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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

The NAGB a collection site for hurricane relief supplies

Katrina Cartwright

In an effort to assist our brothers and sisters who have been affected by this devastating hurricane, the NAGB—together with Women United and Equality Bahamas—is accepting non-perishable items to distribute to those in need in Abaco and Grand Bahama. Tropix will assist with shipping and pass onto Head-Knowles for coordinating.

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NAGB closes for the passage of Hurricane Dorian

Natalie Willis

The NAGB will be closed on Saturday, August 31st and Sunday, September 1st in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. Regular gallery opening hours will resume on Tuesday, September 3rd with safe passage of the storm.

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We would like to wish our public safe passage through the tempest. The NAGB sends all the prayers, rituals, good wishes, and good juju out to everyone as we all make our preparations for Hurricane Dorian across The Bahamas. We are also breathing a sigh of relief for our fellow Caribbean cousins for making it through.

What does a museum look like in the age of Climate Crisis?

Very often these discussions are centred on the experiences and opinions of Western powerhouses with their big histories. But what of us? Of smaller institutions who don’t have 50 years to consider? What of those of us in shallow waters rising who are enduring increasingly more apocalyptic hurricane seasons and damage without chance of proper recovery?

Stay safe bredren, sistren, and all in between. Let’s hope for a good hurricane season and be prepared for all worst case scenarios.

With love
From TEAM NINJA

From the Collection:  John Paul Saddleton’s “West Hill Hidden Garden”

Natalie Willis

The Daily Escape

By Diana Sands. When the new Permanent Collection Exhibition opened on August 5th, 2019 at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, I was immediately drawn to John Paul Saddleton’s West Hill Hidden Garden painting. Something about it spoke to me in a profound way. As a result, I found myself going back to see it many times since (often when I should have been working). The contrast of the darker hues of the shade against the bright airy light of day in the background continues to tug at my imagination. In truth, it has become a bit like a seductive loadstone.

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Let’s talk about it: Spoken word artist and rapper And1Dunna’s ‘SLAPS!’ cultivates a ‘summer mood’

Natalie Willis

Kevanté A.C. Cash, NAGB Correspondent. Upon first glance, And1Dunna, the Nassauvian poet, may appear to be overly confident. He moves with an indescribable yet magnetic force attached to him like glue, but once you get a bit closer in proximity, you discover he is just your average, down-to-earth wordsmith who opts to pair his poetry over rhythm from time to time. Andrew Gomez, professionally known as And1Dunna, has decided that now is the time for his audience to experience him in the fullness of his rapper persona. Releasing “SLAPS!,” his first mixtape and second musical body of work this past June, allows him to do just that.

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From the Collection: “The Deanery” (1979) by Alton Lowe

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis

The work of Alton Lowe, a realist painter born in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, has an easy appeal for many Bahamians. From landscapes and flora, architecture, to imaginings of Lucayans and Loyalists, his practice gives a sense of joy in his skill of rendering as much as his interest in history - and as a post-World War II baby, it makes sense, given the global conversations around how these events should never be repeated. His interests in preserving the past, that go far beyond his painting interpretations, inspired his founding of the Albert Lowe Museum in Green Turtle Cay, sharing the history and culture of the community he grew up in. He is also responsible for this Nassau-based blast-from-the-past with “The Deanery” painted in 1979.  

Part of the new Permanent Exhibition, “TimeLines: 1950-2007” curated by NAGB Assistant Curator Richardo Barrett, “The Deanery” (1979) gives us a good opportunity to speak about just that - some of the threads and weavings and timelines that lead to the production of this work.

“The Deanery” (1979), Alton Lowe, oil on masonite, 20 x 26 inches. Part of your National Collection.

“The Deanery” (1979), Alton Lowe, oil on masonite, 20 x 26 inches. Part of your National Collection.

This particular piece was part of a larger gift of RBC FINCO to the National Collection upon the establishment of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. FINCO notably hosted art workshops for high-schoolers for years, which helped to nurture some of the more prominent artists in The Bahamas today. Through a series of commissions, the first giving interpretations and documentation of Nassau’s Historical Buildings in 1979, and the second with scenes from Grants Town in 1984. Alongside the likes of Rolfe Harris, Brent Malone, and Eddie Minnis, to name a few, Lowe was among the first commissioned by the bank to produce these scenes of Nassau, capturing and preserving old architecture through their own renderings and imaginings.

Though the Deanery is estimated to have been built around 1710, the three-story stone core building, with its latticed upper verandah, looks to be frozen in time in Lowe’s depiction save for one key detail - a Ford Pinto parked alongside the sidewalk on Cumberland Street. This time period is made all the more palpable in the works’ juxtaposition to the Sanford Sawyer photograph, a young man, afro aloft on a head held high, arms folded confidently behind his iconic “It’s Better In The Bahamas” shirt. The 1700s meets the 1970s, and ideas around preservation of history in reference to national pride and independence collapse into one work.

“The Deanery” (1979) by Alton Lowe displayed as part of the new Permanent Exhibition “TimeLines: 1950-2007” curated by Richardo Barrett.

“The Deanery” (1979) by Alton Lowe displayed as part of the new Permanent Exhibition “TimeLines: 1950-2007” curated by Richardo Barrett.

It can be difficult dealing with these architectural relics of the past, considering how many buildings were constructed by way of forced labour extraction of Black hands and lives. The sentiments of “tear them all down!” and “history is history” run discordantly alongside each other. But remembering that our collective ancestors put their work into these buildings, by force or not, it may also be a disservice to not remember and honour the struggle in that work.  

Works such as “The Deanery” (1979) give us both past and imagined-future Bahamas as a nation going through its reconfiguring post-independence. To know how we stand as an independent nation is also to consider how we deal with our difficult histories, how we recontextualise them when we have agency and power over the storytelling. Lowe’s work gives us a moment of pause to consider how far we have, or haven’t come, how we are dealing with our history and how we are sweeping it under itchy carpets to deal with in the proverbial “later”.  

To view works like this and more in your National Collection, visit the NAGB to see “TimeLines: 1950-2007” which will be on view through June 2020.

Epistemic and Cultural Violence: Powercutting as Light

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. “It is time, finally, to cease being what we are not.” (Quijano). Anibal Quijano (31 May, 2019) and Toni Morrison (5 August, 2019) - two great thinkers have gone. Nicolette Bethel’s 1990 play, Powercut, produced and performed at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, shows what happens in the dark.  Nowadays, lights drop into darkness at least once a day for hours at a time.  The violence of structures invisible to the naked colonised eye is only ever gossiped about.  We are afraid to cease being what we are not, we do not know how to be who we are.  It is the culture of violence and silence revealed through ‘discussions’ around tourism and prostitution, two interlocked economies of pleasure. The Victorian Bahamas avoids discussing these things in the same breath, yet the exoticisation and tropicalisation of space and place speaks to a reality of total erasure of self for what we are not, to pick up on Quijano’s statement.  In “The Visual Life Of Social Affliction,” the upcoming Small Axe Project exhibition which opens at the NAGB on Thursday, August 22nd, we see what we are taught/made not to see; we see the violence of not seeing who we are and the trauma of being held in bondage through invisible structures.  Powercut reveals a lot of the invisible structures, as do the works of recently departed thinkers Anibal Quijano and Toni Morrison. 

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Summer Camp ends on a festive note: MMASC Exhibition and Awards Ceremony held at the NAGB

Natalie Willis

By Katrina Cartwright. On the evening of Thursday, August 1st, 2019 the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas welcomed over 250 individuals to the exhibition opening reception and awards ceremony for its annual Mixed Media Art Summer Camp (MMASC). Attendees were comprised of MMASC campers and camp counsellors, their families and friends, NAGB supporters and staff who all came out to support our young budding creatives who spent 2-4 weeks during the month of July working hard to create one-of-kind artworks that spoke to the camp’s theme “Parading through the Caribbean.” Although the weather was determined to put a damper on the celebration of a major accomplishment for the campers, it could not quell their excitement and joy and the pride of their supporters. Patient parents and friends squeezed into the hot and humid confines of the NAGB’s upper veranda and clapped loudly when awards were distributed and short performances by campers and counsellors were done. 

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The Visual Life Of Social Affliction: Structures of Violence in the Caribbean

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. There is a creole saying, “nou led, nou la” which translates to  “we’re ugly, we’re here,” that is rich in culturally nuanced meaning and shows a serious persistence and insistence on showing up, being here, being present as has been evident in Haiti with the recent riots to protest the Petrocaribe corruption. Structural violence is rife and regionwide. At least we are here, even if we may be ugly.  In Bahamian artist Blue Curry’s The New Riviera (2014), we are not even here. This erasure of us from the scene is yet another form of unperceived structural violence, as we can also see in Curry’s Nassau From Above (2010). The deep silence of being silenced is ominous, and as we do as we are told, we are cradled into death, rocked into oblivion.   

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From the Collection: “Poor Man’s Orchid” (1989) by Sue Bennett-Williams

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis. a portal into the practice of a dedicated educator. The 19th Century marked a period in Britain known as Orchidelirium. Not entirely unlike the Dutch tulip fever, this flower-frenzy was a mad scramble for the exotic, elusive orchid. They became connotative as a symbol of wealth, prestige and knowledge, of the affluence required to secure these items from far-off lands. Sue Bennett Williams’ “Poor Man’s Orchid” (1989) is no such thing and no less beautiful.

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Call For Proposals: Templeton Religion Trust

Natalie Willis

Now Accepting Submissions: Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) is a global charitable trust chartered in 1984 by Sir John Templeton with headquarters in Nassau, The Bahamas, where Sir John lived until his death in 2008. TRT, active since 2012, supports projects and the dissemination of results from projects seeking to enrich the conversation about religion. In this initial round, TRT anticipates offering approximately 12 grants — including project grants and experimental pilot or proof-of-concept grants — of up to US$200,000 (or equivalent) for projects lasting 12–18 months (beginning July 2020). Successful grantees from this round may then be invited to submit follow-up proposals for 36-month projects up to US$1,000,000 (or equivalent).

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Doongalik Studios Exhibition Opening: "Love & Fear" featuring work by Dyah Neilson

Natalie Willis

Doongalik Studios Art Gallery will open an exhibition featuring Bahamian artist Dyah Neilson on Thursday, August 15th, 2019 from 6-9pm. Her debut solo show, Love & Fear will feature mostly paintings depicting the battle with anxiety and depression, as well as the love for self that is found in learning to accept mental and emotional struggle and the fight to overcome it. 

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Finding Our Voices: Resisting Violence and Oppression

Natalie Willis

By Dr Ian Bethell Bennett, The University of The Bahamas. "I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." - Hamlet, II.ii. Is it a bad dream, a nightmare provoking somnambulance? We all think the best of green gentrification because we have been taught, in spite of the climate sceptics, we need to do something to improve our resilience.  We are also told by the media that while people know about climate change and the havoc it plays in their neighbourhoods, jobs are more important because many of us are one paycheque away from poverty. 

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From the Collection: Jolyon Smith’s “Transformation” (1987) and imagining Black Bahamian futures

Natalie Willis

By Natalie Willis.  Jolyon Smith’s Transformation (1987) is one of the first works collected for the National Collection at the NAGB, shown in the Inaugural National Exhibition or the INE. To have a work that appears so afrofuturist in its aesthetic speaks volumes for the genre and also for the nascent years of the NAGB in thinking what a National Collection could and should look like. What does a Black future look like, and a Bahamian one at that? 

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Blank Canvas: July 31st, 2019, Women's Wednesdays

Holly Bynoe

On tonight’s "Blank Canvas," we shine a spotlight on “Women’s Wednesdays,” an initiative initiated by Equality Bahamas and is supported by the NAGB. The event has been hosted once per month on our campus for nearly two years. “Women's Wednesdays” was founded as a response to community members' requests for a space to access resources, experts, and practitioners, share knowledge, and engage in conversation with one another.

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NAGB Announces Departure of Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe

Holly Bynoe

Diana Lynn Sands

August 1st, 2019

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) –a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets historic and contemporary Bahamian visual art— announces the departure of the Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe. The NAGB has worked closely with Ms Bynoe on several projects before her formal hiring in 2015. This cooperative partnership will surely continue, for the benefit of the institution and Bahamian artists. 

Bynoe speaks to the public at Double Dutch #7 “Hot Water” opening in August 2018. Image courtesy of Jackson Petit and the NAGB.

Bynoe speaks to the public at Double Dutch #7 “Hot Water” opening in August 2018. Image courtesy of Jackson Petit and the NAGB.

 Bynoe states, “The last years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my life. The position at the NAGB has allowed me to do important work in shaping its teenage years. I do not doubt that this work will continue as the institution builds upon its mission and vision well into the future. I would like to thank the Board of the NAGB and the wider artistic community for the tremendous opportunity provided. It allowed us to build a space of generosity and ideas, to foster true cultural and artistic integration. I am fortunate to have had the time, encouragement and support to successfully occupy this position. In truth, the region is lucky to have the NAGB as a forward-thinking institution. I look forward to working with this accrued knowledge to inform my future creative endeavours, as I settle into life in the Southern Caribbean at the end of the year.” 

During Ms Bynoe’s time at the NAGB, she included Bahamian artists in residencies, conferences, and exhibitions throughout the region and internationally. She has presented a broad range of over 50 exhibitions at home during her four-year tenure. These exhibitions have all highlighted Bahamian output and always delivered on the institution’s mandate to educate, uplift and inspire. Ms Bynoe also oversaw the growth and development of the Curatorial Department and trained young Bahamians in the field. The team was encouraged to research and curate exhibitions of their own. As a result, they are now ready to follow in her footsteps. In 2020, the NAGB has agreed to host Tilting Axis, a one of a kind, roving international visual art conference co-founded by Ms Bynoe.

NAGB Executive Director Amanda Coulson states, “While we are all saddened to lose such an integral member of the team, we see this as another opportunity for The Bahamas. We now have a champion, whose heart will always be tied to our islands, out in the greater world. Ms Bynoe is sure to continue to represent and find even more opportunities for us and our artists. The younger team members, who were fortunate enough to work and learn closely from her, now have the expertise to continue to grow our institution. Such a profound relationship that has grown between us over the years will mature and expand as we remain in close contact. We plan to collaborate and continue to find new ways to grow the reach of the Bahamian art world.”

NAGB Closed for Maintenance through Thursday, August 1st.

Holly Bynoe

The NAGB will be CLOSED for maintenance this week, reopening on Thursday, August 1st, 2019. The downstairs galleries will reopen with the new rehanging of the Permanent Exhibition "Timelines: 1973 - 2007" and the new Project Space Exhibition showcasing work from the Mixed Media Art Summer Camp!

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Thank you for bearing with us in this changeover as we continue to give you more great exhibitions! If you need to contact us, call us at (242) 328-5800 or email us at info@nagb.org.bs