Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’ Issue No. 273 Sharing Art & Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • Can’t see the images?


Smith & Benjamin’s
Issue No. 273

Sharing Art & Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

Can’t see the images? CLICK HERE!

• • • •

From the “Swirl” Series (2016)
by Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts
(22"x30" / Acrylic on rag paper)
• • •
This painting is one of 18 acrylic paintings done by Roberts
in a new exhibition entitled “Motion” which opens this Saturday
at Hillside House Gallery & Studio from 12 Noon to 5pm
on Cumberland Street, just north of Government House.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy 43rd Independence Bahamas!


what’s happening in
bahamian art & culture

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NAGB Summer Film Series
‘Always for Pleasure’

TONIGHT: Thursday, July 7th | 8pm
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Tonight, starting at 8 pm, guests will be treated to a double screening of two documentaries examining the ways two different cities celebrate their versions of Carnival. In “Always for Pleasure”, independent filmmaker Les Blank takes a loving look at the sights and sounds of New Orleans, where masquerade is embraced in the city’s way through Mardi Gras. “Always for Pleasure” is 58 minutes long and is rated B.

Following "Always For Pleasure” will be Maria Govan’s “Junkanoo: The Heartbeat of a People.” Through a tapestry of interviews with a diverse body of characters, the film explores Junkanoo’s historical, social, political, culture and spiritual impact on Bahamian life. Govan’s film is 62 minutes long. Co-producer of the film Erika M. Robinson will be available for a short Q&A session after the screening.

All films are free to attend and begin at 8 p.m. To make your experience that much more enjoyable, the Gallery will be offering popcorn and refreshments for sale.

CLICK HERE for NAGB’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE for NAGB’s website.

NAGB SummerFilmSeries AlwaysForPleasure
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Antonius Roberts

E X H I B I T I O N:

‘Motion’ by Antonius Roberts

Saturday, July 9th
12 noon–5pm
Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery, Hillside House

‘Motion' is more than just a series of paintings. It is a deliberate action to move Hillside House forward. During summer 2016 Hillside will expand its physical offerings and enrich its experience to provide a live, work studio space for artists. These eighteen sketches embody the energy that will motion Hillside House into a place where creative people live and cultural experiences come alive.

The eighteen sketches, acrylic on rag paper, are results of spontaneous explorations of movement, rhythm, sounds and emotions. Deliberate brush strokes charged with energy, randomly moving across surfaces with the intent to suggest motion.

CLICK HERE for the full article on NAGB’s mixed Media Blog.


From the "Drizzle" series by Antonius Roberts


From the "Flow" series by Antonius Roberts


according to...

Our “According to...” section is where we publish
the writings of persons from the local and greater
art and cultural community who express their personal
thoughts and ideas on art and culture and community.


Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett

According to...

Dr. Ian Bethell Bennett

Dr. Ian A. Bethell Bennett is an Associate Professor in the School of English Studies at The College of The Bahamas. He has written extensively on race and migration in The Bahamas, cultural creolisation and gender issues. His writings often speak to the curative and transformative properties of art to bring beauty, peace and healing to communities.

San Salvador as Culture:
New Economies of Culture

We often talk about the importance of cultural tourism, but perhaps few of us understand what that means or even why it could benefit us as a country. Cultural tourism has become one of the largest drivers in tourism mobilization over the last decade. The Government’s efforts to produce a Carnival that would attract tourists to a culturally-rich destination may be a good idea, notwithstanding the lack of real organization undertaken to promote and effectively market the event. While Carnival is an engineered non-local tourist attraction, the country has a great many local cultural attractions that already exist. Firstly, our natural culture is very important and must be protected and, secondly, our geographic location is a natural historic-cultural attraction. We have done little to capitalize on this fact.

Often, culture is extremely narrowly understood to be art and Junkanoo, and nothing outside of those parameters. However, culture is far larger and more encompassing. It includes things like houses, cars, historical ruins, places, dances and stories, all of these attract local lore and, given The Bahamas’ historical significance can draw tourists in. There are a few problems with this, however, and the first is that it must be protected. It cannot be allowed to be simply without any cultivation, curatorial coverage, and preservation. When we simply let historically significant buildings, for example, be, they become dilapidated, dangerous eyesores and at times remains. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Nassau Guardian.

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A collage of sites from San Salvador showcasing Watling’s Castle, graves at the Lighthouse in United Estates and The Lighthouse. Photo: Dr. Ian Bethell- Bennett


art and culture news
from the bahamas

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Celebrity Artist and Tribune Cartoonist Jamaal Rolle

Celebrity artist is named an icon

by Nico Scavella

Tribune cartoonist Jamaal Rolle won a Bahamian Icon Award on Saturday for his achievements in fine arts, telling the newspaper that his international acclaim cannot compare to being “accepted by my fellow Bahamians”.

Mr Rolle said yesterday the award was a “long-time coming”, adding that being recognised as a local icon serves as “good encouragement” for up-and-coming Bahamian artists.

Mr Rolle—aka The Celebrity Artist—has forged a global reputation for his life-like portraits and depictions of various figures and personalities from all over the world, including such personalities as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Prince Harry and many others.

In April, Mr Rolle received a congratulatory letter of gratitude from US President Barack Obama for portraits he drew of President Obama and his wife, Michelle. In 2014, he received a ringing endorsement of his portrait work from former US presidential candidate John McCain for the portraits he drew of Mr McCain and his wife Cindy. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Tribune242.
CLICK HERE for Jamaal Rolle’s Facebook page.


Artist Arnold Kemp

Giving credit where credit
is due

by the National Art Gallery
of The Bahamas

We all know that adage that ‘variety is the spice of life.’ We see it in art all the time, in music and in Bahamian people. Given the current turmoil and tension in the world — all the negativity and discrimination against those whose existence seems to fall outside that delineated path of good or normalized — it is good to be able to share a bit of good news.

For this, we look to the Bahamian diaspora; those folks who are like us, but dey lil’ different. To those whose difference we should embrace and be proud of; those we hold dear because of the affinities we see in them; to those that shine just a little bit different. We do not often give them much acknowledgement or credit, unless there is something for us to grasp at and feel a sense of national pride towards, these ‘quiet pioneers’ aren't often considered ‘tru-tru’ Bahamians.

We think of them as not involved in our affairs, but this at times not the case — more often than not, they make their contributions at home and make them silently so as to avoid fuss but ultimately from a deep-seated love of the place. Establishing that, we would like to bring to attention the recent success of Arnold J. Kemp, a multidisciplinary artist of Bahamian descent who lives and works in the United States. Kemp was recently appointed as the Dean of Graduate Studies at the renowned School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Alongside this position, he will also be joining the Department of Painting and Drawing as a professor [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in The Nassau Guardian.

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Willicey Tynes working on his sculpture

Sculpture by Bahamian artist gives nod to Minnesota city’s history

On Wednesday, the first piece of work chosen by the City of Hastings, Minnesota Public Arts grant task force was revealed to the public. Located in a drop-off area of the parking lot for the newly remodeled Levee Park, this quaint square includes benches for viewing the new sculpture and the Mississippi river.

The piece entitled Nascent was designed by Minnesota-based Bahamian artist, Willicey Tynes, of St. Cloud. Tynes, an award-winning sculptor and painter, applied for the grant during the open call for public art.

Nascent, meaning “to be born”, gives nod to the history of Hastings, depicting many features such as the famous and unique Spiral Bridge; the dome of City Hall, which was originally the second oldest courthouse in the state; and a water wheel and waterfall that once powered the local flour mill. Three birds round out the natural elements on the sculpture and give a nod to the natural richness of the area and the fact that Hastings was recently designated as the first official Bird City Minnesota.

Tynes’ piece was chosen by a seven-member task force of local artists and business owners. His previous work includes painting, sculpture, and an impressive underwater sculpture garden installed in The Bahamas.

CLICK HERE for Hastings Public Arts webpage.
CLICK HERE for article at
CLICK HERE for Willicey Tynes website.


Sculpture by Bahamian Artist Willicey Tynes


Willicey Tynes working on his sculpture

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Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean

‘Why is there still no report for carnival?’

by Khrisna Virgil

Nearly two months after the highly controversial Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival was held in the country, FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest questioned why the government had yet to produce the festival’s financial performance report.

The East Grand Bahama MP said this was the height of “negligence, incompetence and lack of transparency.” He told The Tribune that while he did not want to delve into speculation, the delay of the festival’s accounting raised concerns over whether some of its funding might have been misappropriated.

Meanwhile Bahamas National Festival Commission Chairman Paul Major insisted that officials were working on the report, ensuring that all of the accounting and numbers were correct. He said it was his hope that a report would be finished and made public by sometime next week.

“It was a great time and there were lots of tourists here,” Mr Major said when he was contacted yesterday. “But they are working on the report, but it is all about the numbers as you would know.” […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Tribune242.

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“U-Boats in The Bahamas” by Eric Wiberg

UBoats in The Bahamas written by Eric Wiberg offers groundbreaking WWII research in hardcover after 7 years of work. It was released last on Amazon and Kindle by Bricktower Press of NYC. Dedicated to Alex, Felix, his parents and agent Alan Morell, Eric Wilberg
thanks all for their interest and support. He promises you will find it unusual and a colorful human interest history as seen by the Allied sailors, German and Italian attackers, and Bahamian rescuers including the Duchess of Windsor and speedboat racing heiress Marion Carstairs. Do Enjoy!

CLICK HERE for U-Boats in The Bahamas on Facebook.
CLICK HERE to purchase it on Amazon.


Practical beauty

Ceramic platters to admire and use

by Jeffarah Gibson

Beautiful to look at and practical enough to use, the ceramic platters created by Imogene Walkine fulfill their dual purpose as pieces of art and as usable objects. The art platters, as Imogene calls them, are the newest pieces in her vast ceramic collection that has grown tremendously over the years.

The series of ceramic platters can be used or simply displayed, she said. All of the art platters created by Imogene are 20 inches in diameter and pay homage to the sumptuous colours, textures and patterns that are found in the natural Bahamian environmental.

“I call these platters ‘art platters’ because I see them as functional pieces of art – functional paintings,” she said. While some of the designs are inspired by man-made art like Junkanoo costumes, others are a depiction of the abstract art that God has created in nature, for example the lionfish or the croton plant leaves. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Tribune Weekend.

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Ceramic platters by Imogene Walkine

Photo 1-Divers explore Cave Formations in South Abaco Blue Holes National Park

National Geographic grant to document underwater cave system in the Abacos

by Shonalee Johnson

The underwater cave system in the Abacos will be extensively documented thanks to a grant from the National Geographic Society. The global nonprofit group will partner with Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) through the University of Miami, to provide the Bahamian government with a comprehensive map of the area. Project coordinators will accurately document the existence of key paleontological finds, biodiversity hotspots, and sites in the aquatic environment and set the foundation for future research. Other partners include Friends of the Environment in Abaco and Bahamas Underground- a foundation established to research caves in The Bahamas.

In a push to explore the planet and protect the natural environment, the National Geographic Society funds conservation and research projects around the world with the goal of educating current and future generations. Dr. Keith Tinker, Director of AMMC, sees significant benefits to the research being facilitated by the National Geographic grant.

“In terms of data and documentation, the grant has provisions to involve the community and provide resources to educate the local population on protecting the groundwater environment and preserving the natural heritage. Within the next year we will work with the team on curriculum and interpretive trials,” he explained. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Bahamas Weekly.

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Photo/Gianne Demeritte and Atlanta Junkanoo Group

Bahamas Junkanoo group debuts at Atlanta Carnival

by Arthia Nixon

The streets of Atlanta, Georgia, recently came alive with the sounds of cowbells and goat-skin drums, as Brandon Lafleur officially debuted his Atlanta Junkanoo Group at this year’s Caribbean Carnival.

Joined by fellow Bahamians from throughout the archipelago, Mr. LaFleur brought all the sights and sounds of Junkanoo to the southern city complete with a Bahamian DJ playing rake n’ scrape music and other hits as choreographed dancers displayed their vibrant costumes.

The small but steadily growing group of cultural enthusiasts have grown together like an extended family, Mr. LaFleur said. They support each other’s activities and recently joined one of their members for a balloon release event after she couldn’t attend her father’s funeral in The Bahamas […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Tribune Weekend.


art news & events
from the region
and around the world


Medulla Art Gallery presents ‘Paradise’ by Joshua Lue Chee Kong

Medulla Art Gallery, Trinidad and Tobago, presents the exhibition ‘Paradise’ by Trinidadian artist Joshua Lue Chee Kong. Investigating contemporary realities and representations of Caribbean society, the show “addresses the societal turmoil of Trinidad & Tobago in particular, showcasing a paradise, suspended at a point in time when it is being fractured by violent crimes, drugs and corruption.” The exhibition will run until Wednesday, July 6, 2016 and there will be an artist talk in the gallery at 37 Fitt Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain on Tuesday, July 5 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm.

Artist Statement
“Time is this really fluid thing. Now is now, but the past is now and the future too.”
– Niama Safia Sandy, curator and anthropologist

How would one begin to imagine the future of the Caribbean given our recent colonial past? Colonialism suggests exploitation, invasion and displacement from a motherland and settlement in a new land. This resulted in many wars and revolts in an effort to reclaim ownership of our own multifaceted identities within the Caribbean region. In trying to push ahead from present day circumstances how can one resolve or develop their own visual language in a society saturated by American pop culture icons like the Kardashians, Coca Cola, the Beyhive and Beliebers. Is the Caribbean being Americanized or is America becoming “Caribbeanized”? This “Caribbeanization” can be seen in the cultural appropriation and pop representation of Caribbean culture in Justin Beiber’s ‘Sorry’ song and Rihanna’s ‘Work’ song. Both songs generated criticisms around validity and authenticity of the Caribbean culture. […]

CLICK HERE for more in ARC Magazine.


Mary Seacole statue unveiled in London

by the BBC

A memorial statue believed to be the UK's first in honour of a named black woman has been unveiled in London.

Mary Seacole was a Jamaican-born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War in the 19th Century. The statue’s completion follows a 12-year campaign which raised £500,000 to honour her.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said it was a “seminal moment for Londoners, and for the black community particularly.” Actress and broadcaster Baroness Benjamin unveiled the statue.

Emeritus Professor of Nursing Elizabeth Anionwu said the unveiling was “extremely significant" because it was believed to be the first memorial statue of a named black woman in the UK.

“For somebody like myself, a nurse of mixed heritage - Mary was Jamaican-Scottish, I’m Nigerian-Irish heritage – there’s a link there. I have an eight-year-old granddaughter, and at last youngsters will be able to see a beautiful monument that they can identify with.”

CLICK HERE for full story at the BBC.
CLICK HERE for video of news report on unveiling.

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The artist Gavin Turk and family join the march against Brexit on 2 July in London. Photo: Louisa Buck

Brexit: what it could mean for the arts

Leading figures speak out about concerns for the future after UK votes to leave European Union

by Javier Pes, Melanie Gerlis, Martin Bailey

The UK is on course to leave the European Union, after a narrow vote in favour of divorce in a referendum held two weeks ago on 23 June. How long the process known as Brexit will take, and its consequences for the arts and for artists, remain largely unknown. The referendum result—London and Scotland’s voters were among the dissenters—was greeted with shock by many in the arts, and the fallout from the subsequent political and economic turmoil has caused widespread concern internationally.

Thomas Campbell, the British-educated director of the Met in New York, says: “Since the Second World War, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has pioneered ambitious and groundbreaking loan shows, often in co-operation with European partners. We believe that these collaborations are ever more important now.” He adds that, although it is too early to assess the impact of Brexit, “we trust that we will be able to work with our peers to navigate new legal and financial issues so that, together, we can continue to bring thought-provoking, educational and relevant exhibitions to our national and international audiences”. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in The Art Newspaper.


John Akomfrah. Photo: Jack Hems © Smoking Dogs Films, Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

John Akomfrah on the tricky line between art and cinema

by Henri Neuendorf

After several hours of preparing his first major exhibition in the United States at Lisson Gallery’s Chelsea space John Akomfrah needs a cigarette. And the British artist and filmmaker briefly rushed outside, and flicked the lighter on.

Akomfrah rose to prominence in the 1980s as a founding member of the radical and influential Black Audio Film Collective, and today is known for his multi-channel video works exploring the themes of history, memory, migration, and post colonialism. Utilizing combinations of archival footage and still photography with newly created material to create captivating and enthralling imagery, Akomfrah has found a unique perspective in contemporary time-based art.

At Lisson he presents two new works: The Airport (2016), a three-channel film that explores the significance of empires presented through the architectural ruins, and Auto Da Fé (2016), which examines migration and relocation. The film addresses and critiques a host of contemporary issues while employing the perspective of a 17-century period drama. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Artnet News.


Tsoku Maela, “Seriti” (all images courtesy of the artist)

An artist photographs his depression to destigmatize mental illness

by Kyla McMillan

“Those are white people problems” is often the response to mental illness in black communities across the globe. The conditions of many are often misunderstood and mistreated, due to fear and a lack of understanding about how to discuss and treat these issues. South African photographer Tsoku Maela hopes to change that.

In his latest series, Abstract Peaces, Maela turns the lens on himself, taking us along on his personal quest to find peace in spite of his lifelong experience with depression and anxiety. The artist chronicles his journey as a way to express himself in a culture where mental illness is often a taboo topic. Since sharing the work publicly, he has learned that mental illness in the black community is not only an African issue, but one that affects black people across the globe.

The series is comprised of 22 works, including conceptual photographs and word art created from diary entries. Together, the text and images highlight the pain, but also the beauty in depression. Abstract Peaces captures the struggles people with mental illness face day by day, silently. The work has sparked a conversation in South Africa and abroad that has encouraged millennials throughout the African diaspora to use their voices and help destigmatize mental health issues. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Hyperallergic.


Franklin Sirmans, Nancy Spector, Jerry Saltz, and Gabriela Palmieri. Sirmans photo courtesy Los Angles County Museum of Art, all others Patrick McMullan.


Henri Matisse, Icarus 1946 Maquette for plate VIII of the illustrated book Jazz 1947 Digital image: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Claude PlanchetArtwork. Photo: Courtesy© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014.

The one that got away: 12 art world insiders name the show they most regret missing

by Brian Boucher

If you are an art lover in, say, New York, where I live, you can go crazy trying to keep up on the shows at the hundreds of galleries, museums and nonprofit exhibition spaces, not to mention the public art, the pop-up shows, and the auction house previews, etc., etc. That’s to say nothing of the busy art scenes in big and small cities, towns, and burgs everywhere else on the planet.

Many of us still deeply rue missing numerous shows. But for most of us, there’s probably one that really stings.

For me, it’s the Tino Sehgal exhibition “This Progress,” at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, in 2010. In my defense, it was on view for a shorter period than most museum shows, and I work full-time, and my apartment isn’t going to clean itself, but really, I just screwed up. I know some were a bit skeptical, but to me it sounded, frankly, magical. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Artnet news.


Marcel Duchamp Boîte-Series D (based on Boîte-en-Valise, 1935– 41), 1961 Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Escape Artists: Why these 7 creatives disappeared from the art world

by Alexxa Gotthardt

In 1923, rumors circulated that renowned artist Marcel Duchamp was renouncing art to devote his life to chess. “I am still a victim of chess,” he explained at the time. “It has all the beauty of art—and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.” Duchamp’s retreat from the art world wasn’t total, however. Instead, it gave him space, away from the distractions of the art scene and its attendant market pressures, to make his final work (in secret) for the last 20 years of his life.

Throughout history, many great artists have opted out, taken significant breaks, or withdrawn from the art world altogether—whether in search of a mind-clearing reprieve from commercial and social stresses, as with Agnes Martin, or as the final act of a practice animated by institutional critique, like Lee Lozano. Below, we take a look at seven such instances.

Marcel Duchamp (b. 1887, d. 1968)
Arguably art history’s greatest disruptor, Marcel Duchamp came up with his most radical act when he abandoned artmaking in favor of chess. He had risen to fame for his iconoclastic artworks and antics in the years prior. Paintings like Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912) scandalized the art world in 1913, and readymades like Fountain (1917), a urinal presented as a sculpture, would forever change the way we make and interpret art. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Artsy.


The interior of Spitzer’s Paris home.

Once called the eighth wonder
of the world, this art collection
was actually full of fakes

by Isaac Kaplan

“The Spitzer collection has, in the estimation of connoisseurs and amateurs, at least, long been the eighth wonder of the world. Now and then its possessor has allowed glimpses of it to be seen in exhibitions, but, as a rule, it has been locked and barred against vulgar or elect eyes in his roomy mansion in the Rue Villejuste, Paris, which it stuffs like a sausage from cellar to roof,” reads a short entry in The Collector journal published in 1890. At the risk of stating the blindly obvious, it is no longer the late 19th century.

Today, Frédéric Spitzer, who amassed those thousands of medieval and Renaissance wares, is not a household name. No longer tucked away in Spitzer’s home, your “vulgar” eyes can easily gaze upon Spitzer’s collection in major museums—from the Frick, to the Met, to the British Museum. But while Spitzer’s fame has faded, his business practices were pioneering and are remarkably familiar to our contemporary sensibilities—well, except that he forged or modified works in his collection and claimed they were authentic. […]

CLICK HERE for the full article in Artsy.


about us


Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

Art & Culture were
created to uplift the
spirit of mankind.

Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine
is an email magazine concentrating on the
art & culture of The Bahamas and the world around us. It is published once a week and
is a service of Smith & Benjamin Art & Design, a design firm based in Nassau,
The Bahamas offering graphic design,
custom illustration, fine art, art marketing,
art brokerage and publishing.

Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Editor & Publisher:
Stephanie Shivers, Account & Office Manager:
Don Adderley, Design Associate:

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