Culture

NAGB celebrates Central Bank of The Bahamas

May 22, 2015

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas NAGB has seen the ending of another prominent show - The Seventh National Exhibition, Antillean: an Ecology. A success by most measures, the exhibition provoked discussions about race, class, economy, privilege and gender from students at the primary level to senior generations. It transcended cultural and societal barriers to get people thinking about the intangible, but longstanding, barriers hindering the country's unity and progression.
Now the NAGB looks forward to opening its upcoming temporary exhibition, Celebrating 40 Years of The Central Bank: A Pillar of Arts Commitment.
Celebrating 40 Years of The Central Bank: A Pillar of Arts Commitment will highlight the role Central Bank of The Bahamas has played in developing the country's visual arts community since its founding. Organizers intend the show to commemorate Central Bank's commitment to serving as a reservoir of wealth in both financial and cultural spheres. The exhibition will showcase over 80 works by 72 artists featured in Central Bank's extensive art collection. Curated by NAGB Director Amanda Coulson, the show opens on June 2.

History
Central Bank of The Bahamas was established in 1974, and under the governance of T. Baswell Donaldson, it began investing in artwork to adorn its headquarters downtown.
By the bank's 10th anniversary in 1984, it already held a reasonable collection, with works by the early pioneers of Bahamian art, like Eddie Minnis, R. Brent Malone and Max Taylor. The bank's governor during those years, Sir William Allen, is remembered as a prominent supporter of the visual arts in The Bahamas. Under his leadership, Villa Doyle was purchased as the grounds for the future National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. He noted, during his term in office, that though many Bahamians were acquiring symbols of wealth during the economic boom, art was not included in the schema of markers of success the way that cars and clothing were; many Bahamian artists were still struggling.
With hopes of offering a continuous display of artwork to the public, the bank repurposed its reception area on Market Street and Trinity Place into a gallery space.
Establishing two annual competitions for high school students and artists under 26, respectively, Central Bank hoped to encourage young Bahamians to pursue art while adding to its collection simultaneously. Contest winners would receive cash prizes and have their work join the Central Bank collection.
The contests and gallery brought attention to art creation and collection and made a public statement about the importance of visual art in community.In 1984, noted artist Antonius Roberts was announced as the first Central Bank curator - a position he held for 10 years. It was his job to oversee the competition and exhibition space. Through his and his successors' work, the names and work of hundreds, if not thousands, of developing Bahamian artists came to public attention. Roberts has since returned to serve as the bank's curator.

Legacy
Today, the Central Bank high school and open category competitions continue to inspire the development of groundbreaking artists.
The talents of Jace McKinney, whose remarkable "Where is He Going, Where Has He Been" piece won the 2012 Central Bank Open Category Competition and now stands in the NAGB's permanent exhibition; it continues to wow gallery visitors on a regular basis.
Another young Bahamian who has benefited from the bank's commitment to fine art collection and promotion is Central Bank Assistant Curator Jodi Minnis. A young artist herself, Minnis works alongside Roberts as the Central Bank curatorial assistant. She is also known for her work with the NAGB as the gallery's assistant.
Jackson Petit is a third example of an artist linked to both the NAGB and Central Bank. The painter has worked in the NAGB's curatorial and digital media departments for 10 years. He jumpstarted his creative career early on with his "Nature Intertwined" piece, which won the bank's high school competition in 2001. In 2011, he won the bank's open competition with his "Beautiful Monsters" work. Both pieces will be featured in the upcoming exhibition at the NAGB.
Lavar Munroe, whose pieces are currently on display at the renowned Venice Biennale, also got his foot in the door with "My Love, My Passion, My Art" - a youthful experimentation that won him the 2003 open competition. He won again in 2009 with "You Must Be Wondering The Type of Creature I Am". These works will also be on display in Celebrating 40 Years of The Central Bank.
Roshanne Minnis Eyma and sister Nicole Minnis, who both recently exhibited at the NAGB in The Minnis-Eyma family exhibition, Creation's Grace, are among the many names of noteworthy Central Bank artists.
"The art show at the Central Bank of the Bahamas really helped to launch my career in art. I started competing at age 14, and it encouraged me to start producing professional work while still in high school. It gave me the validation and exposure I needed at the time to become a serious artist. I am forever grateful," said Minnis-Eyma.

The exhibition
At Celebrating 40 Years of The Central Bank: A Pillar of Arts Commitment, visitors will art representing the bank's history and its outstanding service to Bahamian art. Guests can look forward to experiencing works celebrating everyday Bahamian living. The bank's extensive collection of early development works including etches, photographs and drawings by now well-known artists in their early beginnings will also play a starring role in the show, and the exhibition's figure section will emphasize recognizable figures, like national pastimes in R. Brent Malone's "Junkanoo Cowbeller" and heritage in Erin Treco's "African Woman".
Celebrating 40 Years of The Central Bank: A Pillar of Arts Commitment opens at 6 p.m. on June 2 at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Also that night, the inaugural exhibition of the Double Dutch project, 50/50, starring works by Blue Curry and Bermudian artist James Cooper will open at the NAGB. For more information on the NAGB's upcoming exhibitions, contact the gallery at 328-5800 or visit its website at nagb.org.bs

read more »

John Cox's works and Dawn Davies collection star at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation

May 22, 2015

The D'Aguilar Art Foundation is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Balance/Reflection, featuring works by John Cox that have found a home in the expansive Dawn Davies collection.
For John Cox, balance is not so much a goal as a constant exercise in conscious creativity. Engaging the lifecycle of balance -- struggle, transcendence and acceptance -- he often manifests in his artwork a sense of a spiritual journey. His sculptural chairs and tables; emblematic objects; and images of struggle, love or desire offer reflections of our own cycles.
Designed to integrate into a home-life, John Cox's work has found the perfect home at Callaloo, Dawn Davies' home. Davies has collected artwork since 1969, and although her collection exceeds her wall and floor space now, she lives with an abundance of artwork, John's included. Davies knows the works intimately, having now lived with them longer than the artist themselves. She designs pedestals and plinths, marries works together in surprising ways and places them in spaces that have personal meaning, which, in turn, gives the work new layers and values.
The D'Aguilar Art Foundation is delighted to present a selection of John Cox's work spanning from his days as a student at Rhode Island School of Design to the present. These are pieces that Davies has curated into her life, offering the public a look at the union of these two committed practices: the making of art and the nurturing of art.
Balance/Reflection will be on display at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation from May 26 to August 13. The D'Aguilar Art Foundation is located on Virginia Street and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by prior arrangement.

read more »

NAGB announces new on-going commitment to linking the region's artists

May 22, 2015

With its eyes set on uniting the members of the region's visual art scene for the advancement of the Caribbean as a whole, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) will be launching the inaugural Double Dutch project to do just that. The Double Dutch project is an ongoing commitment to exhibit the works of two artists - one from The Bahamas and the other from another nation in the region - in a two-person show at the NAGB. Each iteration of Double Dutch will be exhibited for two months with two projects occurring annually during summer.
The goal of Double Dutch is to bring local and regional artists -- who may be divided by distance or language but share common histories -- together by encouraging

them to work with a group of ideas that hone in on personal, political and social trends specific to the West Indies. The project presents a challenge with a set of conditions through which a provocative body of work is produced through collaboration and exchange. This, Double Dutch organizers say, is crucial to the development of a contemporary Caribbean identity.
The project's name is a play on the classic jump-rope game of the same title. Double Dutch is played with two separate ropes turning in opposite directions by two rope turners. There may be one or more jumpers. To be successful at the game, the jumpers and turners must find synchronization, consider actions, balance and each other's momentum.
Similarly Double Dutch artists will be working in pairs. Together they will form the 'rope turners'. In this instance, Bahamian-born, London-based artist Blue Curry, and Bermudian artist James Cooper have agreed to unite for the first iteration of Double Dutch. The artists are familiar with each other's work - they collaborated at Liquid Courage Gallery in 2014 as part of the 10-year planning process for Transforming Spaces. Under the exhibition, Title the Flood, Cooper and Curry borrowed and expanded the idea of Le Corbusier's Museum of Unlimited Growth.
Continuing the trajectory, the two will now present an interrelated body of work at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in a show titled 50/50. A double entendre, the exhibition's title refers to two counterparts on equal footing as well as the 50 works Curry and Cooper will each present at the show.
Cooper's series of digital images explores his relationship to photography and its inherent evolution and flexibility. His 50/50 contribution, titled "REDTREE", attempts to find a balance between the representational qualities of photography and abstraction.
Blue Curry's untitled intervention will further scrutinize the use of industrially-produced objects designed for mass consumption. By repurposing hair combs, the artist creates a typology of a new object on display and shown in repetition, as if forming a collection of a new cultural artifact. This critical approach fetishizing commercial objects is now a central component of the artist's practice.
Together, the artists seek to tap into an open space investigating two themes: "story", which targets regional concepts such as trade and diaspora, and "color", which encompasses colloquial classifications of race such as 'tar', 'mango-skinned', 'salt', 'red' and 'pure'.
The inaugural Double Dutch exhibition, 50/50 will open at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas on June 2 and will be on display until July 27.

read more »

Celebrating Haitian culture

May 19, 2015

The Bahamas is a multi-ethnic archipelago. There are Bahamians of African descent, Greek-Bahamians, Lebanese-Bahamians, Chinese-Bahamians, Haitian-Bahamians and many more mixes...

read more »

Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) Awards Banquet

May 18, 2015

Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie was in attendance and addressed the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) Awards Banquet held on Saturday, May 16, at Club Luna on West Bay Street...

read more »

Obie Wilchcombe: Carnival here to stay

May 15, 2015

Despite the criticism from some members of the opposition, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is here to stay and will be a permanent fixture on the Bahamian cultural calendar...

read more »

Bahamian art around the world

May 15, 2015

Over the past few years, the Bahamian visual art scene has experienced a noticeable ripening. Younger artists have appeared; established practitioners have made it a priority to pass their knowledge on, and members of the visual art community have employed their abilities to comment on and challenge primitive ways of thought and barriers to society progression.
What makes this more exciting is the fact that members of the Bahamian visual art community are also making their talents and voices known and heard in the international arena. Some of the globetrotting names that have been popping up in creative spaces around the world are Janine Antoni, Blue Curry, Arnold Kemp, Lavar Munroe, Holly Parotti and Tavares Strachan.

Janine Antoni
Freeport-born artist Janine Antoni is currently being featured in 'Incubator' - a collaboration with New Jersey choreographer Stephen Petronio that explores the relationship between sculpture and dance.
Curated by Louis Grachos and Andrea Mellard, the presentation at testsite, in Austin, Texas, will feature site-specific installations, video work, sculpture and photography. Incubator includes the artists' first visual collaboration, "Honey Baby", a video of a folding, tumbling body within a honey-filled environment.
Antoni's work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, SITE Santa Fe, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the 1993 Venice Biennale. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011, a 2012 Creative Capital Artist Grant and the 2014 Anonymous Was A Woman award.

Blue Curry
Blue Curry is one of those who have been making their marks in creative spaces across the globe. The Bahamian artist, who is based primarily in London, was recently featured in 'Unsettled Landscapes', a biennial exhibition held at SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unsettled Landscapes focused on contemporary art from the Americas and examining the "urgencies, political conditions and historical narratives that inform the work of contemporary artists across the Americas". The show was on display from July 2014 to January 2015 and studied the work of artists responding to three themes: landscape, territory and trade.
Curry's childhood memories of a tourism-saturated Downtown Nassau were the catalyst for his proposal for Unsettled Landscapes. Curry offered the concept of presenting Downtown Nassau as a "site for sculpture and installation, rather than a site for just consumption".
Curry's work can also be seen at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas next month, when he takes part in the two-person show, Double Dutch, in collaboration with Bermuda-based artist James Cooper. Double Dutch opens June 2. His work will also be shown at PopopStudios in Freak Dancing, which opens on June 4.

Arnold Kemp
Chairman of the Department of Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University, Arnold Kemp's work has made a name for him abroad.
The Bahamian artist lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. His work has been shown on both coasts of the U.S. and in-between. Kemp is also a writer whose poems have appeared in "Callaloo", Three Rivers Poetry Journal, Agni Review, MIRAGE #4 Period(ical), "River Styx", Nocturnes, Art Journal and "Tripwire".
Currently, Kemp's work in Headless, an exhibition on at creative space Soloway, in Brooklyn, examines the body - specifically one
designed to "navigate today's and tomorrow's increasingly mechanistic, efficient and brutal existences". Headless examines the human senses, particularly in relation with modern-day society, pollution and cyber space. Headless will be on display until May 23.

Lavar Munroe
Born and raised in Grant's Town, New Providence, these days Lavar Munroe is no stranger to international acclaim. His pieces been exhibited in the U.S., Brussels, London and, most recently, in the main exhibition at this year's Venice Biennale.
The biennale is the world's oldest international art exhibition of its kind. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is comprised of a grouping of individual national pavilions along with a main exhibition led by a respected curator, who selects his or her own theme for the exhibition.
Three of Munroe's large-scale cut-out canvas, collage and mixed media works are featured in the exhibition, which is considered a grouping of some of the world's most foremost and current positions in visual art. Entitled All The World's Futures, the show has been curated by renowned Nigerian-born curator Okwui Enwezor.

Holly Parotti
Holly Parotti will be featured at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in upcoming exhibition 'Field Notes: Extracts'. Recognized for her use of digital and sculptural media, Parotti frequently explores human relationships and themes of belonging through her work.
MoCADA is known for using visual art to promote dialogue on race-related sociological issues, particularly those affecting the African Diaspora. Curated by Holly Bynoe, Field Notes: Extracts will open in June and will feature the work of seven emerging artists from the Caribbean and its diasporas. Deborah Anzinger, Gilles Elie-dit-Cosaque, Jasmine Thomas Girvan, Vashti Harrison, Kelly Sinnapah Mary, Joiri Minaya and Holly Parotti will be highlighted in the exhibition, which responds to socio-political, gendered and imagined realities.

Tavares Strachan
Tavares Strachan is another Bahamian artist leaving his impression in the United States. Strachan's large scale floating sculpture was recently featured as part of the Prospect New Orleans, Prospect3: Notes for Now biennial, based in New Orleans.
Entitled "You belong here", Strachan built a 100-foot long and 22-foot high neon work that traveled on a 120-foot barge on the Mississippi River. The piece floated up and down the water during the evenings of the biennial's opening weekend, and was docked at Esplanade Street Wharf during other times.
Intended as a message to the city, the work encouraged viewers to examine themselves in relation to space. Strachan uses a seemingly straightforward phrase, "You belong here," to evoke a dialogue about the historical undercurrents present throughout the city.
To keep up with visual arts news, subscribe to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas newsletter by contacting the NAGB at

read more »

'The Queen Staircase' is easily one of Bahamian Domestic's most recognizable works

May 15, 2015

"It looks like it was done by a child", is the response given by most tour groups who stop in front of the Amos Ferguson work. Many of them, however, know the artist by name. This is for good reason. Ferguson is considered one of the country's foremost intuitive artists.
Born on Exuma to a sharecropping family, religion played a key role in Ferguson's childhood. His father, Robert, was a preacher, and a young Amos would spend evenings in Bible study with him. This influence would later take on great significance as the catalyst for Ferguson's painting career.
Ferguson moved to Nassau in his young adulthood to acquire a trade. He spent some time in the southern States as a contractual farmhand before moving back to New Providence, where he began making a living as a house and sign painter.
He was one day inspired by a relative's dream of divine intervention and began making art part-time. In his 50s, Ferguson quit his work as a house painter and devoted himself to art full-time.
Working with what he knew and had on-hand, Ferguson used house paints and cardboard or plywood to create. He utilized everyday materials, including nails, sticks and paint can lids to achieve uniform dots and circles. Many of his works are notable for their glossy appearance, resulting from his use of house enamel. Early on in his career, Ferguson would also varnish his works to enhance their sheen. The paintings were sold on Bay Street, in the straw market, where his wife, Bloneva King, worked.
His faith in the divine was evident in his works, which were heavily influenced by his religious beliefs - imagery of church choirs, a crucified Christ and biblical scenes was common.
Painting by invention - that is by inventing his own point of view of the world - the late artist's works are products of his imagination.
"The Queen Staircase" represents the historic landmark, known as the Queen's Staircase, located in Downtown Nassau. In the work are images of "cartoon-like" men and women at the iconic site. The actual staircase features 67 steps, all carved by hand from slaves, leading up to Fort Fincastle. There are 72 steps in Ferguson's painting, and on them are five women clad in similar dress, four of whom bear identical facial expressions. Ferguson's signature uniformed dots (flowers) can be found in the painting's shrubbery, and alongside them are nearly-identically-shaped leaves.
In 1978, a visitor from New York purchased an Amos Ferguson work from a Bay Street vendor. Developing an affinity for it over time, she returned and added more to her collection, which she showed to Ute Stebich, a curator of Caribbean art. Through his connection, Ferguson held his first exhibition, Paint By Mr. Amos Ferguson - after his key signature - in 1985 in Hartford, Connecticut. Since that show's traveling to 10 other U.S. cities, the name Amos Ferguson has taken on significance as one of The Bahamas' most celebrated artists.
To see "The Queen Staircase" and other works by Bahamian artists, visit the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas' permanent exhibition, Bahamian Domestic. The NAGB is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The NAGB offers free admission to locals every Sunday.

read more »

NICOLETTE BETHEL: Carnival was a success but we must build our culture
NICOLETTE BETHEL: Carnival was a success but we must build our culture

May 15, 2015

BAHAMAS Junkanoo Carnival is over, and it was a rip-roaring success. As happened in Grand Bahama, in Nassau thousands and thousands of people thronged the festival site, hungry for the new experience, and for the first time ever The Bahamas entered the 21st century world of festivals, productions and events...

read more »

Carnival was a success but we must build our culture
Carnival was a success but we must build our culture

May 15, 2015

BAHAMAS Junkanoo Carnival is over, and it was a rip-roaring success. As happened in Grand Bahama, in Nassau thousands and thousands of people thronged the festival site, hungry for the new experience, and for the first time ever The Bahamas entered the 21st century world of festivals, productions and events...

read more »

Artisans want to expand through Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival

May 13, 2015

Bahamian Cottage Industry workers like the concept of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival and want to see it expand to support their souvenir-making businesses...

read more »

Thousands Attend Carnival's Opening
Thousands Attend Carnival's Opening

May 13, 2015

The opening night of the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival in New Providence was a colorful display of Bahamian art, music and dance as thousands gathered at Arawak Cay to participate in the inaugural celebrations. Officials estimate over 15,000 Bahamians and tourists came to event, which began May 7...

read more »

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival...Dawn of Something New

May 12, 2015

Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Perry G. Christie officially opened Nassau’s first-ever Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival on Thursday, May 7, in a beachside ceremony at the Western Esplanade. As he addressed spectators of all walks of life, in the air was the excitement of the dawn of something new...

read more »

Carnival debut hailed as 'extremely successful'
Carnival debut hailed as 'extremely successful'

May 12, 2015

CARNIVAL expert Clarence Moe, the former CEO of the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, said yesterday he believed that the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival was "extremely successful"...

read more »

Sammi Starr wins first ever Music Masters competition

May 12, 2015

Sammi Starr won the Music Masters competition during the first ever Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival with his song "Everybody Jump in the Line"...

read more »

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Road Fever

May 11, 2015

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Road Fever, May 9, 2015...

read more »

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival scenes at the Mega Stage at Clifford Park

May 11, 2015

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival scenes at the Mega Stage at Clifford park that featured early in the evening on Friday, Visage and international artists; the Music Masters Competition Finals with Sammi Starr as the winner for his "Everybody Jump in Da Line"; and into the early hours of Saturday morning Baha Men and Machel Montano...

read more »

Hundreds took part in the first Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival- Road Fever

May 11, 2015

Hundreds took part in the first Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival - Road Fever - which began at the Thompson A. Robinson National Stadium and finished at the Western Esplanade on Saturday, May 9, 2015...

read more »

Sammi Star Wins First Ever Music Masters Competition

May 11, 2015

Sammi Star won the Music Masters competition during the first ever Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival with his song “Everybody Jump in the Line..."

read more »

Run On Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Costumes
Run On Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Costumes

May 11, 2015

Hundreds make last minute dash to purchase costumes for Road Fever event...

read more »