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"Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems" is Trinidadian-born artist and building services engineer Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming's second volume of poetry, published by Proverse Hong Kong in March 2011.
This collection, which was the finalist for the inaugural Proverse Prize, consists of over 50 poems, a concise glossary of terms and an array of mixed media images.
In fact, one of the first things to captivate the reader is the front cover, an image created by Manoo-Rahming herself. This is indeed a perfect point of departure, so let's start there.
The cover-page is made up of seemingly torn up pieces of paper fused together to create the distinctive image of the Immortelle, which as the writer explains in her glossary, is a type of tree that "used to be planted as shade trees in coco plantations of Trinidad and Tobago".
The fiery red flowers are set against a watery background, a brilliant blue sky and whispers of cotton-wool like clouds. Visible are the many tears in the paper, strategically pieced together by Manoo-Rahming, creating a coherent whole and in this case, a picture that tells a story of a thousand words. As highlighted in the volume's introductory comments, the brilliant color of the Immortelle's flowers is reminiscent of the flames in Hindu cremation ceremonies, which draws directly on the writer's Indian descent. The cover then becomes a symbol of Manoo-Rahming's Indo-Caribbean experience and in turn, acts as a precursor for the entire collection.
This syncretism is expressed in more ways than one in the collection. Not only does Manoo-Rahming combine aspects of her Trinidadian birth place, her Bahamian home, with that of India, especially evident in the use of vernacular, she also combines the visual with the poetic - a sure indication of her skill set.
The visuals are not to be treated in isolation (though one can appreciate them independent of the verse), but rather should be considered as working in conjunction with the poems, adding a visual dimension to a particularly intimate set of words.
The seven images contained in the volume each correspond to a poem in "Immortelle and Bhandaaraa". The cover page image, for example, corresponds to a poem in memory of Ras Shorty, or Lord Shorty, who combined African rhythms with Indian instruments to create Soca. Cleverly then, there is a dual-narrative at work here and indeed in the entire collection, where the visual interacts with the text (and vice versa), which as Sandra Pouchet Paquet argues, generates a tension as well as transforming the reading experience.
Integrating visuals into a poetry collection is proving particularly popular of late with Caribbean writers, and in turn really does serve to represent two dominant forms of artistic expression in the region. Though a wonderful addition to Manoo-Rahming's volume, and indeed necessary for its overall purpose, I believe the positioning of the images has lessened their function, if only very slightly: the images are all placed together at the beginning of the collection and not, as I would expect, next to their related poems. As such, there is a little less ease to the reading experience than there might be if the images were next to their corresponding poems. That way one could experience the image in even closer proximity to its poetic counterpart so that the tension between the two forms would be heightened even further.
Nevertheless, had the publisher positioned these visual additions differently then the reader would not be bombarded with the sensory wonderfulness and psychedelic magic of "Mandala", which is the first thing that hits the reader when they open the collection.
The color in this opening image mirrors the explosion of sentiment in the poems that follow. And just like the branches of the Immortelle on the cover page, these poems reach outward, as a means of dealing with the heavy emotions addressed in the subject matter.
The collection, divided into five sections, each named after goddesses (Bhavani, Durga, Coatrischie, Hecate and Shakti), has a strong female voice. The poet grapples with a whole host of themes including life, death and even rape.
In a poem called "The Colour of Rape", for example, Manoo-Rahming skilfully poeticizes the sheer brutality of this act in such a way as to create a series of questions that interrogate the subject. In doing so, Manoo-Rahming asks what colors can effectively represent the physical, emotional and mental effects of rape: "Can a charcoal pencil / Draw grey obscure shape/ Of battered self-esteem?" The fiery provocation of "The Colour of Rape" is contrasted by earlier poems about the loss of loved ones, and as Pouchet Paquet rightly points out, "This is the work of mourning."
In fact, most of the poems in the opening sections are dedicated to people who have passed away. This part of the collection is representative of the poet's ability to move seamlessly between different memories, portraying sentiment, gratitude and grief in carefully constructed, effortless verse. And the poems do appear to be effortless as if the poet is recalling moments, not as a stream of consciousness because these are cleverly crafted words but there is certainly an ease, where the words roll off the tongue.
"Mirror Glimpses", for example, is about the loss of the poet's mother and sister. The opening verse reads: "Mama your face followed/ me to this place. It hopped/ a ride in my genes/ like a scorpion/ that smuggled itself/ from Long Island to Nassau/ in my bag of cookies. I took it as a sign: Sally will die". This poem has such immediacy and the poet's matter-of-fact tone, stating the impending death of her sister makes the verse even more hard hitting. But there's also a sweet vulnerability here, which gets to the reader, effervesces, slowly but surely.
Other poems in the collection reach out to Caribbean spaces and the region's fauna for inspiration, while others take a more inward look. See, for example, "The Poet" towards the end of the collection where Manoo-Rahming uses metaphor to poeticise the poet's role:
A poet is one who finds the rents
The ruptures in our quiltlike cores
Unravels the broken threads
Collects them into balls of fibers
Spins them into rainbow-colored yarn
Weaves an unpatterned fabric
With which she mends by hand
Gently ever so gently
Crevices in quilted psyches
Just like the poet who spins multi-colored yarn, Manoo-Rahming's "Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems" is a vibrant collection, which fuses the visual and the poetic. The volume covers a range of themes; some more harrowing than others but does so in such a way as to soothe, interrogate and stimulate the human psyche.
Manoo-Rahming was born in Trinidad in 1960. She is married to a Bahamian, and lives in Nassau, Bahamas. Lelawattee is a poet, fiction and creative non-fiction writer and essayist. She further expresses her creativity and seeks enlightenment through sculpture and drawing. She has won essay and art awards in The Bahamas. Internationally, she has won the David Hough Literary Prize (2001) and the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize (2009) for Short Fiction and was overall winner of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) Short Story Competition (2001). Her first book of poetry, "Curry Flavour", was published in 2001 in England. Lelawattee is a practicing mechanical/building services engineer and is president and co-owner, with her husband, of a consulting engineering firm in Nassau, Bahamas. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in many publications in the Caribbean, the UK, U.S. and Holland.
Leanne Haynes recently finished a PhD at the University of Essex, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research. Her thesis focused on St. Lucian literature and mapped out the island's rich literary landscape. She also completed her MA (postcolonial studies) and BA (literature) at the University of Essex. Haynes has presented material at conferences in the UK and Europe. She is a keen creative writer and amateur photographer, with publications in the UK and U.S.
o Reprinted with the permission of arcthemagazine.com.
This week, writer, anthropologist and cultural activist Nicolette Bethel answers 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.
1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Not a clue. I would have to say something to do with Shakespeare in Paradise, which has been well received, not just at home but around the region, or something to do with The College of The Bahamas' Bahamas@Forty Conference, where COB students presented papers that knocked the socks off adults.
2. What's your least favorite book?
Can't pick just one. Let's just say many things that are self-published, especially if they are being handed out on the side of the road.
3. What's your favorite genre of literature?
Truthfully? Murder mysteries. Not thrillers. Mysteries.
4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
I hate these questions. Let me come back to that.
5. Coffee or tea?
Finally something I can answer!! Coffee.
6. What book are you reading now?
1) "The Wizard of the Crow" by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. 2) "Redemption in Indigo" by Karen Lord. 3) "Fire in a Dead Man's Eye" by Madison Hill. I'm not including the books I'm reading for the research I'm doing. Is that OK?
7. What project are you working on now?
1) Shakespeare in Paradise, especially "Speak the Speech II" and "Sammie Swain". 2) Poems for my collection "Mama Lily and the Dead". 3) A trio of research papers from the past two years.
8. What's the last book that surprised you?
It wasn't a book, it was a presentation on climate change and The Bahamas given by Margo Blackwell at the Bahamas@Forty Conference. Basically, we're doomed. We're on the top 10 list of countries to disappear beneath the ocean in the next hundred years. And at the same time, Andros has remarkable environmental qualities that we need to respect and protect, not least of all because they can affect and help to respond to climate change.
9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
None of the above. I prefer scrap.
10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Crooked Island or Eleuthera.
11. What's the most memorable book you've ever read?
The Holy Bible, aka the King James Version. It's hard to forget much of what I read in it.
12. Which writer do you have a secret crush on?
Earl Lovelace. When you meet him, you know why.
13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My mother and my father.
14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
Whoever works out how to stop The Bahamas from disappearing under the ocean in the next hundred years.
15. Who is your favorite living writer?
Toni Morrison, Kamau Brathwaite, George Lamming or Earl Lovelace. Take your pick.
16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise, when I catch it. Otherwise sunset.
17. What role does the writer have in society?
Funny you should ask that. You can find my answer on YouTube.
18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
I'm not going to tell you. It's too embarrassing.
19. What wouldn't you do without?
20. What's your definition of beauty?
Kindness. A sense of humor. True interest in other people.
Freeport, Grand Bahama - Enjoy
Afternoon Tea at Mamadoo's Restaurant.
Available any day we are open
between 11:30am and 4pm. Reserve your table now.
Perfect for a business meeting, birthdays, showers, or any gathering of friends!
Enjoy plain or coconut scones, clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
Sandwiches (Cucumber and Mint Cream Cheese; Prosciutto with Asparagus;
and Salmon Rosette with Caviar)...
Atlanta, GEORGIA - Bahama Mamas, Ann Marie Turner and Gaylene Francis in association with MIX MASTER DAVID presented The Celebration of The 38th Anniversary of The Bahamas Independence under the theme "United in Love and Service" hosted by Bahamian national and international media personality AFRICA-ALLAH of www.diradiocast.com.
101 year old
Elizabeth Jennings Nee Kennedy aka 'Mama DeeDee' sat for this photo
with her new portrait given to her by her granddaughter Eustacia
"Mrs. Rachel Elizabeth Jennings nee Kennedy
expresses great appreciation to Mr. Jamaal Rolle - The Celebrity Artist
and TheBahamasWeekly.com for the gift of this portrait," said
granddaughter, Eustacia Jennings, who won the 2nd portrait in the 5
portrait giveaway which started in January...
Having just observed and celebrated our 40th anniversary as a purported 'independent' nation, we are at the point where serious reflection and introspection may be in order. I am not and have never been a prophet of doom and gloom. My position is that while we do have myriad individual and societal challenges, the best days are yet ahead of us.
There are six main things that matter, in my view, as we go forward. These are devoid of political affiliation and/or religious persuasion. Look at the following: the breakdown of the traditional family; massive unemployment and under-employment; sexual permissiveness; a too large government bureaucratic system; too much taxation and a failure of our leaders, across the board, to conceptualize and implement needed but simple solutions.
The traditional family is under assault and has been so for quite some time. No one should expect societal norms to remain static but when it becomes acceptable for children to grow up in a so-called single-parent home, where there is no father or father figure, the female is relegated to rearing the child or children on her own.
We all agree that a male is needed and desired to show and live out maleness to our impressionable youthful males and boys. A female is simply not equipped, I suggest, to do these things. Today we have too many effeminate boys and young men. They have come of age expecting mama and/or their female friends and lovers to accommodate them in foolishness, life support and material advantages.
As a result, we have too many marginalized boys, youthful males and big grown husky men who are totally incapable or unwilling of providing for themselves; they lack marketable skills and, for sure, they are too dependent on the females of the species. Our jail is filled to the maximum with such males while the females have come to dominate society and the economy.
Unemployment and under-employment continue to plague us as a people. The political and insidious culture of dependency is large and in charge. As a direct result, the traditional entrepreneurial spirit which our parents and forefathers had seems to have gone by the wayside. Most of us now seek a government job and/or the economic support of our member of Parliament.
In our schools, we have failed to educate and to equip our graduating students with marketable skills and/or a technical vocation by which those who do not go on to college or university may earn a real living. As a result, too many of them end up joining the ranks of the unemployed and languish on the blocks. A life of crime awaits many of them as a last resort.
Sexual permissiveness should be a national concern but our leaders themselves are too busy getting or seeking to get their share of loose and available sex. Allowing your wife, girlfriend or daughter to seek a government job is akin to sending them into the lion's den.
Those in positions of authority or their minions often promise a job but will make it conditional on a sexual favor.
In our churches and within other areas of national life, the situation is the same. Someone is always preying on someone, be it man, woman, boy or girl. Even our school-aged children are subjected to sexual predators and gross acts of indecency by fellow students and/or teachers.
Successive administrations have padded the ranks of the civil service with political supporters and cronies, ad nauseum. The national budget eats up in excess of 75 percent of the same to cover salaries and other perks for civil servants and current and retired politicians. Our national infrastructure is crumbling and our educational and medical plants are catching hell because there is no surplus money to invest in them. Government is simply too big and only stifles economic and societal growth. It has become a literal cancer and must either be placed in remission or, where possible, cut off or out.
We all agree that a government needs funds to operate. In recent months a slew of new taxes and fees have been ushered in almost under the economic radar. Businesses and individuals are now funding a bloated administration. Most of the funds brought in are disbursed just as quickly on all sorts of things which are not of any great priority.
Each year, we purchase more and more vehicles for police, and we enter into contracts for the purchase of additional naval vessels for a largely ineffective Royal Bahamas Defence Force. Why is it that with our close and cozy connection to the U.S. and the People's Republic of China that we are not able to obtain a half dozen or so donated used naval vessels?
Why are we unable to access a dozen or so water pump trucks to assist with water removal in flood-prone areas of New Providence? Why are we unable to bring in medical personnel and specialists on short- to medium-term contracts to beef up our medical facilities throughout the country? Simple: our leaders are not dealing with those things that really matter.
There is also too much governmental red tape and interference to encourage the development and growth of national productivity. To put the icing on the cake, our leaders tend to focus on things that really do not matter. Stem cell research is one of them.
While I totally support the same, especially the herculean and bold efforts of Peter Nygard, is this a frontburner issue for the growth of The Bahamas as a nation? Legislation is being moved quickly through Parliament to accommodate this medical procedure but our legislators are unable or unwilling to debate and pass 'Marco's Law'? Remember the electoral promise of Dr. Bernard Nottage?
Web shops are still operating with impunity and the operators are still raking in big bucks at the expense of ordinary Bahamians while the government, and our people get nothing or very little in return. Why can't they find the time to move a simple amendment to the Lotteries and Gaming Act to cure, regulate and tax this defect? They are afraid of the Bahamas Christian Council, a non-elected body, with absolutely no connection to the real world, in my submission.
Within a few short weeks, the hurricane season will come into full swing. What preventative measures have been put in place, if any? Where is the NEMA personnel and what is its director, Captain Stephen Russell, saying to the nation? Gutters and drains still don't appear to be working in New Providence.
Just the other day we had a little bit of rain and most roads were impassable or if they were, motorists and pedestrians had to exercise due care and attention. Yet another "study" has been done over in Pinewood and South Beach to address the decades old problem of flooding and water removal. This study, I suggest, will go where all the others have gone - in the trash bin.
We are not concentrating on the things that matter, my fellow Bahamians. We are on cruise control and micro-management. There is an urgent need for a five-year national plan.
We need to cut spending, reduce the size of the civil service, reduce the number of parliamentary seats, eliminate taxes to the bare minimum, impose term limitations on politicians, appoint an independent inspector general to police and investigate all ministries, corporations and governmental departments and to introduce National Health Insurance immediately.
Business as usual is over. I serve notice now to the powers that be that as soon as a vacancy becomes available in New Providence, a new individual will offer for election to the House of Assembly. A new day is about to dawn in The Bahamas and the dictum of the late great Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield will come into play.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
The incident that resulted in
Trinidadian/ Brooklyn-based artiste
album "Standing" slated to be
released in 2011 had its beginning in 2008 when Mr. Lee G went to
Trinidad to promote his music. Since he did not grow up in his birth
country the artiste wanted to let "his people" know about his music and
introduced a CD dedicated to his mother, entitled "Mama". Two weeks
later he was invited to perform at a stage show in Trinidad. When the
after party was over Mr. Lee G left the venue alone and was approached
by a vehicle and 6 shots were fired at him. 3 bullets hit him in his
arm, back and leg.
He has been spreading his message musically for many years blending
various musical influences into his culture reggae sound. As lee G says,
whats makes the difference is "the soul in the music".
Freeport, Grand Bahama - We are ready to party 'cause "
It's YOUR Birthday"!
Mamadoo's is excited to be celebrating our
customers' November and December birthdays. If it's YOUR birthday, email us your name so we can add it to our Mega Birthday Cake on
December 18th. Invite all your friends to come join in the celebration.
We feature a DJ, complimentary Appetizers, 2 for 1 Drink Specials all night, and Selected Beers, 2 for $6, and of course a slice of Cake with Your Name on it!
THE LIFE & TIMES OF
SGT. 2161 HUGH EDISON MINNIS, SR.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
It is said every life has its own pathway and Journey to follow and thus was the life of Hugh Edison Minnis. Affectionately called "Edison or Minnis".
A Time to Be Born
On March 31st, 1968 a bouncing, bright eyed baby boy was born to the parentage of William Minnis and Ethral Higgs both deceased. He was given the names Hugh Edison, which means "Bright in Mind and Spirit" and was the second of two sons born to this couple. As he grew he lived up to his name, playing and pulling tricks on his friends and siblings which led them to say he was mischievous. Being an energetic and enthusiastic child he was often inquisitive, always asking questions and wanting to know "who and what was happening". He also liked acquiring the latest gadgets and toys so he could play with and dismantle them to see how they worked. We just had to mention that he was a mama's boy! He was her baby boy and would tattle on all the other children to "Mammy" as he affectionately called her. Even though his siblings would be mad, he didn't care he received hugs and treats from Mammy for being the watchman. His childhood was an adventurous and happy one.
A Time For Education and Career
He was educated through the government school system, where he attended the Claridge Primary School, C. I. Gibson Jr. and then moved onto the R. M. Bailey High School, where he excelled in track and field and received other academic accolades. Edison was an industrious young man and found early employment at the Lyford Cay Club where he served as a Waiter for a number of years. He then moved to Super Value Ltd, where he was employed as the Produce Manager until he was called by the Royal Bahamas Police Force in 1991, and was a part of the B and C Squad 1991-1992. As an upright Officer he worked tirelessly and respectfully in a career that he held very dear for twenty-one years. Even after being diagnosed with his illness, he never shirked his duties because he knew what he was working towards. Being recently promoted to the rank of Sargent, he was very proud and appreciative, and felt that his labor was not in vain.
A Time For Family Life
Edison loved people and loved life. In the year 1991 Inez Minnis (nee Nottage) caught his eye. They dated for many years before jumping the broom in 1994 and making a commitment to love and cherish until death did they part.
Time For Challenges
Edison became ill and was diagnosed with kidney failure. He bravely fought and ran his race, and on Monday 23rd, April 2012 he passed away and was called home in the late evening hours.
He called his sister just a few days before and said "Nicky this place is like heaven, you'll should come and see, my body feels so good and it's so peaceful here." His pain is no more and he is resting. "To God Be The Glory."
Left to celebrate his life and hold cherished memories are his loving and dedicated Wife: Inez Minnis; (1) Son: Edison Minnis Jr.; (3) Daughters: Azaria & Sanaa Minnis and Tanisha Newbold; (2) Grandchildren: Anija Minnis and Theodore Roberts Jr.; (4) Brothers: Chadwick Kemp, Sargent 1661 William Minnis, Roscoe and Ronald Minnis of Fort Pierce Fla.; (7) Sisters: Donna Dean of Fort Pierce Fla., Valerie Barr, KevaMae Kemp, Andreanette, Jennifer & Sheryl Gaitor & Eleanor Smith; Step Mother: Montrella Minnis of Fort Pierce Fla.; (11) Sisters-in-law: Shirley Kemp, Stacey Minnis, Millestine Smith, Norine Moxey, Ruth, Murriel, Prudence, Christine, Aneka, Vanessa and Winifred Nottage; (9) Brothers-in-law: Herbert Barr, Benjamin Newbold, Anthony, Donnie, Dave, Fenrick & Jemerson Nottage, Rexville Smith and Prince Moxey; Aunts and Uncles: Othman and Carl Higgs of Rochester New York and family, Simeon Rolle of Fort Pierce Fla., Zilla Higgs of Rochester New York, Lighty Adderley, Gloria & Uriah Sturrup, Melrose Burrows, Prolene Smith and Family, Patsy, Mary Conchita, Jenkin, Ezekiel & Eugene Nottage and their Families; Numerous Nieces and Nephews including: Doris Munroe & Sequetor Hooper of Fort Pierce Fla., Ricardo and Roseann Christie, Kevin and Raquel Edgecombe, Herbert Jr. and Jasmine Barr, P/C 3042 Ovando and Krystal Kemp, P/C Lavardo and Charmaine Kemp, Tomiko, Terry, Precious and Dylan Kemp, R/C 3663 Ferrice Kemp, Pedrica, Pedra, Pedro Jr., Kareem, Shakoby, Roscoe, Janell and Jeremiah Minnis, Valerie Barr, Lorenzo Darling, Kennedy Reid, Clint and Lakeisha Lockhart, Janice and Travis Forbes, Alexis Gibson, Ashley Knowles, Kaeley Rolle, Shelton Miller, Tamal Curry, Ebony Gerenus, Rex Smith Jr., Aledeon Miller, Jada and Prince Moxey Jr., Shantique Coakley, Ramon, Davia, Danekam Aliyah, Zaia, Shadae, Tyrek, Fenrick Jr., Matthew, Fenron, Antoinette, Tyran, Lena and Anthony Nottage & Justin Spence; A host of other Relatives and Friends: Joyce Roberts & family, Harrison Wilson & family, Roy Smith, Cardinal & Mella Rolle & family, Dwayne Harris & family, Audley & Marjorie Rahming & family, Drs. Leon & Elvira Higgs & family, Dotlean & Annalee Rolle, Lloyd, Jamerson, Albert & Lieutenant Leslie Rolle, Sgt.1601 Alfred & Cheryl Kemp, WRC.555 Idamae and Byron Russell, Retired CPL. Virgil McPhee & family, Brenda McPhee, Isamae Seymour & family, Paulette Taylor & family, Gary & Enamae Pinder & family, George & Teresita Jones & family, Keith Forbes & family, Catherine Roker & family, Theodore Roberts & family, Carl & Eleanor Higgs & family, Lenamae Munroe & family, Hestine Clarke & family, Alvin Hepburn & family, Ovando Collie, Trevor Munnings & the East Street Boys, Nadine & Brad Frazier, Shirley Farrington & family, Marilyn Hepburn & family, Lavern Kelly & Family, Sylvia, Martha, Linda & Verlene Duvalier & family, Deborah Nabbie & family, Sharmaine Sturrup & family, Rachel Joseph & family, Marva Cornish & family, Benjamin Dames & family, Teniel Kelly & family, Julian & Cherry Butler, Cydlaura Rolle & family, Paula Hamilton & family, Michelle Laing & family, Bernice Wilson & family, Joanne Johnson & family, Fred Rolle & family, Harry Brown & family, Simeon Munroe & family, Gaynell Gilbert & family, Thelma Storr & family, Sheena Johnson & family, George & Cynthia Morris & family, Monalee Etienne & family, Hilda & Harry Johnson & family, Daphne Knowles & family, Judy Cox & the Burrows family, Linda Davis & family, Roxanne, David & Maxine Gibson & family, Debra & Dwayne Josey, Vernalee Miller & family, Natasha Sweeting & family, Francis & Clinton Whylly & family, Darnell Miller & family, Hasting & Clyde Charlton & family, Superintendent Ismella Davis, ASP Dennis Dames, ASP Kevin Mortimer and the entire staff of the Airport Police Station especially P/C 3122 Sterling Seymour, The Hon. Tommy Turnquest, Minister for National Security, Commissioner of Police, Ellison Greenslade and the entire Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Dialysis Center, Nurses and Staff of Uchee Pines Medical Institute, The Fox Hill community, the entire Commonwealth Blvd, Elizabeth Estates family and many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
May His Soul Find Great Rest!
Following their successful inaugural exhibition in 2011, the Public Treasury Art Program is preparing an equally stunning group display in the Pubic Treasury Building for 2012, opening May 18 - one that takes a departure from the 2011 all-women "Bahama Mama" tribute to female Bahamian artists and gives Bahamian male artists a platform in "Nurturing Brotherhood".
This exhibition, however, will not only be a chance for male artists to shine but also puts the importance of positive male relationships in the spotlight. Every one of the 16 male Bahamian artists invited to contribute to the group exhibition paired with a high school student in order to produce work together.
Curator of the PTAP, Keisha Oliver, points out that unlike last year's exhibition, more emphasis is placed on the process of meaningful exchange for a better future of artists and self-aware young men than the end exhibition itself.
"We often hear the expression 'Where are the good young men of today, what's happening to them?'" says Oliver. "Nurturing Brotherhood is a positive response and affirmation that talented men are here in The Bahamas and they're just waiting to be encouraged and grow."
"Nurturing Brotherhood for me is relevant is in a time of escalated violence and crime that always seem to come back to young men, so it's a positive response to those negative claims and gestures."
With help from the Ministry of Education, PTAP selected sixteen male high school students--and one student from junior high--who displayed promise in arts through school and in nation-wide competitions, including three such students from Freeport and one from Abaco.
"They were so excited as young students to be selected to work alongside artists they know and hold in high regard," says Oliver. "Likewise the mentors were over the moon because I think we take for granted in our successful professions the sharing of skills and care that can impact other lives, so to see that growth just makes you so proud."
Over a period of weeks, the pair worked closely together to provide one piece from the mentor and one piece from the student for display in the Nurturing Brotherhood exhibition. The opportunity provided the students with hands-on guidance in their creative expression and the chance to see male Bahamian artists making a living through their talents in different ways.
With participating artists including Allan Wallace, Andret John, Anthony Morley, Damaso Gray, Desmond Darville, Dion Lewis, Ellery Deveaux, Jace McKinney, Kenon Grant, Kishan Munroe, Lou Lihou, Omar Richardson, Scharad Lightbourne, Sheldon Saint, Shieko Hoyte, Theodore Sealy and Zyandric Jones, there was quite a range of inspiration for the budding artists.
"We wanted to provide a realistic scope to students to help them understand that artist professions range--from the tourism sector, to someone who places art in public spaces, to some who travel the world," says Oliver.
"Showing these young men that have artistic talents that working in a creative space is important, it gives them options," she continues. "We have to encourage these young people that this is an option or else art and culture will die. It's about showing them we appreciate them and we want them to become the men that these artists are."
Indeed, the pieces in "Nurturing Brotherhood" promise to be a poignant display of inspiring mentorship, providing direct reflections of the mentor's individualized style and subject matter in the impressive pieces by the up-and-coming generation of emerging Bahamian artists.
But most importantly is the guidance and inspiration provided by these mentors outside of art itself. In a time where Bahamian society is losing its young men to violence and crime and the graduating classes of the College of The Bahamas reflect an alarming low for male graduates, cultural programs--like the National Bench Program by Antonius Roberts, Junkanoo shack activities and now PTAP's activity--work to change the dynamic. Such programs not only provide positive outlets for and creative opportunities for young men, but also the chance to work with positive male role models they can emulate.
"The mentorship to me seemed more important than the exhibition," says Oliver. "The intention is to equip students with tools and skills but ultimately an appreciation for relationship-building, collaboration and creative independence. It's a life-learning experience, for them to be selected for this."
Indeed, for the students involved, the opportunity is a game changer, and Oliver points out that the relationships formed these past few weeks will continue long after the Nurturing Brotherhood exhibition has opened, making this a monumental event in shaping the minds and creative talents of the next generation.
"I think if the artists don't have hectic schedules and the students are willing, the option to keep working together has been opened up," says Oliver. "There's also us doing it again in the future. We definitely want to continue the program, it's something that can progress from here on in and can be something good."
"Nurturing Brotherhood" opens at the Public Treasury Building on East Street North this Friday, May 18 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. and will remain on display for five months. For more information, visit www.ptapbahamas.blogspot.com or e-mail email@example.com.