitors on tours of the exhibition. Leading the audience though the exhibition allows the tour guide to portray the message that the curator had in mind. The response from the viewers takes the tour to another level of appreciation and conversation about the artist and artwork.

As curatorial trainees, assisting other positions in the gallery such as public programming, research and gallery promotions allows for a smooth operation. The education officer arranges educational events and the curatorial team gives input on the organization and help to bring the event to fruition. The gallery is also reserved for private events and the trainees makes provisions for these events, whether opening up the gallery or, allowing guests to feel welcome. Also finding ways to promote membership and the gallery itself is constantly on trainee’s minds.

Curatorial trainees are perched into the world of the curator and are taught the complete functioning of the gallery, in hopes to further their role in the future.


Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Also "like" our Facebook page to get the latest updates and information!
NAGB Facebook Page

Villa Doyle

The Villa Doyle.

One day the Curatorial Team was digging through an old filing cabinet of loose papers, folders, fliers and binders. After digging through the heap for some time, nestled sweetly at the bottom of the pile was this vintage photo of the Villa Doyle (the original name of the building that the NAGB currently resides in) sometime in the 20th century.

This is not a photo of the original Villa Doyle, though the first half of the building encompasses the original structure of the building. The building in the photo, this large and beautiful structure, was taken after the building had been expanded upon by the owners, making it what it is today.

We hope you enjoyed this informative little tid-bit on the history of the NAGB!

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we welcome feedback and critique, we look forward to hearing from you!

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Also "like" our Facebook page to get the latest updates and information!
NAGB Facebook Page

November Trivia

Once a month Mixed Media would like to give our viewers a chance to interact with us with a small trivia game! There can only be one grand prize winner, the first person to respond to us will receive the grand prize from the National Art Gallery and the first 10 correct responses will receive a small token from the gallery.

Either comment on this post (leaving your contact information as well) or email Mixed Media at with your responses from the quiz! Remember, the first to answer all questions correctly will receive the prize.

Mixed Media November Trivia:
What is the title of the present exhibition?

Who curated the present exhibition?

What’s the name of the gallery store?

Who is the librarian at the NAGB?

What is the name of the original building the NAGB currently resides in?

When did construction of the original building commence?

Which artist created the Crawfish Woman sculpture found on the southern side of the building?

Thanks for participating and we hope to hear from you!

Update: CONGRATULATIONS to Erin Knowles, our grand prize winner! We're still have 10 small tokens to give away!

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you! Also "like" our Facebook page to get the latest updates and information!
NAGB Facebook Page

NAGB Film Highlight: Pollock

Pollock. Dir. Ed Harris. Per. Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Amy Madigan, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly Jefferey Tambor. Sony, 2000.

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas decided to feature the particular film, Pollock, in that Jackson Pollock’s technique and style heavily influenced Kendal Hanna’s works. By understanding Pollock’s theory and reasoning, viewers can have a greater appreciation of Kendal Hanna and his work.

Pollock begins with Pollock, (played by Oscar nominated actor Ed Harris), signing a Life magazine where he is featured. A crowd of people surrounds him and the look draped across Pollock’s face gives the impression that this moment of fame is all too overwhelming. Flash back to 1941; he is living with his brother in a small apartment in New York. Occasionally exhibiting at galleries in group shows, Pollock eventually meets his future wife, Lee Crasner (played by Marica Gay Harden). Pollock is introduced to Peggy Guggenheim (played by May Madigan) who he impresses with his artwork and she in return organizes Pollock’s first major show on October 16th, 1942. As his art career takes off, he encounters a host of important figures in the art world such as Clement Greenberg, a major art critic and famous American painters such as Willem DeKooning, Franz Kline and Helen Frankenthaler. Throughout Pollock’s life, he struggles with alcoholism and displays an increasingly destructive and explosive personality. Casner later asks Pollock to marry her, and subsequently assists Pollock by propelling his career forward. Realizing Pollock’s art and well-being is at stake, Crasner moves him to the Hamptons. Whilst residing in the Hamptons, Pollock works incessantly, creating amazing works that he was not able to do. His breakthrough was fast approaching as Pollock accidentally discovers his now famous splatter and drip style. Unfortunately, this critical acclaim only spun Pollock further out of control. During this period, Pollock began a love affair, drank incessantly and produced less work. When Pollock managed to produce a piece it was not very well received. In the end, Pollock along with two other female passengers, Edith Metzger and Ruth Kligman (his mistress) were in a one-car collision. Ruth Kligman was the only survivor (Nicoli 2000).

In 1949, Life Magazine posed a question “Jackson Pollock: Is he the greatest living painter in the United States )?” (White 2011). From this feature, America's first "Art Star" was born. Later, Pollock is credited as one of the most influential figures in the abstract expressionist movement. During his time, however, Pollock was called everything from a degenerate to pure inspired genius, a debate that still continues to this very day (Pollock 2000). Regardless, there is no doubt Pollock’s affect on modern art will not soon be forgotten.

Ed Harris (Pollock) wears a number of hats as producer, writer and ultimately director of this film. Ed Harris is excellent as Pollock and his direction is light, intentional and character motivated. The film does not feel episodic unlike a lot of other film biographies. Each scene moves and transitions well into the next. Harris resists the temptation to allow the art to drive the film emotionally instead the characters are the focus and the work is second nature but very present. The film also shows restraint in psychologically analyzing the artist, a decision that would have tarnished the film, overshadowing the important relationships he shared with the people around him. Marcia Gay Harden does an excellent job as Crasner. Sympathetic, patient and forceful are just a few words to describe Harden’s character. Crasner truly believed in Pollock despite his destructive behavior. One of the most powerful scenes from the film is when Pollock suggests they have a baby. Crasner rejects the notion, subsequently enraging Pollock. This causes Crasner to respond with, “I will not bring another life into that... We are painters Jackson!” (Pollock 2000).

Pollock philosophized a great deal about his work and process, “A method of painting is the natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them"(Falkenbury and Namuth 1951). The film paints an empathetic image of an artist who simply wanted to create original work without criticism. Pollock's experience is an emotional one. The photography is wonderfully rendered like that of a Rembrandt painting. Appropriately so, as Pollock was somewhat influenced by the artist. In the end, the film is about the artist at work, not the artist waiting for inspiration but his ability to do his work regardless. He did not wait for some external force but worked from within. Pollock is tragic but not depressing. This is what all biographies about artists should aspire to be. Triumphant, brave, honest and truthful; Pollock delivers.


Works Cited
Jackson Pollock 51. Dir. Paul Falkenberg and Hans Namuth. Youtube. 1 Dec. 1951. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. .
Nicoli, Lara. "Pollock." Film Festivals. Web. 23 Oct. 2000. .
Pollock. Dir. Ed Harris. Prod. Ed Harris. Perf. Ed Harris. Sony, 2000. DVD.
White, Anthony. "Jackson Pollock – Before Blue Poles." National Gallery of Australia. The National Gallery of Australia. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. .

This film is available at the NAGB Art Library.

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

Feature from the National Collection: Crawfish Woman

Crawfish Woman
Portland Cement over Rebar Frame
Unknown Dimensions
Collection of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

As one walks into the gates of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB), they are confronted by a large and beautiful building, reminiscent of traditional colonial architecture. The grounds surrounding the NAGB building are lush with many statues. If one peeks around the southern corner of the building, however, tucked neatly in the middle of an island of grass is the concrete Crawfish Woman.

Created by Bahamian intuitive artist, Wellington Bridgewater, Crawfish Woman came to the NAGB with two other pieces by Bridgewater, Serpent Woman and Angel with Trumpet. Born in 1948, Bridgewater is known as one of the few true Bahamian intuitive artists, as he is completely self-taught. A jack-of-all-trades, Bridgewater added painting and sculpture to his extensive repertoire in the early 1990s. Easily recognizable, Bridgewater is known for his distinctive style that encompasses strong, vivid colors in his paintings, biblical themes and large concrete sculptures. Bridgewater has pieces in the National Collection of The Bahamas at the NAGB and many private and corporate collections.

Made of Portland cement over a rebar frame, Crawfish Woman is a captivating sculpture that has many interpretations. Due to its large size, the sculpture is in itself very personable, almost imposing, as viewers are able to go close to the sculpture, feel its earthy texture and interact with it from their own eye-level. The sculpture’s concrete medium gives it a rough and natural texture, making this Crawfish Woman seem so much more alive than she actually is. Her spindly legs are all too real, as if they could come over and scrape the viewer at any moment. The strength of Crawfish Woman, however, lies in Bridgewater’s skillful rendition of this hybrid woman, one both human and crawfish, holding a child, not so delicately in her arms. The child itself is terrifying, an unrecognizable species that is thrashing in her arms, one can almost hear it scream if they spend enough time with the piece.

Conversely for some, Crawfish Woman is less a piece of terror and mystery but a sculpture that brings forth softer perspectives. For some, the texture of the piece is not rough or scrape-like but rather a form of natural softness, a sort of caress. The child in her arms may not be screaming, but fidgeting in an ordinary childlike manner. For others, the piece may symbolically transform and represent a moment of divine tenderness, a snapshot in time between a doting mother and her child.

All of these aspects, the size, texture and style of the piece add to its magnificence. Symbolically, however, viewers are left to ponder the origins of Crawfish Woman. Is she a Bahamian rendition of the biblical Madonna and Child? Is she some sort of creation myth, a fusion of Bahamian folktales and strong spiritual conviction? Or is this a form of folktale art, a visual depiction of our Bahamian past and beliefs?

At the end of the day, Crawfish Woman is a subtly powerful piece with many possible visual interpretations and symbolic meanings. Perspectives on this piece are entirely dependent on the histories and past experiences of the viewer. So come to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and experience for yourself the beauty of Crawfish Woman and let us know your perspectives on this piece.


Works Cited
Artist Biographies. Wellington Bridgewater. The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.
This biography and other artist biographies are available at the NAGB Art Library.

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

New: In Gallery Guides for the Kendal Hanna Exhibition

There are some new additions to the Kendal Hanna exhibition!

Recently added is a section entitled, Artists Comparisons. These additions highlight and acknowledge some of the international influences that inspired Hanna. Artists range from Jackson Pollock, Williem de Kooning, Joan Miró, Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko.

Come to the gallery and see these new informative additions and draw your own conclusions on whether or not you think these specific artist influenced Hanna.

One of the new Artist Comparison guides in the gallery: Hans Hoffman's The Gate and Kendal Hanna's Pink Patchwork.

The Gate, Hans Hoffman
Oil on Canvas
75in. x 48.5in.
1959- 1960
Collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Image courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Pink Patchwork, Kendal Hanna
Acrylic on Canvas
30in. x 24 in.
Collection of The D'Aguilar Art Foundation

NAGB Art Library Highlight: the WomanSpeak Journal Vol. 5

Tucked away in The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ Art Library, WomanSpeak Journal Vol. 5, is a collection of works by fifteen Caribbean writers and artists. Edited by Lynn Sweeting, WomanSpeak is the result of Sweeting sifting through the finest examples of art and literature by emerging and scholarly women writers in the Caribbean. Stretching across the literary arts, this journal offers something for everyone; poetry, fiction, play writing, myth and lore and for the visually inclined, visual arts.

Instead of finding poems about the sun, sand and sea, universal symbols of the ‘Caribbean lifestyle’, one experiences unexpected immersion into very personal and poignant moments in time.

There are times of laughter and curious smiles, and then there are moments that promise to be unsettling. Will parallels to your own life be drawn as you read Angelique Nixon’s Never Again? The words “Now, I feel myself (me) being a woman” (Nixon 23) will echo long after the last page is turned while Opal Palmer Adisa’s Empowerment (Adisa 15) stirs reminiscing about the innocence of childhood:
my daughter…
she wants to know
why the sea and the sky
are blue
I tell her they
are wombs that nurture
her life
she hands me another gift
for the wall
and I inscribe on the top
of her world
this is a nuclear free zone (Adisa 16)
Juxtaposed against this innocence Rhonda Claridge’s Puta (Claridge 41) brings the reader back to the immediacy of being a 21st century Cuban woman.

In its entirety, the WomanSpeak Journal Vol. 5 is a compilation of voices that manages to blend into a cohesive stream of consciousness. The individuality of each artist pushes through without being noisy or overpowering. This journal is in fact empowering. A moving and thoughtfully edited collection, this journal speaks to the young and the young at heart. An insightful and enjoyable read, the WomanSpeak Journal Vol. 5 would be a worthy addition to any art enthusiast’s library.


Works Cited
Sweeting, Lynn, ed. The WomanSpeak Journal. Vol. 5. Nassau: WomanSpeak, 2010. Print.
This book is available at the NAGB Art Library and available for purchase at the Mixed Media Gallery Store.

Feel free to send us a comment or email, we look forward to hearing from you!

NAGB Announces New Director & Staff Appointments

Earlier this year, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas began a comprehensive and transparent search, locally and worldwide, to fill a number of positions including Director, Assistant Educational Officer, Curatorial Assistant and Curatorial Trainees. The Board of the NAGB and the Gallery itself worked in consultation with the arts community throughout the entire process. With this talented selection of persons, the Board is confident that the process has been a sound one and that it has resulted in the best persons being chosen for each position.

After an extensive search, the Board of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas announces the appointment of Director Amanda Dana Coulson to succeed Dr. Erica M. James, who managed the National Art Gallery since its establishment seven years ago.

Amanda Coulson- Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Amanda Coulson, a Bahamian citizen, earned her Master’s Degree in Art and Architecture from New York University’s prestigious institute of Fine Arts and went on to become an internationally-renowned art critic and curator, while supporting Bahamian artists on the international platform.

Dr. James is a strong supporter of Coulson who she worked with in 2006 on the international exhibition Funky Nassau – Recovering an Identity. The exhibition was staged at both the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and the celebrated Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Germany, where it garnered great international press for the nine Bahamian artists: John Beadle, Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Lillian Blades, John Cox, Blue Curry, Michael Patrick Edwards, Antonius Roberts, Heino Schmid and Clive Stuart.

Coulson maintained close contact with many of the artists and helped further their careers with advice and insights in navigating the complex world of contemporary art. “I’m really touched at how many friends and colleagues have supported this appointment. It underscores the warmth and richness of our community that I’ve missed for so long,” Coulson comments.

Having co-founded contemporary art fairs with her German husband in both Basel, Switzerland and New York, Coulson wished to bring her expertise in arts administration, curating and critical writing back to her native soil. “Like many Bahamians who went abroad to complete their studies, connections are made that take one further away from home, professionally or personally. I secured a great job in New York and then married a German art dealer. While I found myself in a network that was extremely rewarding, it was disengaged from my homeland. So I was particularly thrilled when this opportunity arose for myself and my family.”

Coulson has promoted artists from other Caribbean nations like Che Lovelace (Trinidad), Enoc Perez (Puerto Rico) and Zac Ové (Trinidad), as well as African artists like Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa) and Meschac Gaba (Benin), increasing their presence on the international art platform. “There are many art scenes that are unfairly marginalized due to their remoteness from the global art hubs. I hope to use my network of 20 years of arts management, to further the reach of Bahamian artists by bringing our national achievements to an international stage, and to garner more international focus on the islands themselves, encouraging visits by art lovers and curators to see the richness of our cultural scene.”

Additional appointees are:

Jordia Benjamin- Assistant Education Officer

Jordia Benjamin was born in Nassau, The Bahamas, attended Aquinas College and graduated from High School in Kissimmee, Florida. She attended Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida pursuing and completing the Associate of Arts Degree in Studio Arts. She transferred to the University of South Florida, in Tampa where she graduated with honors and received dual degrees, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Studio (concentration in Painting) and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. While a student at USF, she furthered her studies abroad by enrolling in the University’s summer programmes in Paris, France and the United Kingdom. As an undergraduate, Miss Benjamin received numerous awards and grants including ‘Exceptional Talent Grant, CVPA Diversity Enhancement Grant, Transfer Student Achievement Scholarship, USF Art Department Talent Grant and USF College of the Arts Study Abroad Grant.

Her work has been exhibited in several Tampa galleries: The Centre Gallery, Flight 19, Traditional and Digital Arts Gallery, The International Boba House and William and Nancy Oliver Gallery. She received Honorable Mention in “Cityscape,” the University of South Florida Study Abroad International Photo Competition and was co-curator of “Je veux l’art” Fall 2008 Paris Study Abroad Exhibition at the USF Centre Gallery, Tampa, FL. Miss Benjamin has worked in several museums including the Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, Florida and the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, Florida. She is a member of two honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key International Honor Society. She is the daughter of Crispin and Juieth Benjamin.

As Assistant Educational Officer, Miss Benjamin will assist with the development and supervision of education programmes for children, adults and artists; develop and execute community and island outreach programmes; along with assist with the development of educational materials for exhibitions as a part of educational product development.

Ashley Knowles- Curatorial Assistant

Ashley Knowles was born in Nassau, New Providence where she first developed an interest in art. After graduating from Bishop Michael Eldon School in Freeport, Grand Bahama, she received the Bahamas United World College full scholarship to attend Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for 2 years to complete her International Baccalaureate. Upon completion of her baccalaureate degree, Ashley Knowles received a scholarship to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts where she completed her Bachelors of Arts in May 2011 in Anthropology and a concentration degree in Museum Studies. Whilst attending Smith College, she also completed a thesis in Museum Studies on the role of relevancy in the Bahamian history museum. In the summer of 2011, Ashley Knowles successfully completed a certificate programme in Art Museum Studies at the Summer Institute of Art Museum Studies (SIAMS) where she was published and was 1 of 5 curators for the certificate exhibition entitled, Surface Tension: Reconsidering Water as Subject.

Ashley Knowles has had the good fortune of working at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC where she researched and curated an online digital exhibition entitled, "An Attempt At Noise: The Presence of Junkanoo in The Bahamas" and the Smithsonian 1994 Folklife Festival. Ashley Knowles has also interned at the National Museum of The Bahamas, The Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation where she researched and conducted interviews on Grand Bahamian history and assisted with the completion of a mini exhibition on the history of Grand Bahama.

As Curatorial Assistant, Miss Knowles will assist the director and curators with the research, development, design, installation and implementation of exhibitions, maintain and manage the National Collection and exhibition galleries. She will also act as liaison between curatorial staff and the general public, supervise use of the National Collection and perform routine condition reports on the galleries and National Collection with curators.

Nastassia Pratt- Curatorial Trainee

Nastassia Pratt was born in Nassau, Bahamas. Her interest in art began during her high school studies at St. John's College, particularly in 2003 during the RBC Finco Summer Art Workshop when she was introduced to watercolor painting. This subsequently led to her studies in design at The College of The Bahamas' Associate's Degree in Architecture. She then continued studies in architecture at Ryerson University in 2005 where her interest in model-making began. An ongoing exploration of these avenues of creating has led her to her present position as a Curatorial Trainee at the NAGB.

As Curatorial Trainee, Miss Pratt will support the work of the curatorial staff and focus on professional museum practices training. Miss Pratt will assist with exhibition development and maintenance, collections management, research, public programming, merchandising and gallery promotion.

Averia Wright- Curatorial Trainee

Averia Wright was born in Nassau, The Bahamas and graduated from St. John's College. She is a ceramicist/sculptor who graduated from the College of The Bahamas with an Associates Degree in Fine Art. She transferred to the University of Tampa where she studied under Bahamian sculptor Kendra Frorup and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art with a concentration in ceramics. She was employed at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Nassau and participated in a two-man show, alongside Toby Lunn, in Transforming Spaces 2010 in the exhibit "Earth to Flight". Her work can be found in the collections of Dawn Davies, the D'Aguilar Art Foundation and Jackson and Pam Burnside.

As Curatorial Trainee, Miss Wright will support the work of the curatorial staff and focus on professional museum practices training. Miss Wright will assist with exhibition development and maintenance, collections management, research, public programming, merchandising and gallery promotion.