Search results for : Antonius Roberts

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News Article
Antonius Roberts prepares to open renovated Hillside House

It's hard to miss when zooming by in cars, but tucked away into the side of the slope at #25 Cumberland Street of downtown Nassau in the midst of abandoned and dilapidated structures is the newly renovated Hillside House.
Once destroyed by fire and abandoned itself, the structure has been given new life by Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts as the Antonius Roberts studio and gallery space.
This space not only adds to the proliferation of art spaces in the area in the last few years but also holds a conversation with the recent downtown Nassau revitalization efforts by the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) which recognizes the importance of preserving culture and heritage in urban development.
With that in mind, a patron of Antonius Roberts approached the artist with the proposition to purchase and give new life to the Hillside House as an art space. The proposition was of high importance to Roberts whose previous Post House studio and gallery space on Prospect Ridge was somewhat inconvenient. Two years later, the pair, as business partners, have been able to fulfill his dream of operating a space where art - as completed pieces and as works in progress - can be appreciated.
Yet on a road like Cumberland Street - which has historically been a place of lively social interaction as the main artery to The British Colonial (Hilton) - efforts are necessary to preserve the integrity and inherent beauty of its buildings.
"Being of the same mindset, we felt it would be important to restore this building to its original feeling, being mindful of the history that actually exists on Cumberland Street and the fact that Cumberland Street has always been a place where locals and visitors can both come and experience the opulence and lifestyle and architecure of The Bahamas in the 1800s," explained Roberts.
"In many conversations with Jackson Burnside when he was still with us, he insisted that we needed to do this right - we needed to be respectful of the architecture and we needed to be respectful of the history. Therefore it has taken us two years to get to this particular point."
Yet Roberts has extensive knowledge about the power of preservation and how it intersects with public
art - his sculptures are often crafted out of discarded wood which he repurposed into beautiful figures or useful benches, giving them new life.
By partnering with government institutions and the public sector, he has created sculpture gardens in places like Clifton Heritage Park and at the intersection of Blake Road and JFK Drive which has not only attracted the admiration of visitors but also Bahamians.
Such installations, like the efforts of the DNP, explains Roberts, serve to connect the public to their public spaces, fostering appreciation and respect for their surroundings as well as a sense of community.
Hillside House, he hopes, will function as this public art does - being open six days a week with an emphasis on the daytime hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will make it quite accessible to both curious tourists passing by and Bahamians who may want to tuck into a bit of art and culture during their lunch break or weekend outings.
"This building is a sculpture. This is the artwork," said Roberts.
"We wanted people as they pass to be connected to the transformation of this space and in so doing will be drawn to this space, and being drawn to this space they're connecting to rich art and culture that is unique to The Bahamas.
"I speak about locals more so than tourists," he added. "I think we have to first create spaces for ourselves, we have to first love our spaces and clean up our front doors and our yards, thereby encouraging people to come into a wonderful space."
This two-year renovation that preserved much of the integrity of the historic architecture of Hillside House has come to this: a zen-like space just yards from a busy road where, if drivers turn their faces away for a brief moment may catch Roberts working on new sculptural creations under the palms - if he does not happen to be working inside this charming pink building instead.
Nevertheless, two bronze figures cast from his wooden sculpture creations welcome visitors into a quaint gallery space that lies at the intersection of past and present. It showcases, for now, work by Roberts himself, but will soon feature rotating exhibitions by local artists.
In fact, when the space holds its open house next month, on display will also be a collection of wood carvings of owls by Edroy Mackey.
This reclusive artist who lived in the area has essentially become the first artist-in-residence at Hillside House. Mackey was only one of the individuals who frequented the abandoned Hillside House and its surrounding structures when Roberts first began visiting the site for renovations.
"As opposed to chasing them away we thought it would be wonderful to, in the spirit of community, engage them in this whole process of transformation," said Roberts.
"We've been collecting a lot of Edroy's pieces to encourage him and to say to him, 'listen, we're not here to disturb you, we are here to actually add something to your life'," he continued.
"He's our first artist in residence. We met him here, we want him to stay here, and we want to encourage him to continue producing art in this space."
Such a spirit of community, explained Roberts, is what has driven the renovations and he hopes the space functions as just one of many in an urban area that is conscious of its important and rich cultural heritage.
"We're hoping to connect to other artists who like Edroy find some inspiration in this space and kind of want to congregate in this space," Roberts said.
"This all organic.
"Like Jackson Burnside said, let's be true to our history, let us be respectful of our environment, and let us just breathe life into a space so we can begin to tell our own stories. Then we can be engaged in the whole transformation of The Bahamas and we can be engaged in actually influencing the landscape. That's what this is all about."
The Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery at Hillside House is located at #25 Cumberland Street. It will hold its first open house on February 11 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and will aim to be open to the public during these daytime hours for six days a week.

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Event
Open House at Antonius Roberts Studio & Gallery

Saturday 11th February 2012  10:00 AM

Open House at Antonius Roberts Studio & Gallery Saturday, February 11, 2012 | 10am-4pm Itís hard to miss when zooming by in cars, but tucked away into the side of the slope at #25 Cumberland Street of downtown Nassau in the midst of abandoned and dilapidated structures is the newly renovated Hillside House. Once destroyed by fire and abandoned itself, the structure has been given new life by Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts as the Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery space. Roberts will open his new space to the public this Saturday, February 11 from 10am to 4pm. Don't miss out!

Click HERE to read full article by Sonia Farmer of The Guardian. Click HERE to visit Antonius Roberts' website.


News Article
An Intervention by Antonius Roberts, January 27th

Nassau, Bahamas - You are invited to

The Hansard Demolition

An Intervention by Antonius Roberts.

Opening Reception

January 27, 2011

from 6pm to 9pm at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery Market Street, Nassau.

Exhibition Runs: January 10th - February 18th, 2011...

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News Article
An Intervention by Antonius Roberts, January 27th

Nassau, Bahamas - You are invited to

The Hansard Demolition

An Intervention by Antonius Roberts.

Opening Reception

January 27, 2011

from 6pm to 9pm at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery Market Street, Nassau.

Exhibition Runs: January 10th - February 18th, 2011...

read more »


News Article
An Intervention by Antonius Roberts, January 27th

Nassau, Bahamas - You are invited to

The Hansard Demolition

An Intervention by Antonius Roberts.

Opening Reception

January 27, 2011

from 6pm to 9pm at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery Market Street, Nassau.

Exhibition Runs: January 10th - February 18th, 2011...

read more »


News Article
An Intervention by Antonius Roberts, January 27th

Nassau, Bahamas - You are invited to

The Hansard Demolition

An Intervention by Antonius Roberts.

Opening Reception

January 27, 2011

from 6pm to 9pm at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery Market Street, Nassau.

Exhibition Runs: January 10th - February 18th, 2011...

read more »


Business Listing

Antonius Roberts Studio & Gallery
Artists
  • Prospect Ridge
  • Nassau
  • Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas
Event
Antonius Roberts Exhibition
Antonius Roberts Exhibition

Monday 11th January 2010  6:00 PM

The Central Bank of the Bahamas Gallery shows new works by Bahamian artist, Antonius Roberts, inspired by the promise of spiritual enlightenment and God's unconditional love. Exhibition Runs until February 12th, 2010 Start Time: January 11th at 6:00pm End Time: January 11th at 9:00pm Where: Central Bank of the Bahamas www.antoniusroberts.com


News Article
Inspired by residency in Iowa...

When U.S. Ambassador Her Excellency Nicole Avant led the press conference about the exhibition "Master Artists of The Bahamas" which opened at The Waterloo Center for the Arts in Iowa earlier this month, she expressed hope that this move would foster rich artistic cultural exchanges for the future.The effect of that exhibition to create opportunities for exchange is already underway, for one Bahamian artist's work impacted a young American artist so deeply that she's made the trip to The Bahamas to spend this next month working by his side on a few major projects.

Sarah Deppe, a recent graduate of the University of North Iowa(UNI)in Studio Art in Sculpture, will be assisting Antonius Roberts on his new project for Baha Mar. In this project, he will train 12 aspiring craftsmen by creating beautiful benches out of discarded wood from the Baha Mar site, which will be used on West Bay Street and a future hiking trail.

"I like my artwork to have a strong environmental content, and I do this through using reclaimed materials and also for the overall theme of it to relate to the environment,"says Deppe, whose large form sculptures incorporate indigenous wood.

"I was interested in Antonius'work and his use of reusing reclaimed materials and his connection to the environment because I do a lot of that in my work, and I wanted to come down here and see what he was doing,"she continues.

The pieces that so moved Deppe were three sculptures Roberts created during his week-long residency hosted by the Waterloo Center for the Arts that coincided with the"Masters of The Bahamas"exhibition opening and symposium.

During this residency, he worked with students in a"Sculpture I"class from the University of North Iowa on public art pieces crafted out of local material--salvaged wood and stone from Sans Souci Island in the center of Cedar River in Waterloo, Iowa, which was ravaged by a flood in 2008.

It was arranged by the WCA Curator Kent Shankle, who hailed from the island that is now slowly rebuilding from destruction.

"The state itself is serious about funding public art and using art in public spaces to unify the communities,"explains Roberts."I never thought that I would be so inspired by going to a place like Iowa. But talk about diversification and tolerance and integration--I was moved."

While he guided students on how to approach the material, Roberts himself created three poignant and inspiring sculptures out of the indigenous oak and cotton tree wood, adding in stainless steel to incorporate a bit of hardware and even a stone from the river itself.

The resulting pieces -- "Mother Nature's Wings"in which the wood is carved to reveal a pair of awe-inspiring angel wings; "Colors of Sans Souci Island" in which a large river stone sits at the base of a hollow in a tall narrow piece of wood, evoking a powerful totem; and"Embrace"in which two pieces of wood which had been split apart from the disaster were brought back together again--tapped into powerful emotions about the event shared by the community.

"The wood was so beautiful and basically I just celebrated the natural shapes and forms that revealed themselves through the process,"says Roberts.

"'Embrace' has this feeling like that missing piece is being received back again and that piece is significant to me because what it represents to me is the fact that through all the negative impact of the flood, the human spirit rose above the water and it was through the human spirit that people reached out and helped each other," he continues."So that piece symbolized that whole spirit of community."

He donated the three pieces to the WCA at the end of the week and returned home to The Bahamas--but Iowa was not finished with him yet.

Soon thereafter, Deppe -- who had been away during the opening of "Master Artists of The Bahamas" and Roberts'residency -- returned and upon seeing the three moving pieces which reminded her of her own work, contacted Roberts to ask if she could spend some time with him in The Bahamas.

Funnily enough, she had been mentioned to Roberts already by a professor at UNI.

"He approached me after viewing my work and said he had a student who I should meet," remembers Roberts. "I didn't think anything of it but during the farewell reception, he came up to me and gave me this packet of her work and said he wanted me to look at it. When I saw her work I thought, you know what, she's serious."

Indeed, though she only touched down in Nassau on Sunday, Deppe has already completed sketches for some benches she hopes to work on with Roberts on the Baha Mar project and even some sketches on a larger sculpture they will be collaborating on for Roberts' new studio space downtown.

"She will bring her own twist to it," says Roberts. "I'd love to show that connection because the whole interest in recycling and respect for nature is a universal one, is a global dialogue, and to have her here actually means that we are engaged in this conversation globally."

Meanwhile she may work on other independent projects as she's staying with a community of artists at Popop Studios International Center for the Visual Arts--and hopefully may lead a discussion of her work at the end of the month-long stay.

"The people at Popop are great and very welcoming,"she says."There's a very nice community there and all around in the arts. There's a lot I think I can learn from them."

"I want to learn from Antonius and everyone here, how he makes his artwork and the materials he uses. I want to also have more experience with materials that are related to nature."

Meanwhile, Roberts himself is excited about what the month holds, looking forward to continuing a significant cultural exchange started in a place as unexpected as Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.A.

"I love to share and I open up to people that I am interested in mentoring. And this young lady from far off decided to want to come and take advantage of it and learn more,"he says."So for me that's rewarding and hopefully this will inspire others to step up and show that they are serious."

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News Article
Two artists pay 'Homage'

How can we honor the memory of those who came before us, blazed a path and set us upon it with the right values and examples?
In an exhibition, "Homage", opening next week, Damaso Gray and Antonius Roberts pay their respects to a generation now fading away through portraiture--allowing their paintings to highlight those who deserve to be remembered and who oftentimes are unfortunately overlooked.
For Exuma native Damaso Gray--who has exhibited his work in various resorts in Exuma, at The College of The Bahamas where he received his Bachelors Degree in Art Education and in Grand Bahama under the Grand Bahama Artists Association--this is the second time this year he will be exhibiting at New Providence Art and Antiques (NPAA) after displaying his work there during Transforming Spaces 2011.
During that tour--which also saw an exhibition of Roberts' earlier work in painted portraiture at The D'Aguilar Art foundation--many viewers found Gray's work similar to Roberts' earlier work, which led NPAA director Jay Koment to curate a show with both artists.
For Gray, it is exciting to share a gallery space with the renowned Roberts.
"This show feels like an accomplishment to me to exhibit with the world renowned Antonius Roberts," he says. "Mr. Roberts is in tune with the general population of the Bahamian people, he is a conservationist of our culture, landscape and surroundings."
Indeed Gray's portraiture of elderly Bahamians taps into that desire to conserve the Bahamian culture that this generation built. Having grown up in Williams Town, Exuma, Gray recalls fondly his childhood memories learning from the "old ways" of his elders and wished to dedicate the exhibition to the community who raised him and his generation.
"The show is about the way of life of these elders, being self sufficient and morally strong," he says. "I am essentially trying to preserve the memory of the villages that have raised me, in particular Williams Town, Exuma, in honor of their hard work and dedication through the saying 'it takes a village to raise a child'."
Though this feeling shines through in Gray's collection as a whole, a different emotional undertone reveals itself in individual pieces that depict these elderly treasures in compromising and heartbreaking positions.
In one, "The Signs of the Times", an elderly woman and a potcake share a sleeping space on the sidewalk, surrounded by pigeons. Gray shares that coming from Exuma where his elders played such a strong and revered role in society, it shocked and saddened him to see such scenes as this in Nassau and believes something is inherently wrong with a society that does not take care of those who have gifted the country to them.
"Grandparents used to be the cornerstone of society whose wisdom and guidance were sought with reverence, but now they are considered a burden to society and problematic," points out Gray.
"We are neglecting the elders who built this country, and it seems as if we want to forget and put them away. Of course we are making way for the younger generation, we have new ideas and new visions, but we have to also give credit to those who deserve it."
Despite this, Gray is aware that the generation gap has also caused quite a few of society's problems, and points out that the younger generation is not taking the opportunity to work with the older generations in making the country a better place.
In the diptych, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide", two elderly figures sit in front of two political signs--one for the PLP and one for the FNM.  Gray points out that he wanted to show that these people are very set in their ways, but that the younger generation could "capitalize on their mistakes" to move the country forward.
If you think that Gray's work is political, you may be far off the mark--his only use of politics in this show is to drive his point home about respecting the contributions elders made to Bahamian society.
"Our nation is more than 41 people in Parliament. It is not about politics but its about people, the people who put the politicians in power--people who have contributed without reward or recognition, who have worked tirelessly for and in their communities," he says.
Indeed, in every painting, the painstakingly detailed faces of those who stare hauntingly back at the viewer, who look wistfully into the distance or whose eyes are closed to shut out the sight of the turbulent world today convey utter respect and reverence by the artist for his subjects.
"I get my inspiration from driving or walking through impoverished communities," says Gray.  "I seek to show the beauty when and where there is considered no beauty in these areas. I do not seek to go to Paradise Island to paint a pretty picture to represent the Bahamas to the world.  The true beauty is in the landscape of the natives."
It's something that Antonius Roberts knows well, as he worked from a similar desire many years ago as a young painter. Now alongside Gray, he presents three new pieces that pay tribute to both his painterly and artistic roots.
On three gorgeous panels of madeira wood, he painted portraits of those great giants we have lost in the art world who, like Gray's subjects, deserve to be highlighted as cornerstones in the art world and in the society at large for their contributions to culture.
As a more experienced artist, Roberts also hopes that by taking part in this exhibition, he is carrying on that spirit of camaraderie displayed to him through his artistic mentors.
"I'm just in support of this artist. He's very talented," says Roberts.  "I saw his work and struggle and I remember being a young artist, I know what he's going through and I know he will resolve that."
"I think it is important for us to be there for each other and to continue for us to work within the community, collaborate and support, and for me this is my way of supporting somebody who I think is very talented."
As for Gray, whose work here will be a prelude to his imminent show "Black Roses" which will take the themes he's explored even further, he hopes the audience will be touched by his work and motivated to live more consciously.
"I want the audience to just be aware of the plight of our elders," he says.  "We think we have it hard. I just want them to think about those who are no longer physically able, those who wish they had the youth and strength to contribute to society in a positive way. I want the viewer to see that the elders are deserving of respect for trying to instill in us morals and discipline."
"Homage" opens at New Providence Art and Antiques this Thursday, November 10 at 6 p.m. and is on display until November 30. For more information, call 328-7916 or e-mail bahamasart@gmail.com.

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