Culture

Shibori: an ancient art now revamped and revisited

February 01, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) -- From tablecloths to duvet covers, iPhone cases to wallpaper and startling calf-skin wall hangings, the ancient Japanese resist-dying technique of shibori has gone mainstream. Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, Levi's and innumerable fiber artists are breathing new life into the craft.
"The stillness and beauty of it really centers me," said Oriana DiNella, who recently launched her own Web-based shibori line, including linen tableware, pillows and throws -- and large leather wall hangings -- all made to order and hand-dyed in organic indigo.
"It feels like a rebellion against the fashion movement, where everything seems so fast and disposable,"the New York-based designer explained.
Shibori is slow. It takes time, and has been around since about the 8th century.
The word comes from the Japanese shiboru, meaning "to wring, squeeze or press."The technique involves twisting, tying, crumpling, stitching or folding fabric -- usually silk or cotton -- in various ways, transforming the two-dimensional material into a sculptural, three-dimensional form. This sculptural shape is then traditionally dyed, originally using indigo, although a huge variety of colors and dyes are now used. Sometimes, the same fabric is then twisted in some other way and then dyed again. When the wrappings are removed, the folds and creases where the fabric resisted the dye form distinctive crinkled textures and patterns.A sort of "memory on cloth," Shibori also encompasses Issey Miyake's revolutionary pleated clothing, fulling and felting, and other methods of transforming natural fabrics into 3-D shapes.
The work of Hiroyuki Murase exemplifies both the 3-D possibilities of shibori and the bridge between traditional and new. Murase grew up in Arimatsu, Japan, where shibori has been done using traditional techniques for 400 years. Today, his array of Luminaires lampshades and haute couture fabrics, designed for the likes of Christian Dior, are the cutting edge of modern shibori.
Murase's family company, Suzusan, was founded there a century ago and has designed shibori fabrics for Miyake and other designers. Murase founded and is creative director at a separate company by the same name, Suzusan, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
But shibori is still most widely thought of as a sort of tie-dyeing.
Today's incarnations are as different from their early Japanese predecessors as they are from the wild, tiedyed pieces that became emblematic of the '60s and '70s.
There's a sense of timelessness and calm to the modern shibori pieces, and also a renewed focus on workmanship and functionality.
"I love the bleeds, the fluidity of it. I love how the light shades of indigo can be so pale and watery and the navies can be such a deep, deep blue," DiNella said.
Brooklyn designer Rebecca Atwood uses modern fiber-reactive dyes for her Blauvelt Collection, which includes pillows and pouches. And home-design purveyor Eskayel is creating the look of shibori patterns using ink, water and watercolors, followed by digital printing techniques.
"We have wallpaper, rugs, fabric, pillows, baskets, iPhone cases, stationery, prints and wall hangings. Oh, and poufs," said founder and creative director Shanan Campanero, when asked about the company'sshiboriinspired offerings.
Compared to the tie-dyes of a generation ago, she said, today's shibori-inspired works feature patterns that are more careful, deliberate and traditional.
Vera Wang's collection is centered on bedding, while Ralph Lauren's features swim trunks and clothing. Levi's has even come out with shibori-inspired jeans. But while mass-produced items lack the nuanced appeal of handcrafted works, they bring a surprising touch of texture and pizazz to the familiar.
For those inclined to take on do-it-yourself projects, shibori has never been more accessible. It can be done easily at home using minimal equipment.
Urban Outfitters sells its own shibori kits, and lessons are widely available online, from basic for beginners to truly advanced. Martha Stewart Living features a project on its website using a standard pressure cooker to make elegant shibori at home.
Serious shibori artists and workshops across the country and internationally can be found through the Berkeley-based World Shibori Network. With a membership of dedicated artisans in Japan and around the globe, it was founded in the 1990s because of fears that the traditional craft would disappear.
Despite widespread interest in shibori in the West, "we are still concerned with its survival in Japan," explained Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, the organization's president and co-founder.
Wada, author of "Shibori"and "Memory on Cloth" (both published by Kodansha), has taught and written about shibori for over 30 years, cofounded Berkeley's Kasuri Dyeworks in 1975, and helped introduce shibori to the United States. Now, her focus is ensuring its survival in Japan. "There used to be thousands and thousands of artists working on this. Now there are not so many people doing it using traditional techniques," said Wada.
She said iPhone covers and poufs made using digital techniques, far from being silly novelties, are crucial to the future of shibori, which holds little appeal to most young Japanese.
"Adapting shibori to something contemporary is the key to its survival," she said. "When the big designers come out with it and young artists take it in new directions, then more people here and in Japan start to pay attention."

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Promoting creativity

January 18, 2014

The Bahamas needs to concentrate on promoting and building the country and its people from the "inside out" by showcasing its rich arts and cultural heritage, said Pamela Burnside, manger of Doongalik Studios and wife of the late cultural icon Jackson Burnside.
Burnside said the spotlight needs to shine on the "better" parts of what is going on in The Bahamas, "instead of giving prime news coverage to the criminals."
"We just need to be ourselves, 'be who you is and not who you ain't, cos if you ain't who you is, you is who you ain't'," she told business leaders at the annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference.
"For far too long we have taken our creative expressions for granted, ignored their importance and their value, and relied on an 'outside in' concept to sustain our development, when we only need to drop our bucket where we stand - 'tell story' - look inside for our own 'true, true' resources, good old Bahamian art, culture and heritage."
One of the ways Burnside hopes to spotlight and nurture what The Bahamas has to offer is through the Creative Nassau venture.
Creative Nassau was formed in 2008 by Jackson Burnside after he and Pam attended a UNESCO Creative Cities Conference on Creative Tourism in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Creative Cities Network is structured around the seven specific fields of literature, cinema, music, design, craft and folk art, media arts and gastronomy. It seeks to develop international cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development, in the frame work of partnerships including the public and private sectors, professional organizations, communities, civil society and cultural institutions. The network also facilitates the sharing of experiences, knowledge and resources among the member cities as a means to promote the development of local creative industries and to foster worldwide cooperation for sustainable urban development.
The Creative Cities Network, according to Burnside, aims to strengthen the creation, production, distribution and enjoyment of cultural goods and services at the local level; promote creativity and creative expressions, especially among vulnerable groups, including women and youth; enhance access to and participation in cultural life as well as enjoyment of cultural goods; and integrate cultural and creative industries into local development plans.
Recognizing the benefits of becoming a part of this network, on their return from Santa Fe, the Burnsides invited a group of committed Bahamians to join them in working towards applying for membership as a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art.
The Bahamas will be the first small island state to do so. Creative Nassau is in the process of preparing the application for submission, focusing on the two unique Bahamian elements of the country's straw culture and Junkanoo tradition.
Creative Nassau believes that focus should be placed on building Bahamians first, by encouraging an awareness and appreciation for who we are as a people because cultural self identity builds pride, self esteem and self worth, which leads to stronger social cohesion and economic empowerment, she said.
Burnside said that Creative Nassau is convinced that "creative tourism" is the way forward.
"Creative Nassau believes that everything we need is right here is our hands, staring us in the face, if we can only truly 'see what we lookin' at'," she said.
Burnside pointed to straw and Junkanoo traditions that have proved through the decades to be thriving and viable forms of expression and livelihood among many Bahamians throughout the Family Islands.
Creative Nassau plans to act as an umbrella organization to promote creativity, make connections from collaborations, develop design skills, encourage research and education, inspire excellence and celebrate success, Burnside explained.
"Let us take a closer look at them to truly see their value," she said.
Burnside said that this year Creative Nassau will launch its website and hold other publicity events. Plans are also underway to tell its story in "true, true" Bahamian style using creative educational programs to develop greater public awareness of art, culture and heritage throughout the country.
"This must be a collaborative effort," Burnside urged. "We look forward to support and partnerships with the government, public and private sectors as well as international entities to make Creative Nassau a success. Obtaining membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network will afford The Bahamas enormous opportunities in this regard."

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Blue Curry selected for Santa Fe Biennial

January 18, 2014

UK-based Bahamian artist Blue Curry has been selected to participate in SITE Santa Fe, an international contemporary art biennial in New Mexico.
SITE Santa Fe creates significant experiences for visitors by presenting the "most innovative visual art of our time" in new and engaging ways, according to the gallery.
After a two-year biennial hiatus, the organization will relaunch its signature exhibition in July with a new focus on artists from the Western Hemisphere -- or according to SITE, "contemporary art from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego."
Curry will be among more than 40 artists from 15 countries and is among the first 13 participants announced by the gallery.
The initial list includes: Cape Dorset, Canada-based artist Shuvinai Ashoona, Santa Fe-based artist Jamison Chas Banks, Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Bowers, Cordoba, Argentina-based artist Adriana Bustos, London and Nassau-based artist Blue Curry, New York-based artist Juan Downey, Santiago de Chile-based artist Gianfranco Foschino, and San Francisco-based collaborative Futurefarmers, New York-based artist Pablo Helguera, Mexico City-based artist Antonio Vega Macotela, Lima, Peru-based artist Gilda Mantilla, Hudson-based artist Jason Middlebrook, and Toronto-based artist Kent Monkman.

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New cast members take on new roles in Gippie's Kingdom season two

January 18, 2014

The wait is over.
Ian Strachan's and Travon Patton's second season of the ground-breaking, much talked-about evening melodrama Gippie's Kingdom premiers next week.
This original Bahamian TV series - written, directed, produced, filmed and performed by an all-Bahamian cast and crew - made history in June, 2013. The show will return this month to ZNS TV 13 to wow Bahamian audiences.
The program has enjoyed a regional following and aired in Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Grenada, Turks and Caicos, Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad.
Most of the cast returns for a 12 episode season, with the exception of Scott Adderley, who played Donovan, Gippie's son-in-law. That role now falls to Beaumont Todd.
There are also other new cast members taking on fascinating roles.
Most notable among them are Terez Davis, Leslie Tynes, Neil Cleare and Emille Hunt, all veterans of the Bahamian theater scene.
Asked what viewers can expect of season two Strachan said: "We have raised our game. You can expect the show to look better, sound better, but more importantly, be better.
More drama. More humor. More romance. More suspense. More craziness. And more of the characters folks have come to love."
The first season of the show ended with a cliffhanger.
Sean Bowe, a murderer on the run, invades Gippie's home and tries to rob the family. Gippie confronts him and there's a shootout. Season two begins where the first season left off.
Did Gippie survive? Will Donovan and Monique patch things up? Will Everena finally leave drug dealer Kayron for good?
These and so many other stories take center stage in the upcoming season.
"Revenge is the name of the game in season two and everyone's playing," producer Travon Patton said.

o Gippie's Kingdom is rated TV 14 and airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on ZNS TV13. The premiere is January 23rd.

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Arts calendar

January 18, 2014

Exhibitions
"Intersect",the 2013 Junior Residency Exhibition by Gio Swaby and Kachelle Knowles, continues at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts. For more information, call 322-7834.

"Undercurrent", a film exhibition by Holly Parotti, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Kishan Munroe's "Swan Song of The Flamingo", a multidisciplinary collaborative exhibition, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"Get Out", a Salus Project exhibition, continues at the Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road.

"40 Years of Bahamian Art" continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Film
Passage (2013), the award-winning short film by Bahamian filmmaker Kareem Mortimer, will be screened on Thursday, January 23, 2104 at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, 6 p.m.

The film tackles the harrowing subject of immigration. The 15-minute film will be preceded by a "making-of" that explores the director's motivation.

Following the screening in the ballroom gallery, there will be a panel discussion moderated by radio personality Louby Georges, host of 'The Creole Connection' on Guardian Radio 96.9. Panelists include R.E. Barnes from Amnesty International; Erin Green, interim deputy chairman of CARFA; and a representative from the United Haitian-Bahamian Association.

Poetry
Illiterati Story Slam -- a forum where writers, storytellers, poets, musicians, comedians, artists and others share thier stories -- will take place on Friday, January 31, 6pm-9pm at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Village Road. The forum is held on the final Friday of every month.

Each month a new theme is selected and participants are invited to share a story of 10 minutes or less on the topic. This month's theme is "Stories About Change."
The winner of the season's story slam will receive the opportunity to have their stories compiled in a hand-bound chapbook by Poinciana Paper Press.

Tours
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour.

For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.

Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the food and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.

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ARC Magazine awarded art grant

December 21, 2013

Oettinger Davidoff AG, the worldwide leading manufacturer of premium cigars headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, announced two new recipients of Davidoff Art Grants during Art Basel in Miami Beach, along with the evolution of plans for an international residency in the Dominican Republic. These programs are part of the Davidoff Art Initiative, which was launched in 2012 with the mission of supporting contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean and Dominican Republic, fostering cultural engagement between the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
Davidoff Art Grants assist local cultural organizations and institutions in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region with small and medium-sized awards. A limited number of grants are provided each year to meet the specific needs of organizations working to promote visual art in the region. Under the terms of the Davidoff grants, ARC Magazine will receive a monthly stipend for one year to fund capacity development related to its editorial growth.
"With the Davidoff Art Grants, we have an opportunity to offer specialized support to cultural organizations and institutions in the Dominican Republic, tailored to the needs of each organization," said Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, president and CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG. "Davidoff Cigars has a role in ensuring the sustainability of these organizations and by extension, the cultural community of the Dominican Republic. This is the core aim of the Davidoff Art Initiative."
"Receiving recognition of this caliber outside of our regular working locale is very exciting for the longevity and the sustainable development of ARC," states Holly Bynoe, director of ARC Magazine. "The Davidoff Art Initiative Grant will assist ARC's core team to be more autonomous while providing us with the ability to take editorial risks, as well as confirming security and continuing scholarship, study and outreach. We are excited to be moving into the new year and plan for a dynamic round of programming and activities that will reflect the merit of this grant."

About the Davidoff Art Initiative
The Davidoff Art Initiative supports contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean, strengthens art organizations in the Dominican Republic, shares knowledge and expertise about contemporary art, and fosters cultural engagement between the Caribbean and the rest of the world. At the core of the art initiative, Davidoff aims to give back to the cultural community in the Dominican Republic, where much of its production and so many of its employees are based, bringing opportunity and visibility to the art and culture of the Caribbean region while extending the company's long-standing commitment to artistry, craftsmanship, community and quality. The Davidoff Art Initiative's four global program areas are: the Davidoff Art Residency, Davidoff Art Dialogues, Davidoff Art Grants and Davidoff Art Editions.

About ARC
ARC Inc. is a nonprofit organization that publishes ARC Magazine, printed bi-annually and that operates an online and social platform since 2011. ARC seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary Caribbean artists to present their work, while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of cultural exchange. ARC's mission is to build awareness for Caribbean art by fostering exchanges and opportunities that expand creative culture, within the visual arts industry across the wider Caribbean and its diasporas.

o Originally published on arcthemagazine.com.

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20 QUESTIONS

December 21, 2013

This week, Tessa Whitehead, artist and owner of Liquid Courage Gallery in Palmdale, answers 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
One of them was standing in front of Fra Angelico's "Annunciation" in the Prado, Madrid. Another one was reading "Secret Knowledge" by David Hockney.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
I have an unreasonable hatred for paintings by Titian.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
Dutch Genre Scenes, technically Baroque.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
I don't like movies, but I do like art-films/videos, and I think my top 5 would be, Fischli and Wiess' "The Way things go", Christian Marclay's "Clocks", Bill Viola's "Walking on the Edge", Francesca Anfossi's "Petrified Paper" and Bruce Mclean's "Soup".

5. Coffee or tea?
Fennel tea? Ridiculous answer.

6. What book are you reading now?
"And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini for fun and for reference when I am teaching, "The End of Painting" by Douglas Crimp.

7. What project are you working on now?
Making paintings and cement sculptures in a shared studio with an excellent artist, Paulina Michnowska.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Modern was a stellar exhibition. I was completely taken with the color palette. I had wrongly assumed that print would do his work justice.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
One Family.

10. If you had to be stranded on a Family Island which one would it be?
Eleuthera.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's "Murder of the Crows". It's actually a sound installation, and I think sound takes precedent in my own memories.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Phoebe Unwin. Her paintings aren't radical; they aren't overly sexy or vying for attention, they are just brilliant paintings.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My tutors from the Slade School: Estelle Thompson, Jo Volley, Bruce Mclean, Klaas Hoek and Gary Woodley. All damn good artists, and it would be great to have another really tough crit.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
This is a funny question because I feel I can only consider the last 40 years. With that in mind, I think John Cox has contributed (and will still contribute) hugely to our art history.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
At the moment, Paulina Michnowska.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
To translate ideas, conditions, aspirations into a different kind of language; to entertain or offer a sense of familiarity that you can't find otherwise.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
Anytime I have had to speak publicly, most recently on a radio show. There are (and were) no words.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
Time in my studio. I take it personally if you keep me out of the studio.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
In a person, I think it is grace. In my surroundings, I am in awe of weather, especially huge thunderstorms.

o www.tessa-whitehead.com.

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RBDF officers get private viewing of Munroe's 'Swan Song of the Flamingo'

December 21, 2013

A small group of Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers was hosted for a private viewing of Kishan Munroe's 'Swan Song of the Flamingo' at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. The viewing was guided by the artist.
The exhibition takes as its premise the sinking of the HMBS Flamingo on May 10, 1980, and is the first large-scale monumental history paintings of such a historic event out of Bahamian history, captured by a Bahamian artist.
Four defence force officers died and many of the survivors were deeply affected by the incident, which went on to spark an international debate.
The tour, held Tuesday, December 17, was organized in memory of one of the survivors, Oscar Miller, whose portrait and own bloodied shirt from that day are displayed in the exhibition.
Miller passed away on December 10 and struggled with his memories of the historic event.
He will be laid to rest this week but his memory lives on in this groundbreaking show, which proves a timely memorial to an event that should never be forgotten.

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Sustainable art communities

December 14, 2013

"Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean" explores how the understanding and formation of sustainable community for the Caribbean and its global diaspora may be supported by art practice, curating and museums. The project was a collaboration between The Open University and the University of Leiden, in partnership with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), London, and was led by Dr. Leon Wainwright.
Participants in the second conference in this series, which took place December 3-4, 2013, included Alessio Antoniolli (UK), Marielle Barrow (Trinidad and Tobago), Charles Campbell (Jamaica/UK), Annalee Davis (Barbados), Joy Gregory (UK), Therese Hadchity (Barbados), Glenda Heyliger (Aruba), Rosemarijn Hoefte (the Netherlands), Yudhishthir Raj Isar (France/India), Tessa Jackson (UK), Nancy Jouwe (the Netherlands), Charl Landvreugd (the Netherlands), Wayne Modest (the Netherlands), Petrona Morrison (Jamaica), Jynell Osborne (Guyana), Marcel Pinas (Suriname), Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Leon Wainwright (UK) and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands).
As the conference on Sustainable Art Communities started, we immediately encountered one of the problems relating to sustainability across the diaspora - first speaker Marcel Pinas could not be there because of visa issues, thus highlighting a key obstacle in the transnational dialogue. Meeting in person builds community, as all who attended can attest to, and nothing beats a face to face discussion. Raj Isar used the German word "gemeinshaft", which basically refers to living, breathing and eating together; for a few days that is what this conference facilitated. Leon Wainwright started the discussion with a few questions, one of which was "Should the arts be burdened with the task of building community?"
Rather than actually coming up with answers, the conference was very enlightening because it showed that issues experienced in the Caribbean are also in effect in the diaspora. Questions like "for whom is the work made?" and "are institutions disconnected from the audience?" were addressed. The importance of critical discourse in countries like Jamaica, Suriname and the Netherlands was expressed by Petrona Morisson.
As the mark of success in art seems to be related to public engagement, establishing links through existing spaces to broaden local audiences on artistic, critical and financial levels is paramount. Part of this can be achieved through carefully archiving Caribbean lived experience. As an example of this, Joy Gregory started/is starting up a residency in the former house of fashion designer Trevor Owens in Jamaica, providing a way into understanding this experience. At the same time, according to Therese Hadchity, the local and historical context is being transcended by artists like Sheena Rose, Ewan Atkinson and Alicia Alleyne, and is being picked up in other parts of the world. A new hybrid globalized subject is emerging with mixed sensibilities. Jynell Osborne made this clear by speaking about diversity in heritage and how this affects social and political issues in a country like Guyana. "We have to recognize where cultures come together and where they stay apart in Guyana, and by extension in the Caribbean. Part of building a strong society is building a strong culture that is sustainable." Tying back to the production of a critical discourse, this seems to be done more by writers than visual artists in smaller countries. Why is that?
One thing that the speakers and audience agreed on was Petrona Morisson's sentiment that the Caribbean and its diaspora should not repeat patterns of exclusion in our effort to build a sustainable art community. Annalee Davis' presentation on the initiative Fresh Milk is seen as one of the ways in which talent can be nurtured in our own geographical space. She made a case for the fourth sector model of social economy in light of the lack of funds, creating wealth by means of nurturing creative talent within the region. This, the panel agreed, is a revolutionary act. By first working within the local space and sustaining creative process, expansion to include all of the region is anticipated. The question of an understandable art language for everybody may be a consequence of this way of working. What the impact of this will be outside and inside of academia can only be imagined at this point. Who defines and critiques history, and is history in the way of the future? This was asked by Ozkan Golpinar when he explained the way decisions on funding are being made in the West.
The question about craftmanship vs art was raised by Wayne Modest, who is concerned with the relationship between the local and the global; "What happens when elite practices take up the 'ghetto'?" He took some time speaking about the 'ghetto' as a native place for contemporary Jamaican artists, in comparison to previous generations who saw Africa as the native place. This echoed my idea of continental Europe as a native space to Caribbean subjects who were born and or raised there. It was also exemplified by Glenda Heyliger's presentation on her work in Aruba. Fittingly, Marielle Barrow contributed to this exchange, joining the conversation via Skype from the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti. Unfortunately the connection went bad several times as it did with Raj Isar, but her message of multimodality was strong. How to sustain a network without funding was one of her main questions. Transformation seems to be one of the principles here. Charles Campbell showed us how he did it with 'Actor Boy', who became real, participated in society, started creating his own artworks and mythologized himself once over. As Alessio Antoniolli said about the organizations connected through the Triangle Network, "The most successful groups are the ones who are self serving."

o Orignally published on arcthemagazine.com
o Charl Landvreugd is a Dutch artist, born in Suriname and raised in Rotterdam. Aesthetically, politically, theoretically as well as practically, black is the base color in his practice. The artist has studied at the Goldsmiths College (London) and Columbia University (NYC), and now continues his investigations of black and Blackness. He explores the plurality of black hues and advocates for distinctions in black diversity. Inspired by the gathering of people from the African diaspora in the Bijlmer, he unites the four continents around the Atlantic in the video work Atlantic Transformerz 2010.

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Bahamian scholar awarded Art Writers Grant from Warhol Foundation

December 14, 2013

Bahamian scholar and art historian Dr. Krista Thompson is among the recipients of this year's Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.
Designed to support writing about contemporary art, as well as to create a broader audience for arts writing, the program aims to strengthen the field as a whole and to ensure that critical writing remains a valued mode of engaging the visual arts. Two scholars writing about Caribbean art - Thompson of The Bahamas and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert of Puerto Rico - are recipients of the 2013 awards.
Examining the role of photography in the formation of contemporary African diasporic communities, Krista Thompson's book "The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice" will concentrate on Jamaica, The Bahamas and the United States. Photographic technologies have informed new approaches to representation and visuality, conceptions of value and contemporary art and have generated novel types of photographic practice centered on light's effects. This project will analyze how contemporary artists such as Charles Nelson, Rashaad Newsome, Ebony Patterson and Kehinde Wiley reflect on popular picturing practices. It argues that these artists use the aesthetic lessons of black visual culture to critically assess a range of representations, from painted portraits canonized in the history of art to contemporary print advertising.
Thompson is the author of "An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque" (Duke University Press, 2006). She has published in African Arts, Art Bulletin, American Art, Drama Review, Representations, and Small Axe. She teaches, researches, and curates exhibitions on contemporary art and visual culture in the African diaspora, with an emphasis on how photographic practices in the United States and the Caribbean offer new perspectives on art history. She is an associate professor at Northwestern University and the recipient of grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Getty Foundation.

o Story courtesy of RepeatingIslands.com.

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'The Children of The Bahamas'

December 14, 2013

An exhibition of photographs by renowned photographer Roland Rose opened on Wednesday at the Central Bank Art Gallery.
The focus of the exhibition is photographs Rose has taken over the decades of Bahamian children. In addition, a retrospective of his work will be featured showing the great range and historical importance of Rose's work.
Roland Rose (born 1937, Italy) has been called The Bahamas' "Dean of Photography". He came to the country in 1946, taking up photography as a hobby at the age of 12. In 1951, he joined the Bahamas Development Board as a professional photographer. This later became the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, and Rose's photographs of people and scenes of The Bahamas were instrumental in attracting many visitors to the islands. After chronicling the country's history for decades, Rose started holding solo exhibitions of photography in 1996. His first exhibition was at the Marlborough Gallery in Nassau and then consecutive exhibitions at The Central Bank of The Bahamas from 1996-2002. He was the recipient of a Cacique Award in 1996.

o Source: Smith and Benjamin's Bahamian Art & Culture.

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Arts Calendar

December 14, 2013

Exhibitions
"Intersect",the 2013 Junior Residency Exhibition by Gio Swaby and Kachelle Knowles, opened Friday, December 13 at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts. For more information, call 322-7834.

A photographic show featuring work by Bahamian artist and filmmaker Tyler Johnston opened on Thursday, December 12 at Van Breugels Restaurant, Charlotte St.

"Undercurrent", a film exhibition by Holly Parotti, opened on Thursday, December 12 at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Kishan Munroe's "Swan Song of The Flamingo", a multidisciplinary collaborative exhibition, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"Get Out", a Salus Project exhibition, continues at the Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road.

"40 Years of Bahamian Art" continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Workshops
"Watering the Spirit", a four-day healing retreat hosted by writer Helen Klonaris and musician and healing coach Tanya Hanna, takes place Thursday, January 9 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, January 12 at 5 p.m. at Gaulin House, Ten Bay, Eleuthera. For more information or to register, visit helenklonaris.com or email wateringthespirit@gmail.com.

Tours
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.

Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the food and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.

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'Follow your dream'

December 14, 2013



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Bahamian films to open and close BIFF

December 07, 2013

For the first time Bahamian films will both open and close the 10th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF).
"Bahamian Son" and "Black Moses" will join the likes of "Juno" and "The King's Speech" in the prestigious position of anchoring BIFF as opening and closing films.
The closing film "the Black Moses" hints at controversy with the tag line "speak of the god...the devil...and he doth appear".
Directed by Bahamian Travolta Cooper, it promises to delve into understanding the polarizing legacy of Sir Lynden Pindling, the late former prime minister.
This 100-minute feature has garnered much attention because it stars American actor Dennis Haysbert of the TV shows "24", "The Unit" and more recently, spokesperson for Allstate Insurance.
Written by Reggie Henderson and Stephen Kane, the opening film "Bahamian Son" is a full feature length film that focuses on "Kevin" a young man and his search for his father that leads him from Minneapolis to the islands of The Bahamas in an attempt to discover who he is.
Both films share the common theme of exploring the identities of fathers whether metaphoric or literal patriarchs.
With the promise of "100 films from 26 countries" the fear of local entries being lost in the fray is understandable, however, Dennis Dembia, publicist for the festival believes that Bahamian films and filmmakers have made a name for themselves.
"I've worked with film festivals in Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic," he said. "There always seems to be a chatter about Bahamian films [and] Bahamian filmmakers and the quality of films that are being made here".
This year, Danny Glover, of "Lethal Weapon" and "The Color Purple" will be awarded a "Career Achievement Tribute" for his work as an actor, director and activist.
In the seven years that Dembia has attended the festival he's always felt that the Bahamian entries are of substantial quality.
"To be honest the ones that I've seen over the years have all been good to start with, in terms of stories and themes that play on the screen," he said.
According to Dembia, the intent of BIFF is to expose local film lovers to "really interesting independent films...all different themes, but these are films traditionally you wouldn't see in the multiplexes or on DVD, but they're really great cinema".
This opportunity isn't afforded solely to New Providence. Another interesting feature of the festival, are film screenings on select Family Islands dubbed "The Best of Fest".
BIFF runs in Nassau on December 5 - 8 and then "The Best of Fest" opens in Harbour Island, Eleuthera, December 9 -11 and then in Governor's Harbour December 11 -13.

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Doongalik Studios announces Junkanoo book launch

December 07, 2013

Just in time for the Junkanoo season, Doongalik Studios announces the book launch of 'The History of the Saxons Junkanoo Group (The Early Years) Stories of a Forgotten Bahamian Culture' by Dr. Emmanuel 'Manny' Francis on December 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Francis said, "The book is dedicated to the memory of the late Jackson Logan Burnside III, a brilliant and gifted Bahamian architect, artist and cultural activist.
"The hallmark of his legacy [lies] in his belief that, by 2020, more tourists would come to The Bahamas for our art, culture and heritage than for sun, sand and sea.
" Jackson constantly admonished us to tell our stories. His zeal for the preservation of our cultural identity and the revelation of its importance to our national development has inspired me to write this historical account, as well as my Junkanoo handbook."
Francis added, "This historical publication on Junkanoo was produced at the behest of Desmond Bannister on the occasion of presenting him, as then minister of education, with copies of my first publication, Manual of Junkanoo Costume Construction - A Beginners Guide to Junkanoo Design (2011).
"The goal of that exercise was to provide a simple instructional handbook which Junkanoo group leaders, teachers, parents and craftsmen could use to educate group members and students in the basics of Junkanoo costume construction.
"This would ensure that costumes be custom made and that participants be more responsible for producing their own costumes. Minister Bannister intimated that a book on the history of Junkanoo groups was also necessary to augment the manual as the first true textbooks for the practical and didactic components of a long overdue Junkanoo curriculum."
Francis' goal in writing this Saxons' historical account was to present the Bahamian public with an accurate account of the group's formation and early days (up to the 1970s).
He hopes it would also inspire others to chronicle the group's development from that point onwards. Francis also hopes that the book, as the former minister of education stated, would be used as a Junkanoo textbook in the classrooms.
The book is self published and only a limited number of copies will be available for sale at the launch, along with his other publications.
Francis also said that "Jackson's insistence that we 'see what you're looking at' was the inspiration for his newest publication, 'Morning Meditations in Paradise: Bahamian Reflections at Sunrise', which presents 99 images of our beautiful country along with meditations on the God who created it.
"I thank you, Jackson, for showing me how to see the real purpose and value of the things we too often take for granted: our rich, unique and fascinating cultural heritage," he said.
Francis, a professional dentist, is the brother of the leader of the Saxons, Percy 'Vola' Francis, and was intimately involved in the development of the group as a designer and builder for 20 years.
In 2003, he left the popular 'A' group to become a part of the 'B' group, One Love Soldiers.

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Arts Calendar

December 07, 2013

Exhibitions
A photographic show featuring work by Bahamian artist and filmmaker Tyler Johnston opens on Thursday, December 12, 5-8 p.m. at Van Breugels Restaurant, Charlotte St.

Kishan Munroe's "Swan Song of The Flamingo", a multidisciplinary collaborative exhibition, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"The New New", an exhibition by Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, Blake Fox, Piaget Moss and Veronica Dorsett, continues at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts. For more information, call 322-7834.

"Get Out", a Salus Project exhibition, continues at the Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road.

"40 Years of Bahamian Art" continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"The Bahamian Collection", photographs by Duke Wells, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). The opening is free and open to the public. For more information, visitwww.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"Master Artists of The Bahamas" continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Featured artists are John Beadle, Jackson Burnside, Stan Burnside, John Cox, Amos Ferguson, Kendal Hanna, Brent Malone, Eddie Minnis, Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith and Max Taylor. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Film
The 10th Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) runs December 5-13 in Nassau and Eleuthera. For more information, visit bintlfilmfest.com.

Workshops
"Watering the Spirit", a four-day healing retreat hosted by writer Helen Klonaris and musician and healing coach Tanya Hanna, takes place Thursday, January 9 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, January 12 at 5 p.m. at Gaulin House, Ten Bay, Eleuthera. For more information or to register, visit helenklonaris.com or email wateringthespirit@gmail.com.

Tours
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.

Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the food and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.

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Bahamian films shine at BIFF

November 30, 2013

Bahamian films are making their mark at this year's Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF).
Bahamian films "Bahamian Son" and "Black Moses" will open and close the festival, respectively, and are among a strong group of other Bahamian and international features, shorts and documentaries showcased at BIFF.
"As the Bahamas International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary and The Bahamas celebrates its 40th year of independence, what better way to recognize these milestones than by having Bahamian films open and close the festival," said BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.
"Film festivals were created for the independent filmmakers, and once again I am proud to present six strong films made in and about The Bahamas."

Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's "Bahamian Son"
Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's drama "Bahamian Son" has been selected as this year's Opening Night Film and will kick off the festival on December 5 at the Atlantis Theater.
"Bahamian Son" stars Constance Anderson ("Prodigal", "Profile of a Killer", "Gods' Green Earth"), Fatima Cocci ("Gods' Green Earth") and Leah Eneas ("Beneath the Blue").
The film is based on true events from the life of the film's writer Reggie Henderson. The story follows Kevin as he sets out to find his father, whom he hasn't seen in more than 30 years.
During his journey, Kevin examines his own life and the family he has built for himself, during his childhood, having grown up in the projects of North Minneapolis.
After Kevin tracks down his father, he travels to The Bahamas to meet him. What happens in The Bahamas opens Kevin's eyes to a world and a history he never knew existed. It is also another test of Kevin's beliefs regarding family, loyalty and what it means to be a son, a father and a man.
"We are ecstatic that our film 'Bahamian Son' will be headlining BIFF this year. Shooting a semi audio-biographical film was not easy, and it had its challenges, but we had wonderful support from the Bahamian community during the making of this film," said writer and producer of "Bahamian Son" Reggie Henderson.
"'Bahamian Son' may be a small indie film, but it's big in heart and content. The Bahamas is not just a resort destination, and it gives us great pleasure to share with the rest of the world what we've learned, which is The Bahamas is a beautiful island, rich in culture, history and tradition. What a great honor to be a part of BIFF!"

Travolta Cooper's "The Black Moses"
Travolta Cooper's documentary "The Black Moses" will have the honor of closing the 10th edition of the festival on December 8 at the Atlantis Theater.
Written and directed by Travolta Cooper ("Founding Fathers: Sir Stafford Sands" "A Miami Trail"), "The Black Moses" takes a look at the first black prime minister of The Bahamas. The film follows the popular folk 'moses mythology' as it was manifested through the life and times of Sir Lynden Pindling. It focuses on Pindling as he sets on a course to bring about social, political, and economic revolution to the British Bahama Islands.
The film features Golden Globe nominee Dennis Haysbert ("The Unit", "24", "Wreck-It Ralph") as "Black Moses" and commentary from the 18th Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and many others.
"It's been quite a journey producing 'The Black Moses', and for our little movie to be bestowed such an honor is encouraging and inspiring. Our production team is ecstatic. And I am personally overjoyed because BIFF has undoubtedly played a role in my career as a filmmaker giving me opportunities and lifelong mentors like filmmaker Malcolm Lee and producer Jane Schoettle," said director of "The Black Moses" Travolta Cooper. "And now to be afforded such an honor in the same tradition of films such as 'The King's Speech', 'Juno' or 'Precious', which have closed this festival in the past, means more than I can express."

Vijay Subramanian "Happenstance"
Story of two different couples in a disturbed relationship. There is an incident that happens that brings the good person in both relationships together as one.

Valicia Rolle, Valene Rolle, Alexandria Smith, "The Dream"
Adam Samsun, an investor at Eden Investments, is possibly cheating on his wife. Delilah Samsun, Adam's wife, is possibly abusing Adam. For one of them, it is a dream, for the other it is a nightmare.

Mary Mazzio, "Contrarian: Mr. Templeton"
Legendary investor John Templeton ranks among the top investors of all time. Long before Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch were on the radar, thousands of people were trekking to Templeton's annual meetings - making Templeton the first true rock star investor.
Raised in a small rural town in Tennessee, Templeton was profoundly influenced by his mother who encouraged his sense of adventure from an early age. She also imbued in her son an indefatigable sense of optimism, which proved to be indispensable years later when John's father lost everything with a risky bet on cotton futures. Undeterred, John stayed on at Yale University (and later at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar), paying his own way with the earnings from three jobs and nightly poker games.
John's resilience and his meteoric rise as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist can be attributed to lessons learned in his youth: think differently, live frugally, be willing to bet against conventional thinking, and, above all, be honest. This made Templeton unique, particularly on Wall Street.

Andrew Turley "It's Better In The Bahamas"
The film begins with an encounter. The filmmaker has traveled to The Bahamas to meet, for the first time, old friends of his grandparents. They are a Haitian-Bahamian family who arrived in New Providence over half a century ago. The filmmaker's self-narrative then withdraws from the plot and allows the members of the family to share themselves with the audience.
At the center is Marjorie, the filmmaker's grandmother's goddaughter, whose bright, ambitious and attractive personality shines through.
The film was made for the Social Sciences department at the University of Manchester, the United Kingdom. It explores anthropological themes of identity, migration, kinship and gender. However, its academic grounding does not prevent it from being a humorous and touching documentary.
BIFF 2013 kicks off on Thursday, December 5 to December 8 in Nassau and will run through December 9 to 13 in Eleuthera.
For the second consecutive year, BIFF will be coming to Harbour Island December 9-11 and Governor's Harbour December 11-13, showcasing a diverse presentation of films from around the world accompanied by a group of local and international filmmakers. For more information, please visit www.bintlfilmfest.com.

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BIFF reaches out to community

November 30, 2013

Educating and inspiring the next generation of filmmakers is the primary focus of a signature workshop put on annually by the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), now in its 10th year, and set to kick off on Thursday.
This year, the Youth Film Workshop has partnered with five local Bahamian private and public schools throughout Nassau and Eleuthera and integrated the workshops directly into classrooms.
The Festival will screen the winning films and clips from the program December 5 - 8 in Nassau and December 9 - 13 in Eleuthera, said BIFF Founder and Executive Director, Leslie Vanderpool.
The Youth Film Workshops served as an innovative children's mobile film studio creating a unique learning environment like none other, according to the festival's organizers. With the support of BTC, the Youth Film Workshops took place in classrooms throughout Nassau to heighten awareness of the positive impact of media literacy.
Participating schools in this year's program each led a selected group of students to develop story lines, scriptwriting and take on various roles of an actual film crew for their film format, based on the topic "The Bahamas Through My Eyes".
A total number of 65 students, through the course of a week, participated in the sessions with a curriculum that included the history and art of filmmaking, genres, formats, scriptwriting, casting, shooting and cinematography. Schools that signed on to participate in this year's Youth Film Workshop are L.W. Young Junior High School, Garvin Tynes Primary School, Spanish Wells All Age School, Harbour Island All Age School and Central Eleuthera High School.
"BIFF's Youth Film Workshop is a favorite program of mine, as it provides hands-on experience in making a film, teaches the benefits of collaboration and teamwork and allows children to realize their innate abilities and exercise their imaginations. The rewards of teaching 600 students since this outreach program was started in schools around Nassau, and adding Eleuthera to this list, are immeasurable. Testimonies from students now in college pursuing theater arts, media and filmmaking, as a result of this introductory exposure, speak to the importance and value of this program. This is the beauty of bringing Hollywood to The Bahamas and conducting invaluable programs that BIFF offers throughout the year," said Vanderpool.
The Youth Film Workshop was conducted by Vanderpool and Neville Smith, CEO of Settlers Cove Ltd. Digital Cinema & Television. With their guidance, participants learned the fundamentals of filmmaking, explored and experimented with the latest in digital technology, in an exciting, fast-paced, child-focused environment with the ultimate goal of developing media literacy, social networking and collaboration skills.
"It was encouraging to see young people excited about a profession that they watch every day but never had the opportunity to participate in," said Neville Smith. "In class, we challenged the students to make short films by whatever means they had, which reveal a level of creativity that was astounding! I hope to see films coming from their respective schools in the near future."
The Youth Film Workshop was sponsored by The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
Celebrating its 10th year, the BIFF has established itself as a marquee international festival in the Caribbean region, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world and showcasing a diverse array of international films.

o For additional information, including screening listings, events and ticket pricing, please visit www.bintlfilmfest.com.

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