Smith and Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART and CULTURE’ Issue No. 344 Sharing Art and Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to se


Smith and Benjamin’s
Issue No. 344

Sharing Art and Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

“In Foreign” (2017) by Bahamian artist Carla Campbell
(16" x 13" / Graphite on Strathmore paper)
• • •
This piece by Campbell is part of her one woman show “Woman’s Tongue –
A Social Commentary”
, that opens at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery,
tomorrow night, Friday, May 11th at 6:30pm.


Thursday, May 10th, 2018

To all our Mom readers: Have a wonderful and happy Mother’s Day this Sunday.


letter to the editor


Dear Editor,

Thank you for your weekly newsletter. I read it with enthusiasm each week and enjoy the many stories of Bahamians in the arts even as I sit far away in another country. Keep up the great work!

I read with interest the comments of artist Carla Campbell whose art exhibition is opening tomorrow night. Some people, like Carla, believe art is a vehicle of change, an instrument of social engineering. It certainly can be used for that, but fundamentally art is any form of artistic expression. It is simply a yearning of the soul to capture a small corner of the world of beauty.

Art is one’s interpretation or impressions of reality. It is one’s recognition of the admirable qualities seen in a human face. It is a reflection of some aspect of the glory
of God.

Utilitarian political art is needed for a completely different purpose. I respect it, but it does not define the mystery of the ever-present creative instinct which was give to each soul by the power of divine love.

With great admiration,
John Thomas


up and coming
art & cultural events




L E C T U R E :

The NAGB presents: Public Lecture on Restoration, Conservation and Preservation

TONIGHT: Thursday, May 10th | 6pm–7:30pm | At the NAGB


The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas would like to invite the public to attend a lecture and talk by Mark Aronson, chief conservator at the Yale Center for British Art. Aronson will discuss painting restoration, his work in collections care and touch on the ways these everyday museum activities can help serve and inform and help various communities, which include artists, collectors, museums and ultimately the communities that support them.

CLICK HERE for more details at the NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for the event’s Facebook RSVP page.




E X H I B I T I O N :

“Woman’s Tongue: A Social Commentary”
Featuring work by Carla Campbell

OPENS TOMORROW: Friday, May 11th, 2018 | Opens 6:30pm
Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Village Road

Carla-Campbell-Woman s-Tongue3

The much anticipated opening reception of the “Woman’s Tongue” exhibition by artist Carla Campbell takes place tomorrow night – Friday, May 11th, at 6:30pm at the Doongalik Art Gallery on Village Rd. Woman’s Tongue art items will be on sale.

This particular series is an illustrative collection of drawings using mixed pencil media on water color paper. It is representational and uses text to link visual and social commentary. The work is meant to comment on society and it is open to the public. Works will be on view until May 21st, 2018.

Special thanks to the Charitable Arts Foundation for their support of this show and their continued support of the arts in The Bahamas.

CLICK HERE for the event’s Facebook RSVP page.
CLICK HERE for Carla’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE for Carla’s Instagram page.
CLICK HERE for Carla’s website.

Then and Now ThierryLamareandJeanMahie

E X H I B I T I O N :

The Current presents:
“Then and Now,
A Retrospective Exhibition”

Friday, May 11th
The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios

The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios is pleased to present “Then and Now, A Retrospective Exhibition” of works by Jean Mahie and Thierry Lamare. Please join The Current Gallery for the opening on Friday, May 11th from 6-8pm. Works will be on view between May 11th and June 1st.

CLICK HERE to visit The Current’s Facebook page.




E X H I B I T I O N :

The Central Bank of The Bahamas presents: Happy Birthday Nettie

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 | At 6pm
The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery


Nettica “Nettie” Symonette at her home with her art.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery is proud to present a retrospective exhibition of artworks by Nettica “Nettie” Symonette, on her birthday, that allow the public a window into her developmental practice as a visual artist and life as a cultural grande dame.

Emerging from years in the hospitality industry, specifically ecotourism, 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.

When walking through Nettie’s Place, the artworks that adorn walls, ceilings, tables, floors and flora are elucidated by Nettie’s storytelling. Whether it be what inspired a work, how it came to be or an anecdote of what was occurring in Nettie’s life at the time of making it, there is an accompanying and contextualizing story for everything. A stroll through the property will educate any visitor on the rich cultural history of this country that has, as Nettie will explain, become diluted through time and technology.


Nettica “Nettie” Symonette

Arriving at Nettie’s Place is a serendipitous event for most who have been lucky enough to be given the grand tour. The photographs and video accompanying her artwork throughout the exhibition further contextualize the works in the absence of a visit to Nettie’s Place.

Visitors to the exhibition are granted access through this intimate aperture into the home and mind of Nettie as she strolls around her cultural haven, beaming with pride, storytelling and gesturing with her hands. Following a self-proclaimed inability to draw, viewers witness how exactly her inspiration is drawn from the spiritual realm. Nettie decodes not only the physical works that define her artistic practice, but also takes time to translate its spiritual origins.

The exhibition comes together to bring a face and context to the naïve, intuitive, gestural works that Nettie has become known for. In coming together to celebrate her birthday and artistic practice, The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery hopes toffee the public an insight into Nettica Symonette, as well as the arts and cultural history that she embodies.


AR T / T A L K :

“Woman Tongue: A Social Commentary”
Art Talk Panel Discussion

Thursday, May 17th, 2018 | At 6pm
Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Village Road


On Thursday, May 17th, artist Carla Campbell will host an Art Talk Panel Discussion at 6pm at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery where she will discuss key themes featured in some of the more controversial art work in her new exhibition. Featured panel guests are playwright and professor Dr. Ian Strachan, Veteran Counsellor of The Crisis Centre Donna Nicolls, and politician and activist Terneille Burrows. The event will be livestreamed on carlacampbellart on Instagram as well as on Facebook.

CLICK HERE for Carla’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE for Carla’s Instagram page.
CLICK HERE for Carla’s website.


F I L M :

NAGB presents a LUX Scotland curated Film Series: One Turn of the Revolution

Thursday, May 17
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

On Thursday, May 17th starting at 7 p.m. LUX Scotland in partnership with the British Council will present the first of four film programmes in the NAGB’s brand-spanking-new Fiona’s Theatre.

Drawing inspiration from “We Suffer to Remain”, the first screening named “One Turn of the Revolution” will showcase the seminal film by The Black Audio Film Collective “Handsworth Songs” and Barbadian-born, Glasgow-based artist Alberta Whittle’s experimental film “Sorry Not Sorry.”

It will be the first time these important cultural and historically important films will be showcased in The Bahamas and possibly even in the Caribbean in a public forum. The event starts with a short conversation between Nicole Yip, director of LUX Scotland & curator of the programme, Dr Ian Bethell- Bennett, faculty at The University of The Bahamas and NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe followed by a Q+A. The film programme will begin at 8pm. The event is FREE and open to the public.

CLICK HERE for more details at the NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for the event’s Facebook RSVP page.


call for works


The NAGB announces:
Open Call for Works about Potcakes!

Deadline Submission: Monday, May 14, 2018

The NAGB is celebrating the Chinese year of the Dog with a call for Potcakes. Would you like to share your experience of observing, owning, or knowing a potcake? Bahamian artists are welcome to submit works in any medium: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography, video, textile, installation and mixed media. Submit a maximum of 3 images in your application. Artists 15 years and over are allowed to submit works.

CLICK HERE for full details and rules of the Call.

British Council National Gallery Call

Americas IN Britain – 2018 Caribbean Edition: Instagram Residency
Open Call

Application Deadline: Friday, May 18, 2018

The British Council is delighted to announce a brand new digital partnership with the National Portrait Gallery in London called Americas IN Britain | 2018 The Caribbean Edition. To mark a number of anniversaries celebrating our cultural heritage and contribution to the UK, from the Windrush Voyage to the Notting Hill Carnival, The Council is launching an open call for artists in the Caribbean to build a photographic collection as part of an Instagram residency with the curators at the National Portrait Gallery. The work will be showcased from July through October, 2018. The deadline for applications is May 18, 2018. Apply and share today! #ArtConnectsUs #AmericasInBritain

CLICK HERE for full details on how to enter.


art & culture news
from the bahamas

Gio Swaby Germany show

Bahamian artist Gio Swaby stands with her portrait series now on display in the Festival of Textile Art in Schmallenberg, Germany.

Bahamian artist in textile exhibition in Germany

The work of Bahamian artist Giovanna Swaby is on display in an exhibition entitled “Substance Search: Textile in the Art from the Bauhaus to Today” at Die Textile – the Festival of Textile Art in Schmallenberg, Germany.

Swaby’s textile portrait series “My Hands Are Clean” is being exhibited alongside 10 other extraordinary artists, including the legendary German artists Joseph Beuys and Josef Albers.

Swaby shared, “Extremely honoured to be here; it feels unreal. Loving the feel of this work outside of the White Cube and in an intimate & unconventional exhibition space. Got up close and personal with a selection of Picasso works also featured at this festival and still mesmerized!”

Featuring the works of legendary master artists and works of national and international art, “Substance Search” shows different approaches and artistic positions in textiles from the Bauhaus to the present day, exploring the spectrum of meaning and material in textiles. Beginning with a textile work by Josef Albers and the felt suit (1970) by Joseph Beuys, the works reach into contemporary art, in which threads, fabrics, needles are used or discussed as material.

CLICK HERE for more details at the Festival’s website.


Bahamian poet featured in new anthology

The poetry of award-winning Trinidadian Bahamian poet Lelawattee ‘Asha’ Rahming is featured in a new anthology, “We Mark Your Memory”, which also features the poetry of heavy-hitting writers including David Dabydeen (Royal Society Fellow of Literature), Jennifer Rahim (2018 winner of the Bocas Prize for Literature), an essay by Gaiutra Bahadur, and a short story by Kevin Hosein.

To mark the centenary of the abolition of indenture in the British Empire (2017-2020), the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers, has published this anthology which was edited by David Dabydeen, Maria del Pilar Kaladeen and Tina K. Ramnarine.

Asha shares, “I am not only pleased to have my work in this anthology, I am also thankful to the editors and publishers for making this book, which brings together writings from the descendants of indenture, across the Commonwealth. It is a ground-breaking work about the controversial legacy and heritage of indenture.”

Manoo-Rahming Lelawattee-asha-sq

Lelawattee ‘Asha’ Manoo-Rahming

Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming is a Trinidadian Bahamian who was born in Trinidad and who resides in Nassau, The Bahamas (right next door to the editor of this illustrious publication) where she is a practicing professional Mechanical/Building Services Engineer. A poet, fiction writer, artist and essayist, Lelawattee’s work has appeared in numerous publications in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Nicaragua, USA and Europe, including WomanSpeak; Anthurium; The Caribbean Writer; Journal of Caribbean Literature; Poui; Thamyris; and Caribbean Erotic. Lelawattee has won the David Hough Literary Prize from The Caribbean Writer (2001); the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Short Fiction from The Caribbean Writer (2009); and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) 2001 Short Story Competition. Her first book of poetry, Curry Flavour, was published in 2000 by Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, England. Her second collection of poetry, Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems, which was short-listed for the Inaugural Proverse Literary Prize (2009), was published in 2011 by Proverse Hong Kong.

Congratulations Asha!

CLICK HERE or HERE to purchase the book online.


by Bahamian artist Lillian Blades

Art is part of her family’s mosaic

Lillian Blades exhibit at Gantt Center.

by Ashley Mahoney

Bahamian artist Lillian Blades comes from a family of creative women.

A native of Nassau, Bahamas, Blades earned the Award of Excellence from The Bahamas Consulate and Visual Artist Award for The National Black Arts Festival in 2016. Her current exhibit, “Mirrors of Life,” is on view at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, NC through July 29, which displays quilt-like works dating back to 2010.

“The early works are more quilt-like, and then I started using a panel foundation, so it has more of a mosaic feel with a quilt-like background,” Blades said. “The quilting references my mom [Lillian], a seamstress, and other women artists, like the quilters I’ve connected with since living in Atlanta. I like to pay tribute to all those women who may not get the recognition that I feel they deserve with the feminine arts like being a seamstress, crocheting, and craft-like work that women tend to do—men too, but I know a lot of women who do it.”

Blades’ exhibition title alludes to not only the incorporation of physical mirrors, but the way that plays into one’s life. “I’ve been using a lot of mirrors lately for self-reflection and introspection for myself, and for others to be able to look at themselves as well,” she said. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Charlotte Post.
CLICK HERE to view exhibition details at the Gantt Center.

take the survey

Bahamian art historian & educator launches art research project and needs your feedback

Please take the survey today.

Art educator, historian and scholar, Dr. Erica M. James, announced on Facebook this week that she is embarking on a new research project on the state of the arts in The Bahamas, and she needs the feedback of all Bahamian and resident artists, art students, art educators, art patrons, collectors, cultural workers, and all engaged citizens of The Bahamas.

Dr James has compiled a thought-provoking survey that asks a series of questions including: “What do you think Baha Mar’s impact has been on the art life of The Bahamas more generally, and or your personal career in the arts?”, “What exhibitions would you like to see at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas? Why?”, and many others.

CLICK HERE to take the survey.


"Prey" by Carla Campbell

Bahamian artist won’t hold her tongue

by Jeffarah Gibson

It won’t be Carla Campbell’s tongue that shares her impassioned views on the state of the country and social ills that have plagued it for most of the talking when her ‘Woman’s Tongue: A Social Commentary’ exhibition opens at the Doongalik Art Gallery & Studios tomorrow night – Friday May 11th.

The exhibition highlights the artist’s view on issues that particularly concern women and children. And Carla has invited the general public to join her on May 11 for the unveiling of 15 pieces of art. It will begin at 6:30pm.

To accompany the exhibition, there will be an Art Talk, Thursday, May 17 at 6pm at Doongalik, where the artist will discuss key themes about some of her more controversial works with panel of guests such as playwright and professor Dr Ian Strachan, veteran counselor of the Crisis Centre Donna Nicolls, and activist Terneille Burrows. This Art Talk will kick off a live streamed web series at Carla’s Instagram page: ‘CarlaCampbellArt’ and on Facebook.

“Like many Bahamians, I follow the news and feel the shocking, unbelievable and heart-wrenching issues deeply. When I started these pieces in 2015 I was feeling overwhelmed by the state of the nation and the weight of it festered within me. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, the image that I needed to draw flashed in my mind. And this is my process. [...]

CLICK HERE and scroll through document to pg 10 to read full story in the Tribune Weekend.


Rupert Missick, Sr., founder of Sober House Art Museum with shots of the art in his museum.

‘Lay down the bottle pick up the brush’

Sober House Art Museum hopes to give addicts new purpose.

by Alesha Cadet

Located just off Bernard Road and Cockburn Street Fox Hill, there is an eye catching building that shines bright in shades of yellow, red and green. It is the new Sober House Art Museum which has a unique purpose: giving alcoholics and other addicts a creative outlet.

Its owner, Rupert Missick, Sr., a recovering alcoholic of 41 years, shared with Tribune Weekend his vision for the museum and his desire to do his part in bringing about change for individuals struggling with addiction.

“Sober Bahamas was started as an organization to assist persons who want to get off alcohol. As you may know, this community is infested with drinkers. They are not all alcoholics, but some are obviously out of control and having a challenge living and dealing with it. I am a recovering alcoholic and I have decided this should be my life’s work now. The enemy of sobriety is to be idle, so with being a recovering alcoholic you want to have things to do,” said Mr Missick.

He illustrated his concern for excessive drinking and alcoholic availability in the country by pointing out a funeral service that was taking place across the street from the museum at the time of this interview. [...]

CLICK HERE and scroll through document to pg 8 to read full story in the Tribune Weekend.

NAGB-Treasure Cay Soldwedel

"Treasure Cay", nd. by Frederic “King” Soldwedel, watercolour on paper, 16 x 24. (Image courtesy of the Dawn Davies Collection.)

It’s not just black and white

It is also color, light, shift and feeling.

by Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

In the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ “Traversing the Picturesque: For Sentimental Value” chief curator Holly Bynoe brings together a rich tapestry of works from the nineteenth and early twentieth century Bahamas that shift our feelings. These works from diverse artists and styles reflect light and nature in different and nuanced ways. Many of these artists would ‘escape’ the harsh New England, Canadian, European winters, or be inspired by films such as “James Bond 007: Thunderball” to travel to and create with the light of the tropics which had and still has incredible sentimental value.

They saw the light at its best. How light penetrates into the subject, reflects off, refracts through or dances on life. I think refraction or “light passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another or a medium of varying density” is symbolic and significant in the study of Bahamians, as well as Bahamian-influenced and inspired art. This work continues from last week’s exploration of the exhibition.

The life and colour as lived in the islands of the Caribbean would provide uplifting energy and deep reflective studies on island life. At the same time, many artists and poets who experienced the tropics first hand would have seen through western eyes and eventually altered their perspectives as they encountered real-life tropical adventures in bright and textured technicolour, before the advent of the same. [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB.

NAGB-Two children Frank Otis Small

“Young Children” (nd), Frank Otis Small, oil on canvas, 21 ½ x 15 ¼ . In the collection of Peter and Pippa Vlasov and currently on display at the NAGB in “Traversing the Picturesque”.

Now on Display at the NAGB:

“Young Children”
by Frank Otis Small

Care in the Craft

by Natalie Willis

We have a long history of looking in The Bahamas, in the idea of being seen. We were the chain of limestone that 40,000 Lucayans and Arawaks saw as home as they weaved their way north through the islands. We were Christopher Columbus’ misplaced Indies, setting his eyes on a lucky second-best that he claimed for Spain – thus beginning the “New World” and our written history. There were the hungry eyes set on plantation profit – and the hungry eyes of those forced to do that work. Then there were the thousands of eyes afterwards, in and out of the space in blinks and in boats that came to see just what “paradise” looked like. Those eyes were turned on us.

Hundreds of painters came through The Bahamas and the Caribbean from the 1850s into the 1950s to see the space as it was reimagined – from a West Indies hell-hole of disease to a tropical Eden to cure-all-ills. One such painter was Frank Otis Small. An American, born in 1860 and died in 1915, Small’s work is a clear example of the way that colonial eyes looked at Bahamians of this era. Many of these artists have left little of extensive detail for us to remember them by, but their art speaks volumes about their character and their time. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in The Nassau Guardian.


The Villa Doyle

Forgotten Facts

by Paul C Aranha

Last night (April 6), I spent several magical hours as a guest of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas for the grand opening of their new Fiona’s Theatre.

“Where words leave off, music begins.” How right was the poet Heinrich Heine when he wrote those words. My wife and I sat there, in the shadow of an historic monument to colonial days, overlooking other monuments of this age gone by – St Francis Church, the first Roman Catholic church in The Bahamas, buildings on West Hill Street, some in desperate need of lots of TLC, and listening to Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart. To round it off, we were treated to a Junkanoo parade, which brought the audience to their feet, rocking to the rhythm.

I imagined the earlier occupiers of Villa Doyle, entertaining their friends with champagne, music and dancing, never thinking of its becoming an art gallery, but I’m sure they would be happy with what has been accomplished. We should all thank the Albek family (in The Bahamas by choice) for the amphitheatre they have given us.

In the Arts and Culture section of this morning’s newspaper, I was disappointed to read “…some people may have reservations about the NAGB inhabiting this building…,” but I was not surprised, because this Arts & Culture section can be depended upon to laud the destruction and disappearance of colonial-era buildings, forgetting that it is easy to re-write history, but impossible to unlive it. [...]

CLICK HERE and scroll through document to pg 23 to read full story in the Tribune Weekend.


art & culture stories from the region and around the world


(comic by Garrincha and used with permission)

Why did Cuba deport artists trying to attend Havana’s first alternative biennial?

While governments and the media may tout the reforms in Cuba, the reality for artists on the island nation is far more precarious.

by Coco Fusco

It has been argued in The New York Times that Raul Castro is a reformer who made the expansion of independent businesses in Cuba possible. The recent explosion of bed and breakfasts, beauty parlors, and repair shops run out of private homes is widely welcomed as a sign of positive change. While the Trump administration attempts to reverse Obama’s Cuba policies and curtail profits from tourism that flow to the Cuban state, it has spoken favorably about the country’s burgeoning private sector. The country’s new president, Miguel Diaz Canel, has been cast as a liberal who has a Facebook account, rides a bike and supports gays in his home province of Villa Clara. Prior to taking office he gave no hint of wanting to reverse the alleged reformist trend.

How then, do we explain why a small band of Cuban creatives that launched an alternative biennial so that artists across Havana could open their homes to the public would be subject to a full on attack by their government? The organizers of the #00Bienal de la Habana — artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and curator Yanelys Nuñez Leyva — decided to put together their event after the state-sponsored biennial was postponed due to the impact of Hurricane Irma. They felt that artists needed an outlet and that the citizenry could benefit from an injection of creative energy. They raised money for their project through crowd funding and deftly used social media to promote their venture, posting catchy videos and even a theme song. They encountered resistance from Cuban authorities but decided to forge ahead nonetheless.

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

Screen shot 2018-05-10 at 12.34.58 PM

The majority of students in the Visual Arts program are given studios in Prentis Hall, pictured, where they face temperatures above 90 degrees or below 40 degrees, poor air quality, flooding, pieces of limestone falling from the ceiling, and a limited number of studio spaces and options. (FILE PHOTO / RACHEL BERNSTEIN)

With decrepit facilities and missing faculty, Columbia MFA Visual Arts students demand tuition refund

by Juliette Verlaque

When Elsa Lama, SVA ’18, chose to attend Columbia’s Masters of Fine Arts Visual Arts program in 2016, she was drawn by the promise of participating in an interdisciplinary program with renowned faculty, peers, and the resources of an Ivy League university.

Two years later, and a few weeks from graduation, Lama, along with 51 of the 54 students in the program, has demanded a full tuition refund for the 2017-18 academic year, stating that she has not received the education that she was promised.

In her studio in Prentis Hall, Lama has faced freezing temperatures, flooding in the hallways, and pieces of limestone falling from the ceilings. She has not been able to meet several of the professors that she came to Columbia to work with, including Sanford Biggers, an internationally acclaimed artist who has been on sabbatical for more than two years. And she, along with her classmates, has spent countless hours reaching out to facilities, writing letters, and sitting in meetings with Columbia administrators.

“I came here on the premise that these were the two years of my life that I could fully invest myself and submerge myself into my practice and my work and my career, and a lot of this time was taken by writing letters and meeting with my peers so I could come up with some solution about the most basic [issues] about the roof that we’re under and the temperatures that we live in,” Lama said. “We were promised something that we don’t have and we’re not getting.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at The Columbia Spectator.

Time Chadwick Boseman

Image of Chadwick Boseman on the cover of the February 19, 2018 Time magazine (photo Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Why cultural critics of color matter

The Black Panther dialectic, the MTV News experiment, Vibe, and The Source in their prime: these conversations and platforms show what’s possible when critics of color define the terms of the debate.

by Elizabeth Méndez Berry

Black stories matter.

This idea from Jamil Smith’s essay about Black Panther captures how storytelling fuels social movements and why this superhero movie isn’t just another comic book flick.

“Making movies about Black lives is part of showing that they matter,” he writes in the Time magazine cover story. “Black Panther is emblematic of the most productive responses to bigotry.” Smith argues that by ignoring the hearts and minds of racists and instead envisioning a world beyond their reach, the film creates an irresistible spectacle. “They are missing out on the full possibility of the world and the very America they seek to make ‘great.’ They cannot stop this representation of it,” he writes.

As Smith’s analysis demonstrates, Black critics matter too.

This movie prompted a riveting national conversation about race, gender, and colonialism for two reasons: the power of the film, and the power of its critics. Critics — specifically Black critics — propelled a renaissance of writing about this rare movie that, as Carvell Wallace notes in his New York Times Magazine essay, gloriously centers Black people without centering stereotypical representations of Black pain. When an important work is met with thoughtful, engaged criticism, it gains depth and traction. And when each potent piece of writing reverberates as never before — shared, liked, and debated on social media — the critic has new opportunities to shape our increasingly toxic cultural discourse. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

Screen shot 2018-05-10 at 12.22.20 PM

Illustration by Glenn Harvey.

I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye

Kanye West wants freedom—white freedom.

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I could only have seen it there, on the waxed hardwood floor of my elementary-school auditorium, because I was young then, barely 7 years old, and cable had not yet come to the city, and if it had, my father would not have believed in it. Yes, it had to have happened like this, like folk wisdom, because when I think of that era, I do not think of MTV, but of the futile attempt to stay awake and navigate the yawning whiteness of Friday Night Videos, and I remember that there were no VCRs among us then, and so it would have had to have been there that I saw it, in the auditorium that adjoined the cafeteria, where after the daily serving of tater tots and chocolate milk, a curtain divider was pulled back and all the kids stormed the stage. And I would have been there among them, awkwardly uprocking, or worming in place, or stiffly snaking, or back-spinning like a broken rotor, and I would have looked up and seen a kid, slightly older, facing me, smiling to himself, then moving across the floor by popping up alternating heels, gliding in reverse, walking on the moon. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The Atlantic.

fulton Leroy Washington

Fulton Leroy Washington, "Deteriorating". (Courtesy of the artist.)

How painting helped a wrongfully convicted man get out of prison

by Casey Lesser

When Fulton Leroy Washington, also known as Mr. Wash, began serving a life sentence in prison in the late 1990s for a crime he did not commit, he started drawing. Doodles and sketches led to striking figurative paintings. Art helped him get through 21 years behind bars—in California, Colorado, Missouri, and Kansas—and eventually, to clemency.

Washington’s story is the subject of an affecting new documentary short, Mr. Wash, which can now be viewed online. Co-directed by writer Marisa Aveling and filmmaker Sean Mattison, and supported by WeTransfer, the film touches upon larger issues of mass incarceration and prison reform, while honing in on Washington’s personal experience—and, in Mattison’s words, “creative expression and its redemptive power.”

The camera follows Washington in his native city of Compton, California, as he cannily reflects with family and friends on his art and his time in prison. He began serving time in 1997 after being wrongfully convicted of three nonviolent drug offenses (allegations against him claimed that he had purchased chemicals for making PCP). Mandatory minimum sentencing laws led a judge to deliver a life sentence, due to three prior nonviolent convictions. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Artsy.

African Photographer

Keyezua, "I Am Not a Demon, Who Am I?", 2016. (Courtesy of Red Hook Labs.)

6 female photographers challenging misconceptions of the African continent and its diaspora

by Artsy Editors

Over the last decade, photography has played a powerful role in expanding Western perceptions of Africa and its diaspora. In tandem, the female gaze has continued to challenge and redefine narratives relating to identity and representation in photography. A new group show by Red Hook Labs and the magazine Nataal—“New African Photography III,” the third chapter in their renowned co-curated series of exhibitions that have been supported by the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair—brings together work by six female artists whose photography conveys new perspectives and narratives relating to present-day Africa and its diaspora. Artsy asked each of the artists to share the backstory of a particular photograph they’ll be showing, and to consider how their photography challenges misconceptions about Africa or preconceived ideas about the world. [...]

CLICK HERE to read article at Artsy.

Screen shot 2018-05-10 at 12.38.27 PM

Frieze New York art fair in 2017. Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

A Modest Proposal:
Break the
Art Fair

by Jerry Saltz

As a system, art fairs are like America: They’re broken and no one knows how to fix them. Like America, they also benefit those at the very top more than anyone else, and this gap is only growing. Like America, the art world is preoccupied by spectacle — which means nonstop art fairs, biennials, and other blowouts. Yet the place where new art comes from, where it is seen for free and where almost all the risk and innovation takes place — medium and smaller galleries – are ever pressured by rising art fair costs, shrinking attendance and business at the gallery itself, rents, and overhead. This art-fair industrial complex makes it next to impossible for any medium/small gallery to take a chance on bringing unknown or lower-priced artists to art fairs without risking major financial losses. Meanwhile high-end galleries clean up without showing much, if anything, that’s risky or innovative.

A large booth costs $125,000. A gallery can sometimes pay another $15,000 to $18,000 to build out the booth. On-site handling costs can run another $5,000. One dealer told me he paid $350 to have an electric socket installed at the Armory Show. If you’re a local space you don’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for long-distance shipping, travel, and hotel costs for staff. Still, even a local gallery pays about $5,000 to get the art packed and shipped to and from Frieze; for those traveling from abroad, or those American galleries traveling to art fairs in London or Hong Kong, of course the cost is much higher. Never mind that these galleries are double-staffing at the fair and for their New York galleries at the same time. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Vulture.


about the cover


“In Foreign”

by Carla Campbell

“This piece is multi-layered. At first glance, it’s a reflection of the climate of black America right now.... That regardless of how light the skin of the black man... No matter if he’s in a suit and wearing an American flag tie, he’s still seen as a target. Still gunned down. Still profiled. Still stereotyped. Still a target.

“The title, “In Foreign” adds another layer. It is Bahamian colloquialism for “being abroad in another country”. This is a literal portrait of a Bahamian who is in the United States just trying to get along to get along. Collectively, we don’t mind going to another country and totally blending in. We have all heard the phrase “foreign is better”, whether or not we believe it. We shop there... We school there... We birth children there. We change our accents at the airport... Some go so far as to willingly live as undocumented migrants, and we, in general, don't see anything wrong with that.... But we have little to no tolerance for undocumented migrants in our own country.” — Carla Campbell


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Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

Art & Culture were created to
uplift and inspire 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:

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