Smith and Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART and CULTURE’ Issue No. 346 Sharing Art and Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to se


Smith and Benjamin’s
Issue No. 346

Sharing Art and Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

“Mother’s Blessing” (2018) by Bahamian artist Jamaal Rolle
• • •
Rolle, known as The Celebrity Artist, placed brush to canvas to
commemorate the Royal Wedding of the now Duke and Duchess
of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.


Friday, May 25th, 2018


up and coming
art & cultural events



Saturday, May 26th


C O N C E R T :

The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra presents:
An Evening of Chamber Music

TOMORROW: Saturday, May 26th
Government House Ballroom

The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra presents its annual spring concert featuring guest soloist Dion Cunningham. Join us for an evening of wonderful music and be sure to stay for wine and hors d’oeuvres after the concert. Tickets are $20 and are available at Logos Bookstore and all locations of Custom Computers. For more information or to reserve seats, contact the Orchestra at or via Facebook message.

CLICK HERE for the BNSO Facebook page.



Sunday, May 27th


A R T / G A L L E R Y :

4th Sundays @ the NAGB

THIS WEEKEND: Sunday, May 27th, 2018 | 12:30pm–5pm
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

NAGB 4th Sunday

Every 4th Sunday of the month, the NAGB hosts FREE tours of its current exhibitions. The NAGB’s 4th Sundays add an exciting element to the visitor experience, offering opportunities to connect with and learn more about the artwork on display in the nation’s National Art Gallery. This month, the Gallery is proud to showcase these two exhibitions: “Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value” and “We Suffer to Remain”.

Tours will be held every 30 minutes beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 5pm. Interested persons can stop in to the NAGB’s Mixed Media Store to sign up for an available tour and meet the Gallery’s wonderful docents.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Volunteer docent, kindly contact Education Officer, Katrina Cartwright at or call 328-5800.

CLICK HERE for event page at NAGB’s website.


art competitions
and summer camps


Furniture Plus Art Competition: “Art from the Heart”

Submission Deadline:
Saturday, June 30th at 6pm

Calling all young artists aged 8–18! Enter your masterpiece and win over $2,000 in prizes including a brand new Kids Bedroom Suite and more. Plus have your amazing artwork
featured on the Furniture Plus delivery fleet for all to see.

The competition is open to all students* residing in The Bahamas within these age categories: A. 8-9 years old B. 10-12 years old C. 13-15 years old D. 16-18 years old. There will be one winner from each category. Prizes are: (1) Artwork showcased on Furniture Plus vehicles; (2) $2,000 Gift card to Furniture Plus; (3) Public exhibition of art work; (4) FREE Art workshop at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB); (5) A kit of art supplies, and more!

The theme of the competition is: “Art from the Heart”. Participants are asked to create from the heart a beautiful picture of the place where they feel most at home, happy and free. This could be within the house they live, in their own bedroom, at a friend’s home, or by Grandma’s house. Maybe, it’s outside in a garden, at the beach, or on a boat. In the family islands, or in the city, playing with animals, or on the court shooting hoops. Kids are asked to use their imagination to draw or paint that place where they feel connected to themselves and full of joy.

Email for full rules and entry form.

CLICK HERE to learn more.


The NAGB Mixed Media Art Summer Camp

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is pleased to announce the return of its annual summer camp, the Mixed Media Art Summer Camp. This year, kids ages 5 to 17 are welcomed to the NAGB, where they’ll spend their time learning visual art techniques, exploring different avenues of creativity and developing their knowledge of art.

This year, the NAGB is going “Back to da Island” as they explore indigenous Bahamian crafts like straw work, basket weaving, shellcraft, wood carving and much more, in traditional and not so traditional ways. Students will learn traditional craft-making techniques and experiment with utilising those techniques in unusual ways, all while learning about the stories from and the histories of the islands where these different crafts originated. The exploration of materials and techniques will pay homage to Bahamian crafts in their original form while pushing it into the realm of fine art, building a bridge between two equally important forms of creative expression.

Students will be divided into three age groups: 5-7 years, 8-12 years and 13-17 years. This will afford campers with a comprehensive learning experience that takes age specific developmental stages into account. Each week has been allocated a sub-theme, all of which follow a sequential order. Work from the National Collection that relates to each theme will be used as teaching aids.

CLICK HERE for full details at the NAGB website.


art & culture news
from the bahamas


Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan interacting with scientist from Allen Institute.

Bahamian artist joins leading research institute as their first Artist-in-Residence

Renowned artist will collaborate with Institute scientists during coming year.

The Allen Institute, founded by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen, today announced that Bahamian conceptual artist Tavares Strachan has joined the Allen Institute as the Institute’s first Artist-in-Residence. As a globally-recognized artist who works on a massive scale from space to the arctic to living systems and human design, Strachan often explores the intersection of art, science, and the environment, making the unseen visible.

As Artist-in-Residence, he will have interactions with scientists across multiple fields – from neuroscientists and cell biologists, to bioengineers and computational modelers. In addition, Tavares expects to interface with many leading technology organizations in the Seattle region.

“It’s a great opportunity to interact with scientists at the cutting edge of technology in their fields. Having access to that kind of science just doesn’t happen in regular life,” says Strachan.

Tavares will be hosted by The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute dedicated to exploring the landscape of bioscience to identify and fund pioneers around the globe with ideas that advance knowledge and make the world better. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at the Allen Institute website.

Lavar Munroe Gun Dogs

Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe will showcase his work "Gun Dogs" at MAXXI in Rome this June.

Bahamian artist in new Rome show

The works of almost 40 artists from Africa and the Diaspora, including Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe, come together to design the space of a contemporary city, the mirror of a society in constant transformation at MAXXI, the National Museum of the XXI Century Arts in Rome, Italy.

Is it possible to live together in a space that seems to be composed of insurmountable differences? Is it possible to build a portrait of a city of which all are inhabitants but at the same time foreigners? With the “AFRICAN METROPOLIS. An Imaginary City” exhibition, curators Simon Njami and Elena Motisi realized this concept for the Second Italy-Africa Conference organized in Rome by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. MAXXI focuses on the African continent not only to offer an overview of a scene polyhedral and intensely artistically expressive, but also to present a contemporary image of the city, a possible city of cities.

The exhibition presents a picture of African creativity in the light of the great social, economic and cultural transformations of the contemporary through the works of renowned artists including El Anatsui, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Heba Amin, Abdoulaye Konaté, Ouattara Watts, and others. What emerges is a complex landscape from which the intimate relationships between the various African countries and their communities emerge, the continuous dialogue with spiritual, artisanal and social traditions, the critical re-reading of colonialism, apartheid and their current outcomes. The attention to the themes of peace and security, themes that mix and merge, giving life to the portrait of a cosmopolitan city in which the inhabitant modifies and is modified by the environment that surrounds it.

CLICK HERE for more information at MAXXI.
CLICK HERE for more at Art Forum.

Mothers-Blessing-By-Jamaal-Rolle-5b044f5d20a1d  880

“Mother’s Blessing”, as depicted by Bahamian Celebrity Artist, Jamaal Rolle.

Bahamian artist commemorates Royal Wedding with “Mother’s Blessing”

by Jamaal Rolle

Premier Bahamian ‘celebrity artist’ Jamaal Rolle recently placed brush to canvas to commemorate the Royal Wedding of the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The painting entitled “Mother’s Blessing” depicts a heavenly image of the late Princess Diana as she smiles on the new union of her son Harry and Meghan embracing with a kiss on their wedding day.

Jamaal Rolle previously met Prince Harry during his visit to The Bahamas on March 4th, 2012, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. During Prince Harry’s visit, Jamaal presented the young Prince with a portrait that he created. Delightfully receiving the portrait, Prince Harry exclaimed “your work is absolutely brilliant, thank you so much”.

Jamaal Rolle is a world-renowned Bahamian “Celebrity Artist”, having painted portraits of many influential figures in history and society. Mr Rolle’s work has been featured in numerous publications and news coverage, such as People Magazine, the Huffington Post, BBC News, Washington Post and CBS News. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Bahamas Weekly.


Bahamian author Amanda Diedrick with her book "Those Who Stayed: The Tale of the Hardy Few Who Built Green Turtle Cay."

Bahamian author named finalist for Independent Book Awards

Bahamian author Amanda Diedrick has been named a finalist in the 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Regional Non-Fiction category) for her book, Those Who Stayed: The Tale of the Hardy Few Who Built Green Turtle Cay.

Those Who Stayed details the fascinating, often surprising history of Green Turtle Cay, a small Abaco island that played an important role in shaping modern Bahamian life. The full-colour, 185-page book includes 200 historic images of Green Turtle Cay, two dozen oil paintings by world-renowned Bahamian artist and historian, Alton Lowe, and several never-before-published, first-hand accounts of 20th century Abaco life.

Presented by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (NGIBA) program recognizes and honours excellence in independent publishing. Each year, the program awards more than 60 monetary prizes and trophies to independent authors and publishers worldwide.

“Among independent writers, the NGIBAs are held in extremely high regard, so I’m thrilled to be named a finalist,” said Ms. Diedrick. “To be recognized as one of the top five independent authors in my category around the world is a huge honour.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Bahamas Chronicle.


A generous donation of $150,000 to sponsor 15-20 students per annum for three years, was announced at BTVI’s recent graduation. It is the single largest private donation in the institution’s history via the establishment of the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship. From left to right are BTVI’s Chairman, Kevin Basden; Minister of Education, the Honourable, Jeffrey Lloyd; Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Dionisio D’Aguilar, son of the late Vincent D’Aguilar; Ms. F. Marina D’Aguilar, wife of the late Vincent D’Aguilar, and BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson. To the right is a life size portrait of the late Mr. D’Aguilar. (Photo by Shantique Longley)

D’Aguilar Family to fund $150,000 in BTVI Scholarships

The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) has received the single largest private donation in its history through the establishment of the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship.

The late Mr. D’Aguilar’s wife, F. Marina D’Aguilar, made the presentation along with her sons – the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism, and Dayne, with their respective wives, Saskia and Linda — at BTVI’s recent graduation exercise. The class of 2018 had 250 graduates.

Mr. D’Aguilar was a respected businessman, electrical engineer and philanthropist. His family’s generous donation to BTVI is valued at $150,000 for its first three years and will provide funding for 15 to 20 students annually with significant financial aid for tuition and books in numerous areas of study. Recipients will be considered on the basis of need and merit in all age groups.

“The family is delighted to be supporting programmes where Bahamians can learn important skills so they can compete in the local market for steady and well-paying jobs. The courses taught at BTVI not only build solid careers, they help build the nation, and that’s why we decided to financially support this fine institution,” said Ms. D’Aguilar in a statement following the graduation. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full story at Bahamas Chronicle.


Portrait of the artist, Jalan Harris.

Bahamian artist opens her first solo show which celebrates women and examines motherhood

Bahamian artist Jalan Harris opens her inaugural exhibition entitled “Sankofa: The Madonna Diaries” at Doongalik Studios on Thursday, May 31st from 6-9pm.

‘SANKOFA’ is a word in the Twi language from the Akan tribe in Ghana which means, ‘to go back and get it’. A bird most commonly represents Sankofa with its head turned backwards, carrying a previous egg in its mouth dropping it onto its back. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” The other representation of ‘Sankofa’ is a stylized heart.

“Sankofa: The Madonna Diaries” is a celebration of women and their ability to sustain life. The collection of works examines the tales of early motherhood, revealing the social and personal expectation of childbearing and the delight and challenges of childrearing, juxtaposed with its unspoken and tabooed truths.

The artist, a native of Freeport who obtained her Associate of Art at the former College of The Bahamas, stated from personal experience: “To create a cohesive body of work with a young child was indeed a balance I had to achieve. Society expects women to choose between their careers and professional aspirations or motherhood. However, it is possible to do both.”

The Exhibition will be on display until Wednesday, June 13 and gallery hours are Monday–Wednesday, 10am–4pm. Further information can be obtained by contacting the gallery at or by telephone at 394-1886.

CLICK HERE for exhibition’s Facebook event page.

dario Erics Ungrateful

Dreams comes true for Bahamian filmmaker

by Jeffarah Gibson

It was a night on which dreams came true for Dario Poitier, who was named the Bahamas Film Festival’s 2018 Rising Star as he celebrated the sold-out debut of his film “Ungrateful” at Atlantis last Saturday.

For the up-and-coming producer, it was a beautiful occasion that allowed him the opportunity to fulfil his years-long dream of transitioning from playwright to filmmaker. And he was genuinely moved that audiences at the red carpet event asked for a second part to the film. Guests came from near and far for the screening. Some even flew in from Ohio and New York.

“The turnout was unbelievable. The movie was viewed by a sold-out audience who was not just wowed by a Dario Erics Production, but a royal Atlantis welcome powered by ALIV. The crowd was a mixture of all classes and races. It was good to come together as one,” Dario told Tribune Weekend.

A highlight of the night was a surprise presentation made by the Bahamas Film Festival and Bahamasair. “The Bahamas Film Festival honoured me as the 2018 recipient of the Rising Star Award. The audience than erupted with cheers.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on pg 11 of The Tribune Weekend.


My Bahamas Sponge participates in intnl trade show in Atlanta

by Andrew Burrows

Bahamian company, My Bahamas Sponge, made its inaugural international tradeshow day view On May 1-3 at the IDS Spring Show in Atlanta, Georgia. The show was a cash and carry event featuring exhibitors selling a variety of products including jewelry, clothing, and household items. The buyers at the show were mainly individuals and smaller boutique-type stores.

My Bahamas Sponge, whose motto is “100% Natural 100% Bahamian – we have a sponge for everything” was the only exhibitor selling sea sponges at this event, and showcased mainly bath and decorative sea sponges.

My Bahamas Sponge owner Andrew Burrows stated, “This was a fabulous opportunity to get my feet wet in the trade show market. I was able to establish relationships with several business owners, as well as to broker an agreement to showcase my sea sponges in a permanent showroom in Dallas, Texas. It was also a valuable learning experience from the point of view of understanding the export market better, along with the necessary logistics involved. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at The Bahamas Weekly.


Top: Model wearing one of Stephanie's designs. Bottom: Stephanie and her daughter wear one of her mother/daughter combinations.

Spotlight on a Bahamian fashion designer

Stephanie Roberts-Treco

She credits both God and YouTube with her success in the fashion industry, and has proven that even in a small country like The Bahamas, social media can help you accomplish your most creative goals. Stephanie explains how she went from experimenting with crochet jewellery to making women’s sartorial dreams come true.

by Cara Hunt

Stephanie Roberts-Treco is technically a YouTube success story. She may not be a beauty guru or gamer with millions of followers but like so many others around the world, she has been able to use the social media platform to help her launch a lucrative career.

Her successful fashion brand Stephie Designs got its start when her brother one day made an off-hand remark that he liked a certain style of crocheted necklaces.

“We were talking about how do they make those and he said, ‘You should look on YouTube. Everything is on YouTube.’ And so I did and that is how I started making jewellery to sell,” she told Tribune Weekend.

The decision to begin a more creative career came at the perfect time for Stephanie. “I was 37 and I was in Nassau running my company Omni Supplies, but I was ready for a change. It was the right time.”

When she and her husband left Nassau to run the Tilloo Pond Resort in Abaco, it seemed the best time to also try jewellery making in earnest. “When we moved back to Abaco, God led me to this path. This is His work,” she said. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on pg 4 of The Tribune Weekend.
CLICK HERE to visit Stephie Designs’ Facebook page.


Bahamian visual artist and cultural grande dame, Nettica “Nettie” Symonette.

Celebrating a Bahamian icon

by Alesha Cadet

To celebrate the life of cultural icon Nettica “Nettie” Symonette on the occasion of her 84th birthday, The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery on Wednesday, May 16th, opened a retrospective exhibition of her work.

The show provides guests with a window into her evolution as a visual artist over the years as well as her life as a Bahamian grande dame. The exhibition aims to give context to the naïve, intuitive, gestural works that Nettie has become known for.

“The show is a body of works created from the conception of Netties’ artistic journey up until as recently as last month. A retrospective show held on her birthday, May 16th, made sense. It was held as a mark of how far she has come and what she has achieved in her artistic career and life,” said Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, curator at the Central Bank of the Bahamas Art Gallery.

After years in the hospitality industry, specifically eco-tourism, in both New Providence and Abaco, Nettie has settled in New Providence on West Bay Street to devote herself to cultivating the ever-expanding Nettie’s Place. Operated and managed by herself and her family, Nettie’s Place is a treasure chest of art and cultural relics. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on pg 8 of The Tribune Weekend.

NAGB-Sorry not sorry 1

Still from “Sorry, not sorry”, Alberta Whittle, 2018, HD Video, 6 mins.

Sorry for What?

I am not the sugar in your cup of tea.

by Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

Sorry, Not Sorry, a short experimental film by Alberta Whittle, juxtaposes tourism and post-enslavement-dispossession in the British Caribbean. An intriguing mise-en-scène combined with sharp overlaying and interweaving text, image, audio and nuance that brings all sorts of feelings to the fore, from contradictions to harmonies. The harmony in the background, though clashes with the discordant foreground that allows the moving image the salience it has to document, to articulate, to illustrate the unbecoming side of colonialism and independence. Again, the irony of postcolonial independence is that there is no real sovereignty as governments are only held in power by foreign direct investors who own the economy, by owning resorts where the Bacardi-sipping-frolicking-lithe bodies stay during their fantasy time in paradise.

Sorry, not sorry, is coupled with seminal film Handsworth Songs, which is a painful yet revelatory documentary of British civility and colonial ‘savagery’ or incivility. This is a theme that resounds throughout E.M. Forster’s A Passage To India (1924) and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), later re-penned by (but really reconstructed from before the story unfolded) by Jean Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). So much can be said about the un-civilising of the savage as seen, but when the other story is told, as Rhys does, we see context. [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB’s website.

NAGB-Crawfish Ladycrop

Crawfish Lady” (c.2000), Wellington Bridgewater, concrete, 9’ x 5’3 x 5’6. (Part of the National Collection.)

Now on Display from the National Art Collection of The Bahamas:

“Crawfish Lady” (c.2000) by Wellington Bridgewater

by Natalie Willis

What does Bahamian fantasy and myth look like? What magic or horror happens when the divides between animal and human seem to dissolve? What then must Wellington Bridgewater have been thinking when he made the “Crawfish Woman” (c.2000) who lies on the Southern steps of the NAGB’s Villa Doyle. Was he thinking that this lobster-lady was like the nefarious lusca, sucking water in and out of blue holes to capture unlucky divers and boats with the power of the oceans. Or was she more like the chickcharney, a generally benign beast who, once wronged, would cause you harm.

We have a few things to go off to spin stories in this country of oral traditions, and this gives us rich ground for looking at the context that Bridgewater’s half-human woman exists in. We know of mythological creatures in Bahamian folklore like the lusca. The elusive and terrifying lusca - half shark, half octopus - is perhaps the original sharktopus before Sci-Fi got its hands on the idea, though arguably may have been better left in blue-holes from our legends. Blue holes have been revered spaces in The Bahamas from Arawak and Lucayan times, then acting as burial grounds, and now they are respected for the way they hold the power of the unknown for so many of us. Whether they are spewing out water from their dark, cold depths, or sucking you in - most know not to mess around with blue holes though they are of course generally safe for comfortable swimmers. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at NAGB website.

NAGB art-Workshop-12

Students making art at Eleuthera workshop. (NAGB)

Partnerships present opportunities for NAGB

NAGB is reaching beyond New Providence to support Family Island schools.

by Katrina Cartwright

For the second year, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas has partnered with the Department of Culture to adjudicate Arts and Crafts entries for the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival. Between February and May 2018, Katrina Cartwright, NAGB education officer, and Abby Smith, NAGB community outreach officer, traveled with the organizing committee of the National Arts Festival to schools in the north, south and central Bahamas, where the best of Bahamian talent was showcased by talented hopefuls, seeking to win in their respective categories.

The E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival is the only national competition in The Bahamas that invites persons of all ages across the archipelago, to submit entries in dance, drama, music and visual art. In its 59th year, it provides a platform for participants to engage in critical dialogue about their work and develop stronger technical skills to more effectively express themselves. These trips also provide an opportunity for the NAGB to connect with teachers and artists throughout the country in ways that were previously limited by the museum’s capacity. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in The Nassau Guardian.


Frederick Street and the Lucerne Hotel

Forgotten Facts by Paul C. Aranha

I have just finished enjoying two important new books on Bahamian history: “Breaching the Gates” by Sean McWeeney, which provided new details about my parents’ ancestors, Neil McQueen, and Rosette, Samuel James and John Minnis. Then, “Gateways to the New World” by Dr Keith L Tinker throws an entirely new light on the history of these islands, including his section on ‘Prohibition and Bootlegging,’ a subject with tight links to the Lucerne Hotel, once located on Frederick Street, on the site now occupied by Norfolk House.

Trinity Methodist Church is the big building on the right, in Steve Albury’s photo. On the street level it used to house the Queen’s College Preparatory School, which Steve Albury and I both attended.

The building partially seen on the right is Lightbourn House. The Lucerne Hotel was next door to Lightbourn House and my friend, Ronald G Lightbourn, is a living authority on these two properties. Ron, a retired professional photographer, provided me with this selection of his pictures of them. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on pg 24 of The Tribune Weekend.


art & culture stories from the region and around the world

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Carlos Rolón, “Bahamian Love Vine (Spanish Gold VI)” (2017), oil and 24-karat gold leaf on canvas (image courtesy of Library Street Collective)

A Golden Critique of Colonialism

Carlos Rolón’s latest body of work transforms the iconography of Spanish colonialism in the Americas while elevating memories and images from his childhood in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community.

by Sarah Rose Sharp

The first thing to catch one’s eye upon entering Carlos Rolón’s solo exhibition, Buscando América, at Library Street Collective, is a wall of vintage boomboxes — familiar and nostalgic as cutting-edge technology for any child of the 1980s, and at least aesthetically imposing for anyone else. The piece is not titled; it is not a piece of art strictly speaking, but a display of Rolón’s personal collection and that of one of his oldest friends, Hector Gonzalez. One glowing boombox stands on its own, facing this display. This is a piece of art, one of an edition of five in Rolón’s Boombox Edition (2018) series, and without touching it, it’s impossible to tell if it’s a functioning piece of electronics at all, or simply the same shape as its real-world counterparts, cast in Cascadia fiberglass and metal, and covered in 24-karat gold leaf. (Spoiler alert: it is, in fact, the latter.)

The tension between these two forces — the recollection of personal memory and its translation into glamorous, shiny art objects — is the animating force of Rolón’s ongoing work, which plucks common objects out of his childhood as a first-generation child of Puerto Rican immigrants in Chicago. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Hyperallergic.

Denzil ForresterThe-Rose-2014

Denzil Forrester, "The Rose" (2014).

A painter of the Afro-Caribbean experience in England becomes much more famous

We speak exclusively to the Scottish painter and his co-curator Matthew Higgs about the long overlooked paintings of a member of the Windrush generation.

by Naomi Rea

There is a lot going on in Cornwall: The international art festival Groundwork will see Steve McQueen head to the south west of England, while last weekend Tate St Ives opened a major survey of Patrick Heron‘s work. Up next this weekend, Cornwall is getting a show of paintings by the long overlooked black British artist, Denzil Forrester. A member of the Windrush generation, Forrester was born in Grenada and came to London as a child in the 1970s. He is now based in Cornwall, where his solo show takes place in the tiny former mining town of St. Just.

It is the latest in a series of shows of the 62-year-old artist’s work that has been co-organized by fellow artist Peter Doig and the director of New York’s White Columns, Matthew Higgs.

Doig, whose paintings sell for millions at auction, tells artnet News that he first encountered the work of the Grenada-born artist at Forrester’s graduation show at the Royal College of Art in the early 80s; At the time Doig was a student at St Martins in London. The two did not actually meet in person until 2015. “I am as interested in some other artists’ work as much as I am in what I’m trying to do myself,” Doig says. Doig and Higgs’ support is paying off. Last year, Forrester’s Three Wicked Men was acquired by Tate Britain. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Artnet.

amy Sherald

Amy Sherald, “Untitled” (2018), oil on canvas, 54 x 43 inches (image courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago)

Amy Sherald on her “Gentle Presentation of Black Identity”

Sherald, who has a solo show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, shares her reasons for painting and what’s next for her career.

by Rikki Byrd

On the opening night of her exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Amy Sherald is jubilant, albeit being pulled back and forth by museum staff and obliging cordially as person after person requests a photo or a conversation. It is Sherald’s first major solo exhibition since the unveiling of her portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery in February.

As she prepares to leave for dinner, a man asks if he can take a picture of her with his daughter. While awaiting the man and his daughter, she and I discuss St. Louis, the similarities between here and Baltimore, where she lives — how both cities are still attempting to overcome issues such as segregation and discriminatory housing practices. As the conversation becomes more impassioned with our critiques of each respective city, I see the father return holding his daughter’s hand and I motion to Sherald that she is now ready. As the father steadies his cell phone to take the photograph, Sherald gently places her hand on the little girl’s shoulder, who grins wildly. I also smile, realizing that while her innocence and juvenility might obscure her understanding of this moment, the girl will always have this image that symbolizes so much more. She is standing next to someone who looks like her and who represents the possibility of what she could one day become. She is standing next to the artist of 2018, who perhaps will become one of the most memorable of the past decade. The woman who in February unveiled a portrait of the first Black First Lady of the United States — who herself was and continues to be an emblem of possibility and a new ideal — and now has new gallery representation, an increased demand for her works, and has been thrust into the spotlight after being relatively under the radar. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

Screen shot 2018-05-25 at 8.44.09 AM

The Damien Hirst-designed Unknown bar. Photo: courtesy of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

Art for High Rollers: flashy contemporary art adorns Las Vegas’ new Palms Casino

Following a $620 million renovation, the revamped casino reopened with a brand new art display.

by Henri Neuendorf

Las Vegas’s newly renovated Palms Hotel and Casino is going all in on art.

The hotel, casino, and resort unveiled its extensive blue-chip contemporary art collection following a major $620 million renovation. The rehang mixes blue-chip artists like Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami with poppy contemporary artists like KAWS and Dustin Yellin.

“Guests are brought on a visual journey from the minute they walk in the door and will find special touches at every corner, from our gaming felts down to the mini-bar,” Palms general manager Jon Gray said in a statement. “We have curated a collection that is bold, relevant to today’s traveler and most of all a truly interactive experience.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Artnet.

Georgia OKeefe hawaii

“Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i” at the New York Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden.

In Hawaii, Georgia O’Keeffe found a new way to look at nature

A Hawaiian paradise comes to the Bronx. Now, you can see her works alongside the plants that inspired them.

by Sarah Cascone

Georgia O’Keeffe wasn’t particularly interested in visiting Hawaii, but when she was offered an all-expenses paid trip there in 1939, she couldn’t turn it down. Though the artist only spent nine weeks visiting the island paradise, tasked with making two ads for Dole pineapples, she completed no fewer than 20 paintings, an oft-forgotten body of work that takes center stage at the New York Botanical Garden this summer.

It’s the first time the group will be shown together in New York since their 1940 debut at An American Place, the gallery run by O’Keeffe’s husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. “They’ve come full circle, since the first time they were exhibited was here in New York,” said exhibition co-curator Theresa Papanikolas at a press preview.

In addition to reuniting 17 of O’Keeffe’s Hawaii paintings—an 18th, Hibiscus, sold for $4.8 million at Tuesday night’s American art sale at Christie’s and may be included in subsequent stops on the show’s tour—the exhibition showcases the flowers and plants of Hawaii that so inspired the artist. [...]

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