Smith and Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART and CULTURE’ Issue No. 332 Sharing Art and Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to se


Smith and Benjamin’s
Issue No. 332

Sharing Art and Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

“Mass” (2017/18) by Bahamian artist Heino Schmid
(Acrylic on paper)
• • •
This painting is now on view in Schmid’s latest solo exhibition entitled
“wait. I saw something.” at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation on Virginia Street.
• • •
Please scroll down to read more.


Friday, February 16, 2018



West Side Park Andros Bahamas-0070-

West Side Park, Andros, The Bahamas (Photo: Heather Carey)

E D I T O R I A L :

Our beautiful spaces need funding

by Tribune Editorial

For years, Bahamians have used parks throughout the country without paying a penny. We took it for granted the government would cover the expense of keeping our inland and beachfront parks and adjoining parking lots paved, landscaped and cleaned or would lean on corporate benefactors. That is the case with Montagu foreshore, for instance, which before the Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority came into being in 2014, was shared by Ministry of Works and a number of corporate sponsors, including Atlantis, Atlantic Medical, Bahamas Realty, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, Higgs & Johnson, KPMG and the Chinese Embassy. Those sponsors still pay a monthly fee, helping to cover the costs.

Most of the national parks are operated, managed and maintained by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) which, despite a $1.4m allotment from government in 2016, finished the year with a slight loss because the costs to manage and maintain 32 parks across 11 islands plus other programmes is so great. BNT’s programmes touch on every part of our natural and manmade environment from protecting fisheries to preparing for climate change. While the Trust does a yeoman’s job with the parks, we think it needs to increase visibility and information, telling its story better to non-members. Every one of the Trust’s parks has a distinct identity tying it to the local culture or a feature unique to the area. But messaging takes money and for far too long, organisations like the BNT have depended upon patrons, legacy donations, major fund-raisers that take energy to organize. They have begged their way to survival and that just is not right. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The Tribune.


what’s coming
up next week


C O N C E R T :

The Nassau Music Society presents:
Violinist Rolf Haas & Pianist Miki Aoki

Saturday, Feb. 24th | 7pm | The Current, Baha Mar
Sunday, Feb. 25th | 5pm | St Paul’s Church Hall, Lyford Cay

rolf haas miki aoki

Musicians Rolf Haas and Miki Aoki (Source:

The effortless mastery of violinist Rolf Haas will be featured in our February concerts. A musician of many interests and influences, he has often performed with visual artists and is also a respected hip hop emcee and producer. He will be accompanied by Miki Aoki, an accomplished pianist and collaborative artist. Their concerts will display the duo’s versatility as they perform a diverse range of styles. Haas will showcase virtuosic violin works from the classical repertoire as well as lighter works with Aoki’s skillful accompaniment.


Violinist Yanet Campbell Secades

Violinist Yanet Campbell Secades will open both concerts with a reprise performance of her spellbinding Bach solo which mesmerised the audience at her concert in Nassau last month.

There will be a credit card bar open during the Wine & Art reception prior to the concert at The Current, and a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink served at intermission both evenings. Self parking tickets can be validated at The Current.

Master Classes

As part of the NMS outreach mission, all of our visiting artists offer free master classes. The violin master class, conducted by Rolf Haas, will take place on Friday, February 23rd at The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios from 1pm–2pm. Immediately following there will be an open and interactive session on different music styles, improvisation and fusing classical and hip hop genres. The second session will run from 2pm–3pm. Master classes are free for students and NMS Members to observe and a requested $10.00 donation to the NMS Scholarship Fund for the general public. Please call 322 7427 to RSVP.


Make an evening of it with special
discounts for concert goers

Once again, participating restaurants at Baha Mar will offer special discounts to all those who attend the concert at The Current on Saturday, February 24th. 25% off at Katsuya, Cleo and Fi’Lia, 20% off at Regatta before the concert, and 50% off your first cocktail at Blue Note after the concert. Just remember to present your concert ticket stub.

On Sunday, February 25th, you can complete your evening at The Captain’s Table, a new partner, where all NMS Members can enjoy a 2-for-1 glass or bottle of house wine with dinner, or at Mahogany House where all ticket holders are invited to enjoy a 2-for-1 aperitif special and/or a complimentary glass of Prosecco with dinner after the concert.

Support the Nassau Music Society. Call 322 7427 or email to purchase your tickets today.

CLICK HERE to visit the NMS website.
CLICK HERE to visit the NMS FaceBook page.
CLICK HERE to view performance of Haas and Aoki.

POSTER-Rolf-Haas- -Miki-Aoki-Flyer-Poster- MailChimp

save the date


J A Z Z / F E S T I V A L :

Eleuthera…All That Jazz Music Festival

April 11th-15th, 2018
Governor’s Harbour Eleuthera

The much anticipated 2018 installment of Eleuthera…All That Jazz (EATZ) is back and will take place over the course of 5 days this April 11th–15th, 2018 on the beautiful family island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas.

Each day, concert events will be held at a different venue throughout the island; some will require tickets, others a cover charge, and the ever popular Friday Night Jammin’ at the Fish Fry in Governor’s Harbour will be free. A full schedule will soon be posted once finalized.

CLICK HERE for the Eleuthera...All That Jazz website.
CLICK HERE for the Eleuthera...All That Jazz Facebook page.


art & culture news
from the bahamas


(Top) John Cox (Bottom) Natascha Vazquez

Bahamian art studio selected for NY Art Fair

From March 7-11, a small team from The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios will be in New York City to participate in VOLTA NY—an independent contemporary art fair co-founded by Bahamian native, art critic, curator and Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Amanda Coulson.

The Current joins 85 other international galleries spanning across 4 continents and 48 cities in the 11th edition of the New York fair, marking The Current’s first international exhibition debut.

This year The Current will be represented by John Cox (b. The Bahamas, 1973) and by Natascha Vazquez (b. Spain, 1990). Cox is the Art Director for The Current and a VOLTA veteran. He will be featuring new mixed-media works under the theme “A Long Walk Home”. Vazquez is an abstract painter fresh off the heels of her thesis exhibition “In a Space That Glows” and is presently The Current’s Curator. This is her first time exhibiting at VOLTA and she will be featuring 5 new large-scale abstract paintings.

The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios is comprised of a commercial gallery for exhibitions, a studio for artist residency programmes, classes and workshops, and a retail space for hand-made Bahamian merchandise. The Current is also a community space for dynamic events that highlight and promote the Arts.

CLICK HERE for The Current’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE for VOLTA NY website.
CLICK HERE for related article: VOLTA NY Curated Section 2018.


Bahamian art historian, educator, and curator Dr. Erica M. James

Bahamian art historian publishes new critical essay for international exhibition

Bahamian art historian, educator, and curator, Dr. Erica Moiah James recently published a comprehensive essay on internationally regarded Scottish artist Graham Fagen, at the invitation of the exhibition’s curator Louise Déry. Dr James, called “a specialist of the arts of the Caribbean”, pens an essay which contextualizes and questions the work of Fagen.

This catalog is being published in the wake of the exhibition Graham Fagen. The Slave’s Lament now showing at Galerie de l’UQAM at the Université du Québec à Montréal in Montreal from February 24 to April 8, 2017. It brings together works from the multidisciplinary artist Graham Fagen, who represented Scotland at the 2015 Venice Biennale, on the theme of slavery and Scottish involvement in the fate of African people deported to the Caribbean in the 18th century.

Graham Fagen Catalog

The drawings, with the look of masks or portraits, the seascape photographs and the imposing video and music installation shown here explore the tensions and emotions brought about by colonialism and the African slave trade.

Today, considerable feeling has been mobilized with the aim of reconciliation and redemption for the economic servitude and cultural oppression of peoples – whether aboriginal, the product of immigration or subject to current insidious forms of servitude. Fagen’s questioning of nationality and identity, however, is based on a particularly pertinent critique of the cultural and social heritage.

Dr James comments on her writing, “I wrote on Graham’s work The Slaves Lament for the first time ten years ago for the British art journal Next Level. Not sure if it’s still being published, but after I was invited by curator Louise Déry to write on the work again, I saw it as a unique opportunity for me to return to the piece and think through the ways the work had evolved for the artist—but also how its meaning had changed for me in consideration of the changing times.”

About the Authors
Louise Déry is director of the Galerie de l'UQAM and author of monographs on David Altmejd, Shary Boyle and Michael Snow. Dr. Erica Moiah James is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Miami and was founding Director and Chief Curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

CLICK HERE for exhibition catalog page.
CLICK HERE to purchase from Amazon.


Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts

Florida university unveils bronze sculpture by Bahamian artist

On March 8th, 2018, Florida Memorial University (FMU) will hold a dedication and unveiling ceremony of the commissioned bronze sculpture entitled “Sacred Woman” at 5pm on the grounds of the campus in Miami Gardens.

Created by acclaimed Bahamian artist, Antonius Roberts, the historical sculpture (carved from a Casuarina tree) represents one of several beautiful dancing women born out of the artist’s deep-seated respect for the sanctity and significance of trees and forests. The mounted sculpture will be edition number one of twelve pieces.

The beautiful “Sacred Women” sculptures represent the intention of triumph, hope, and determination and a vision to help conserve Bahamian heritage.

The unveiling will be appropriately held on International Women’s Day and is dedicated in memory of Roberts’ mother, as well as Mariah Brown (who is known as Coconut Grove’s first black female immigrant), and all other women who have positively helped and shaped the community of South Florida, including the female alumnae of FMU.

Following the sculpture unveiling, there will be a cocktail reception sponsored by The Bahamas Consulate General of Miami and music will be provided by the FMU Jazz Ensemble.

CLICK HERE for Antonius Roberts’ website.


Bahamian poet Marion Bethel.

Bahamian poet
named 1 of 10
female caribbean authors
you should know

...and add to your
literature syllabus.

by Gerty Dambury

When I was studying English and American literature, I was struck by the fact that not one black woman—American, English or Caribbean—was included on any of the syllabi. It seemed as if such a category of writers did not exist. This is why I’ve listed below Caribbean women authors who, I think, deserve more attention. Some of them are contemporary, some older, but all are worthy of your time. I’m personally interested in the way these authors address issues of both racism and feminism. [Here are some of those writers:]

Guanahani, My Love
House of Nehesi Publishers

It was the God in you
I needed to touch the God in me.
And so be it. . .

I met Marion Bethel, a poet from The Bahamas, in Guadeloupe in 2014; we had both been invited there by the Congress of Caribbean Writers. She is widely-accomplished— aside from her career as a poet, she is also an attorney, activist, documentary filmmaker. Although she read her poetry simply, her words entered deep into me, and a brilliant smile followed each poem. I sensed similar feelings in our writing, giving me a feeling of Caribbean proximity. Guanahani, My Love, Bethel’s debut and best-known collection, won the prestigious Casa de las Americas Prize in poetry. [...]

CLICK HERE for full list at


Bahamian archeologist Dr Michael Pateman.

Bahamian archaeologist named director of Turks & Caicos National Museum

The Turks & Caicos National Museum Foundation just announced Bahamian archaeologist, researcher and diver, Dr. Michael Pateman, as their new director. Dr. Pateman is the former Assistant Director of the National Museum of The Bahamas’ Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation and has a wide range of experiences in archaeology, museums, and various heritage matters from throughout the Bahamas archipelago.

CLICK HERE to visit the T&C Museum website.

Lavar Munroe

Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe

Bahamian artist in
new NY exhibition

Jenkins Johnson Projects of Brooklyn, New York is pleased to present a new exhibition entitled “Disobedience” featuring the work of Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe and Chilean photographer Rodrigo Valenzuela.

This exhibition takes the act of protest as a flash-point to explore current social and political unrest. Through new large-scale paintings and photographs, and a collaborative site-specific installation, Munroe and Valenzuela pay homage to and reinterpret the figure of the political martyr.

The opening reception takes place on Saturday, March 3rd, 4-7pm. There will also be an Artist Talk with Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and Artistic Director of VOLTA NY. The exhibition is on view from March 3 through April 14, 2018.

CLICK HERE for Gallery website.
CLICK HERE to visit Lavar Munroe’s website.


Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) as well as Artistic Director of VOLTA NY Art Fair, Amanda Coulson.

Culture Volt interviews Amanda Coulson

Amanda Coulson unwraps the importance of artistic diversity and the behind-the-scenes of directing VOLTA NY art fair.

“…Treat everybody equally well from bottom to top, and that pays off in a multitude of ways...”

• • •

Q: You are Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) as well as Artistic Director of VOLTA NY art fair. In the “About the Director” video on the NAGB website, you define the role of a gallery director as someone who sets “a vision for where you want to see that institution going...and to steer that course.” Do the visions of VOLTA and NAGB exist separately in your mind, or do they fuel each other?

AC: That’s a good question. On the one hand, they are extremely different enterprises: one is a commercial, international marketplace and the other a nonprofit national place of learning, so in that respect they are very separate and rarely intersect. However, certainly the one influences how I perceive and look at the other. Working in an international context inspires me to push the local institution outside of its national boundaries, to think about what I can do to support artists from an absurdly underrepresented country, to assist them in reaching such a global audience, and it certainly fuels my ambition to put The Bahamas and Bahamian artists on the map. I am extremely tired of being asked, “Oh, is there art there?”—where there are humans there is art!—but we are dealing with a very strong legacy of being branded by both colonialism and tourism, which has negatively impacted our identity. The assumption is we are lying around under a tree drinking cocktails all day, so how on earth could we be making conceptual art? It’s super condescending.

Conversely, doing profound work in a young nation such as this [that] has been scarred by its history, being closely involved in community-building, curriculum planning, playing an important role of nation-building and existing in my own country as a minority but still deeply privileged by my race, of course gives me a very different point of view on the New York art scene and the global art market, so that has definitely changed how I looked at what the fair could do or what it could be to a wider, more diverse group of people that reflect the city in which it’s located. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at Culture Volt.

Heino Schmid

Bahamian artist Heino Schmid.

An interview with
Bahamian artist
Heino Schmid

Writer & poet Letitia Pratt interviews artist Heino Schmid in anticipation of his new exhibition “wait. I saw something” now on view until March 8th at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation.

by Letitia Pratt

The conception of ‘wait. I saw something’ grew out of few obsessions: preoccupations with figure, minute moments of touch, and the emotional conversation that grows out of small exchanges. Heino Schmid’s recent work magnifies the subtlety of the way we move in the world. His pieces are massive renderings of little moments; with them he narrates stories that are told silently, between the brush of fingertips and shared glances across crowded rooms.

I visited Schmid’s studio late on a Thursday so that he could tell me these stories. He eventually presents me with a parable. “Honor the small things,” He says this carefully, choosing words with calculated reverence. “If you honor those smaller things, good things will come out of your work. Your life.”

Schmid’s artwork has grown out of this idea. He understands art – maybe life – through a macro-lens, in which smaller things fill the entire space. This preoccupation first manifested into a focus on technicality; eventually though, Schmid’s subject matter became the catalyst by which his obsessions are displayed. ‘wait. I saw something’ is just a snapshot in this artistic history. In this particular exhibition, the audience is invited to peer into the private exchanges between the subjects within his paintings.

LETITIA PRATT: First, I want to understand you as an artist. What has been the primary focus of your work during your career and how does it shape your point of view?

HEINO SCHMID: The focus...has shifted. I’ve been lucky to always consider art … as a way of participating in life and in the world. So as I change, my focus changes. Like anything. Like any relationship it just…It just evolves. When I was younger, it was just proficiency. That was really important to me. I always found it kind of ridiculous that artists would spend a year on a painting or something like that. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation website.


An Interview with
founder – Nicole Roberts

by Editor, Bahamian Art & Culture


A few months ago, I happily discovered the website I couldn’t help but be drawn by the intriguing website name and the title of a story mysteriously attributed to the ‘Bahamianologist’. It was a story set back in 1940s Bahamas and it was a story I had never heard before. As I continued to go through the site, there were many more stories just like it. I had to find out more.

Described as passionate about all things Bahamian, contains numerous new and interesting stories meticulously researched and written in a smart and entertaining way about the fascinating events and people who have shaped The Bahamas in recent history.

The woman behind is the erudite Nicole Roberts who was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us at Bahamian Art & Culture.


Writer, blogger, historian Nicole Roberts

For those who don’t know you, tell us about yourself and your background?

NICOLE ROBERTS: My background, hmmm... I went to St. Francis Primary, then Xavier’s and then St. Augustine’s. I grew up in the 70s and survived the 1980s, as I call it. In the 80s, I finished university, got my first job in Nassau, got married and had my oldest daughter, all in less than five years. Many moons across the horizon later, I now have three children, and three university degrees (an Accounting degree, an MBA, and an LLM in International Law) under my life’s belt.

BAC: What inspired you to create
And how did you come up with that great name?

NR: My grandmother’s knee kind of gave me a nudge. I was walking one day, several years ago, oddly enough across the White Cliffs of Dover, when my right knee started to ache. As I was looking out over the rough sea of the English Channel, I suddenly remembered my grandmother’s knee. She was always rubbing her leg and complaining about the pain in her knee. She had recently passed away in Nassau.

Grammy would be sitting outside her front door, on Boyd Road, shelling peas or picking crabs to make stuffed crabs to sell. She would call me at work (I was at Water and Sewerage back then) to bring her some beer to take her medicine with. Grammy Merle would lure me in with the promise of hot baked crabs waiting for me.

Anyway, in that strange moment I realised that I knew almost nothing about her. And I knew nothing of the people she came from. And nothing of the people they came from. I was already accumulating all sorts of information on The Bahamas out of curiosity. I decided, then and there, to start writing it all down.

An ‘ology’ describes a formal body of researched study. It is a discipline. An ‘ology’ is an area of analysis and theory. It came to me one evening, while I was sitting at my usual reading time of 3:00 am that the long history of the islands should be, in an of itself, a separately defined area of study. That is how the name Bahamianology was born.

BAC: How do you describe this work you are doing?

NR: This is a hard one. I wouldn’t be so hubristic as to describe it as important but I would, I hope, like it to be informative. My hope is to create a modern library of stories and information about The Bahamas. Yes, that’s it, a library.

An ‘ology’ needs a body of information to draw from. I want to choose history’s words and let the reader decide.


BAC: How do you find these nuggets of Bahamian history you write about? Often times stories we’ve never heard before.

NR: I have been researching Bahamian history for more than 20 years now. My kids are sick of tripping over old books and bits of paper that I have scribbled notes on. Over the years, I’ve tried to buy as many old antiques, related to the Bahamas that I can get my hands on, and afford that is.

BAC: Are you the writer of all the posts? Or do you have other writers working with you helping to edit/proofread, etc? Or are you a one-man band?

NR: Kind of a one man band, with a battered drum, and two old sticks.

BAC: What has the response been to your site?
And are you pleased with how it’s progressing?

NR: The response has been great. I hope to grow and expand it over this coming year, so that it may even become a research tool, or general reference site, for others. And, yes, I am really pleased with how it’s progressing. There is lots more to come I hope.

BAC: What do you hope to see it grow into?
NR: I would hope to see it grow into a body of information that present and future Bahamians can access for research and general information about the past.

BAC: Are your own brand of Bahamian history books on the horizon?
NR: I wrote a history book, The Story of the Bahamas in Ten Objects, and a book on Bahamian words and phrases about four/five years ago. They may still be available in Nassau at Buy The Book on Saunders Beach. Maybe, there will be more.

BAC: Finally, is there one story that has impacted you the most or stayed with you a long time?

NR: They all kind of stay with me just a bit. I find them all incredible in their own way.

CLICK HERE to visit the Bahamianology website.
CLICK HERE to visit the Bahamianology Facebook page.

stuntman hanna

Bahamian Stuntman and Actor Jason Elwood Hanna

An Interview with Bahamian actor who “Stunts” in Black Panther movie

by Lady Archipelago

Y’all, we have a Bahamian in the Black Panther movie! We repeat…We have a Bahamian in the Black Panther movie!

The world is literally sitting at the edge of its seat waiting for the theatre doors to swing open and the movie to premiere today. The thing is, while everyone is eager to see some of Hollywood’s best dress up as fantasy superheroes and bring their Marvel dreams to life, Bahamians are stoked that one of them, will be one of us!

Stuntman and actor…and (we’ll say it again) BAHAMIAN, Jason Elwood Hanna proudly carries the 242 on his back as part of this star studded cast. And just so you’re not doubting his “Bahamian-ness,” let us tell you how Bahamian he really is: his father is from Acklins, his mother is from Crooked Island, he was born in New Providence, he went to Claridge Primary and St. Anne’s schools and he knows how to say, “well muddoes!”

He’s a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and can also be seen in FX’s Atlanta, Netflix’s Luke Cage Season 2 and Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War.

eLIFE242 caught up with the actor recently to get the scoop on his 15+ years in Hollywood.

• • • •

eLIFE242: How did you get into acting, and more impressively, being a stunt man?
Jason: I was fascinated and trained in martial arts or a form of movement like gymnastics and at the age of 18 I began traveling outside of The Bahamas in order to meet other people in the martial arts community. I would save up any money I had gotten from parents, friends, the little work I could find until I could afford the tickets and money needed to travel for maybe a week here and a week there. In 2006 a decision was made to form a stunt training group that would span across both Canada and The Bahamas, inviting some of the best talent in stunts in our friends circles and we called that group Zanshin, a Japanese word which roughly translates into ” follow through ” in English. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at elife242.


Young artist Lucas Kaighin

Abaco teenager to hold art exhibition at Doongalik

Lucas Kaighin, a 16 years old teenager from Marsh Harbour, Abaco, will open his first solo exhibition in Nassau of his art work entitled “Explosion” on Friday, February 23 from 6-9pm.

According to his mentor, local Abaco artist Jo Bradley: “Lucas has been painting original watercolours and acrylics since he was three. Even at that early age his brilliance and power with colour and brush was evident. Lucas' preferred style is abstract, portraying emotions and subjects in bold strokes and slashes, ribbons and delicate etchings in the paint itself. His art is compelling and I often learn as much from him as I give!” [...]

CLICK HERE for full release at the NAGB website.


Heino Schmid. “Mass”, acrylic on paper. 2017/2018. (Courtesy of the D’Aguilar Art Foundation.)

Heino Schmid’s “wait. I saw something.”

The complexity and simplicity of abstraction.

by Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

When we are taught to ask for directions in what we are to think, what we are to say and what we are to do, we run into a figurative bind of being stuck in uncreativity and the superficiality of a surface. Heino Schmid’s work does not fit into any of these unthinking paradigms. As I walked through his show “wait. I saw something”, which opened at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation on Thursday, February 8, I had to think about the work. The work is not trouble-free art that covers a wall or adorns a room with its ease of access and prettiness, but an abstraction that made me think about many things.

Schmid’s flowers — a piece called “Here there is one season” is a metal installation with long, angular and somewhat irregular stalks, almost resembling tulips with tulip-like protrusions on the end — caught my attention. Perhaps because it was so distinct from everything else present, but also because it was so odd; tulips but not quite tulips, flowers are not always what they appear. In life, we tend to like the ease of recognition. For some, they reject whatever they do not identify easily. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at The Nassau Guardian.

Rembrandt Taylor Defender of the Faith

“Defender of the Faith” (2001), Rembrandt Taylor, acrylic on canvas, 48 ¾ x 36. (The Dawn Davies Collection.)

From the Dawn Davies Art Collection:

“Defender of
the Faith”

Rembrandt Taylor’s Dragon-slayer.

by Natalie Willis

Bahamian artist Rembrandt Taylor is truly a master of his craft. His meticulous attention to lines and cell-shaded blocks of colour is testament to his skill. His body of artwork generally contain references to Exodus, to Black kings and queens, to religion, and his beliefs as Rastafari are clear and given deference. The religious and social movement, which began in the 1930s in Jamaica, gives rich territory for explorations of faith and identity, of self, and Taylor doesn’t shy away from re-framing the conversation to suit his roots.

In this vein of celebration of Black histories of faith, “Defender of the Faith” (2001)—depicting St. George slaying the mythical dragon—would seem to be something of a contradiction. Why on Garvey’s green earth would a Rasta paint the patron saint of England in such detail? The image is iconic in art history, and the story is popular not just in England but across Europe—oddly enough, particularly in Russia and Georgia. Saint George, in Georgia, who’d have thunk it? [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at the NAGB website.

Screen shot 2018-02-16 at 10.33.28 AM

A Cultural Explosion

by Alesha Cadet

Giving both locals and visitors a taste of the creativity and versatility of the culture of the islands, the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival last weekend showcased everything from art to jewellery, culinary delicacies and entertainers.

Held on the grounds of the John Watling’s Distillery, the two-day event attracted thousands of visitors.

Whether for families with kids, or groups enjoying to a girls’ or guys’ day out, the festival made for a great outing that featured live music, dancing storytelling, maypole plaiting, fashion shows, a Junkanoo rush-out, performance by the Royal Bahamas Police Force band, and a kids’ interactive corner – all hosted by the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).

Over the years, the festival has served to highlight, promote and support the incredible wealth of talent that exists in The Bahamas, as artisans, musicians, mixologists and dancers gather to showcase every imaginable expression of creativity possible. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full story on Pg 8 in Tribune Weekend.

Conch n Cone

The reinvention of cracked conch

by Cara Hunt

It may have been tucked away in a corner at last weekend’s Tru Tru Bahamian Festival, but new food vendor Conch ‘n’ Cone was certainly one of the go-to food spots to enjoy a native favourite with a twist.

Nikita Kenny explained that she came up with the idea to sell flavoured cracked conch inside waffle cones just on a whim.

“Naturally it was a gift from my mother; she loves to cook. My mother is an island gal with amazing skills in the kitchen. Her skills in my genes were inevitable and she taught me everything I know in culinary. I’m not a chef, it was just watching my mother cook and adding my own unique twist. I’m known to everyone who knows me to think outside the box. I used that gift to give cracked conch a distinctive spin,” she told Tribune Weekend.

“It’s a part of my canvas that has just begun to unfold. Over the years I’ve pushed myself to think outside of the box. It took a lot of brainstorming to create something innovative, and most importantly, Bahamian.”

“Conch ‘n’ Cone is tender succulent cracked conch in a waffle cone. We also make our cones and offer a garlic, thyme-infused flavour,” she said. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on Pg 7 in Tribune Weekend.
CLICK HERE to visit Conch ‘n’ Cone’s Facebook page.

tia toni designs

The resurrection of calligraphy

by Alesha Cadet

Calligraphy is art of beautiful handwriting. While the term may derive from the Greek words for “beauty” (kallos) and “to write” (graphein), people all around the world have a long-standing history of this visual art.

In recent, more digital decades, calligraphy became somewhat neglected. Typing replaced handwriting as a quicker, more efficient way to communicate. However, in recent years, and thanks to sites like Pinterest and other online resources, especially in the world of DIY, the art form made its comeback in a big way. And this time around there are more uses for it than ever before.

For one local designer, Tia-toni Williams, calligraphy has opened a whole new avenue to let her imagination run wild and earn a living.

Creativity runs in her blood, with several of her family members connected to the visual arts, so it seemed only natural that Tia-toni would eventually explore this field.

Two years ago, the 32-year-old business administrator started creating handcrafted and handwritten items for family and friends. Then, after honing her skills, she officially launched her new company, Tia-Toni Designs, last September. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on Pg 14 in Tribune Weekend.


art & culture from the region
and around the world

obama portraits

(LEFT) Kehinde Wiley, "Barack Obama", 2018. © 2018 Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. (RIGHT) Amy Sherald, "Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama", 2018. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.

The masterful, history-making portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled


(L) Kehinde Wiley / (R) Amy Sherald

by Isaac Kaplan

The official portraits of former United States President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama were unveiled at an emotional and historic ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning.

The stunning depiction of President Obama, by artist Kehinde Wiley, and of his wife, by Amy Sherald, drew gasps and applause as each subject and artist together removed the black veils covering the portraits for a dramatic reveal.

Both Wiley and Sherald faced an unprecedented and monumental task: to capture the first African Americans elected to serve as president and first lady in a building built by slaves. But neither artists’ brush failed under the weight of history. The portraits are deft, thoughtful comments on race and representation in America that also provide an intimate encounter with the psyche of their individual subjects.

The results certainly pleased the sitters. Wiley’s portrait shows a seated and solemn Obama leaning forward as if in conversation, his arms crossed, against a background of dense and verdant foliage. The choice of flowers—chrysanthemums, jasmine, African blue lilies—nod to Obama’s connection with Chicago, Hawaii, and his late Kenyan father, respectively. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Artsy.

Related Articles:
How a Painting of President Obama Broke the Rules... [Time]
Amy Sherald finds success... [Baltimore Magazine]


Five arts professionals offer perspective on official Obama portraits

by Najee Dorsey

Listen as artist Najee Dorsey conducts 5 separate interviews with five Arts Professionals — Leatrice Ellzy, Tina Dunkley, Kelli Morgan, Danny Simmons and Sonie Ruffin as they offer their perspectives on the Official Obama Portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

CLICK HERE to listen interviews
at Black Art in America.


Elizabeth Alexander

Five things to
know about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s
new President

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation appoints distinguished writer,
poet, scholar, and arts advocate Elizabeth Alexander as next President.

by Mike Scutari

Anyone who raises money for the liberal arts on campus or cultural institutions pays laser-like attention to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—or at least they should. It’s the mothership funder in this critical space, with assets of $6.3 billion and annual grant-making of $300 million a year. Mellon often gives out this money in big chunks, too, and it’s well-known for its seven-figure grants—cash that can feel like a windfall from heaven, especially for smaller colleges, given the scarcity of major funders that care about the humanities and related areas.

But if Mellon is well-known in campus and cultural fundraising circles, it’s not so visible beyond these rarified precincts. It’s long kept a low profile in ways that have felt like a missed opportunity. A $6 billion foundation can be a powerful platform for influencing public debate, and Mellon's mission feels more urgent than ever, with the liberal arts under siege and growing awareness of how the arts can be used to drive social change.

Now, the foundation has appointed a new president, acclaimed American poet Elizabeth Alexander, who seems exceptionally well-suited for the job of maximizing Mellon’s potential to more boldly advance its core values—assuming that's what the board truly wants. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Inside Philanthropy.


Charles Fréger, Mardi Gras Indian (pink), 2015 (Yam Gallery)

How the “Mardi Gras Indians” compete to craft the most stunning costumes

by Alina Cohen

For the Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans’ most important celebration is less about boozing and bead-throwing than making incredible costumes. Comprised of different “tribes” of black New Orleans residents (many of Creole descent), the group leads one of the city’s most spectacular Carnival events, with each member wearing stunning homemade suits that appropriate the aesthetics of Native American dress. The participants spend months sewing outfits to debut during an annual march held on the “Super Sunday” before Fat Tuesday—the last day of Mardi Gras before Lent begins. (This year, it falls on March 18.) Though New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras for weeks and hosts innumerable fetes, the Mardi Gras Indians’ parades—replete with drums and chants—are still a major spectacle.

The participants are unlikely craftsmen. Comprised of teachers, carpenters, and blue collar workers, the Mardi Gras Indians sew elaborate suits to rival the feats of professional costume designers. While men dominate the tribes, women can become Mardi Gras Indian “queens” who make their own costumes and “mask” on Super Sunday. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Artsy.


How Florida’s Black “Highwaymen” painters made a living in the Jim Crow South

by Alice Bucknell

alfred hair highwaymen

Alfred Hair, Breaking Wave, undated. Collection of Roger Lightle. Image courtesy of A.E. Backus Museum.

Being an artist is rarely seen as a ticket to prosperity and social mobility. But for Florida’s historical “Highwaymen”—a group of around two dozen black painters who made a living selling their landscape paintings out of car trunks in the Jim Crow South—art was something of a pathway to freedom.

Harold Newton River Road

Harold Newton, River Road, undated. Collection of Roger Lightle. Image courtesy of A.E. Backus Museum.

From the 1950s through the 70s, the Highwaymen produced over 200,000 paintings of Florida’s diverse ecology—vivid scenes depicting fiery red sunsets over aquamarine bays or the scraggy, Spanish moss-covered banyan trees stretching over the state’s backwater regions. Hawking their work straight from their car trunks, the group sold paintings to day-tripping tourists along U.S. Route 1 on Florida’s Atlantic Coast and to (predominantly white) business owners in the banks, motels, and laundromats of their native Fort Pierce, even as galleries turned them away.

The paintings originally went for $25 or $30 each, and were typically sold on the same day they were made, transported in bundles by car or bike in handmade frames and often still glistening with wet oil paint. Today, paintings by the Highwaymen are included in the Smithsonian Collection; they can clear $10,000 at auction or in private sales; and originals by the group’s most prominent figures, Al Black, Alfred Hair, and Harold Newton—who is estimated to have made over 30,000 paintings alone—are coveted by a diverse fan base that includes the Obamas and Steven Spielberg. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Artsy.


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Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

Art & Culture were created to
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Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine
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a design firm based in Nassau, The Bahamas offering graphic design, custom illustration, fine art, art marketing, art brokerage and publishing.

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