Permanent Exhibition: The Bahamian Landscape

By Ashley Knowles

With the opening of Amos Ferguson: Bahamian Outsider, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas ushered in another exhibition, The Bahamian Landscape. Located in the Permanent Exhibition section of the gallery on the first floor, this exhibition seeks to present a comprehensive look into Bahamian Art and the National Collection.

The visitor’s journey through The Bahamian Landscape can start from two areas. If one enters through the main entrance of the gallery, they are immediately entrenched in a historical retelling of the Bahamian physical and cultural landscape. Large colourful landscapes dominate the gallery space, all competing for the visitor’s visual attention. Depicting a variety of scenes, these pieces attempt to define and understand how Bahamians and visitors understand the Bahamian environment. Artists such as Rolfe Harris, Dorman Stubbs, Jacob F. Coonley, Brent Malone and Maxwell Taylor are only a few of the 20+ artists represented in this space.

As the visitor progresses through the space, they are taken to a different section of the exhibition where notions of self and “Bahamianism” are explored. Visitors are struck by the vivid stares from the portraits on the right wall that seem to follow as you go along. The other wall contains emotional pieces rich with symbolism and abstraction by artists such as Jolyon Benjamin, John Beadle and Kendal Hanna.

If one enters The Bahamian Landscape through the stairs within the Gallery, they are experiencing a very different part of the exhibition. The first thing they see is the domineering wooden sculpture by artist, Antonius Roberts. To the left is the Intuitive room, and to the right is the Contemporary part of the show. Each room offers a unique cross-section of Bahamian Art, yet, juxtaposed together explore the historical with the new and the trained artist versus the untrained.

All in all, The Bahamian Landscape brings forth a wide cross-section of Bahamian art to the table. Foreign visitors and Bahamians alike, will delight in the wide range of artists represented, boasting at least 10 women artists, and pieces spanning over 100 years of art.

The Bahamian Landscape is part of the new Permanent Exhibition section, on display till October 2012. For further information on this exhibition and the artwork displayed in it, please call 328.5800/1.