Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’ A Weekly Digest of Art & Cultural News from The Bahamas for 19 years • • • • CLICK HERE to see online

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Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’
A Weekly Digest of Art & Cultural News
from The Bahamas for 19 years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

Friday, March 15th, 2019
Issue No. 374

• • • •

COVER IMAGE:
Portrait of Bahamian artist Jalan Harris (2018)
by Bahamian photographer Melissa Alcena.

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art & cultural
events calendar

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TONIGHT:

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A R T I S T / T A L K S :

The NAGB’s Ninth National Exhibition:
Artists Talk & Walkthrough
“Mass and Movement”

• TONIGHT: Friday, March 15th | 6:30pm-8pm | At the NAGB

NAGB-NE9ArtistsTalk Mass Movement Sq

TONIGHT, Friday, March 15th, starting at 6:30 p.m. the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) will hold an artists’ talk and walkthrough with several artists whose works are supported in this year’s National Exhibition (NE9), “The Fruit and The Seed.”

Join the NAGB as they welcome Saskia D’Aguilar, Rashad Leamount-Davis, Eric Rose, Heino Schmid and Averia Wright as they share the broader inspirations, provocations and curiosities behind their projects. Collectively, they will focus on the role that the environment and social awareness has played on aesthetic decisions, representation (and at times the lack thereof), and concerns around relationships with self and others. We will also discuss the intricacies and contradictions in how they observe their surroundings and growing creative industry.

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From left: Averia Wright, Heino Schmid, Eric Rose, Saskia D’Aguilar, and Rashad Leamount-Davis.

After the discussion there will be a guided walkthrough and conversation on the artists’ projects. As a reminder, this event and all programming in support of the NE9 are FREE and open to the public.

CLICK HERE for event page.

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FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH

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A R T / C L A S S E S :

The Current at Baha Mar offers:
Art Classes for March 2019

CURRENT-classes march

The Current: Baha Mar Gallery & Art Center​ is pleased to announce a new schedule of Classes at The Current for the month of March 2019.

Tuesdays through Saturdays The Current is offering classes in many different types of Painting including: Landscape, Intuitive, Acrylic, and Mixed Media Painting. There are also classes in Paper Marbling and Monoprinting. There is also a free and open lecture on Wednesdays by Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett of the University of The Bahamas.

To reserve a spot in a class, persons can call the Baha Mar front desk number at (242) 788-8827 or email thecurrent@bahamar.com. They can also stop into the Current Gallery to make payment. Full payment is required to reserve a spot in any class/tour.

There are also Class Bundles available:
• 3 classes for $120: Save $30, does not include specialty classes
• 5 classes for $200: Save $50, does not include specialty classes
• 10 classes for $440: Save $120, includes 6 regular classes and 4 specialty classes.

All class prices are VAT inclusive and include all working materials. Children must be 8 years or older to participate. Gift Certificates are valid for 6 months.

CLICK HERE to visit The Current’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE to visit the Current’s IG.

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NEXT WEEK:

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W O R K S H O P

‘I Speak in Tongues of Many’ Art Workshop
with Sonia Farmer + Shivanee Ramlochan

• Thursday & Friday, March 21-22, 2019 | 2pm & 10am | At the NAGB

NE9ArtistsTalk Shivanee Sonia

The NAGB in collaboration with the University of The Bahamas (UB) and the 2019 Blue Flamingo Literary Festival presents a 2-day workshop on collaborative process and bookmaking with Bahamian bookmaker and poet Sonia Farmer and acclaimed Trinidadian poet, Shivanee Ramlochan called I Speak in Tongues of Many.

The workshop will take place on Thursday, March 21st, 2019: 2:00 pm–5:00 pm and on Friday, March 22nd, 2019: 10:00 am –2:00 pm. I Speak in Tongues of Many is open to the general public for a fee of $40.00 and there are a limited number of spaces available (10). Ten FREE spaces are available to UB students and faculty. I Speak in Tongues of Many will take place in the Michael H Eldon Boardroom, 3rd floor of the Michael Eldon Building on UB’s Oakes Field Campus. Registration and complete details about the workshop and outcomes can be found here.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Art Workshop.

Space is very limited so sign up today. All payments are to be made at the NAGB Mixed Media Store by March 20th. NAGB members receive up to a 10% discount.

CLICK HERE for full schedule at NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for event page.

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A R T I S T / T A L K :

NAGB NE9 presents: In Conversation with
Sonia Farmer and Shivanee Ramlochan

• Friday, March 22, 2019 | 7pm–8:30pm | At the NAGB

Sonia shivanee

(L) Bahamian bookmaker and poet Sonia Farmer. (R) Trinidadian poet, arts reporter, and book blogger Shivanee Ramlochan (Photo of Shivanee © Marlon James)

The NAGB welcomes the public to In Conversation with Bahamian artist, bookmaker, and poet Sonia Farmer and acclaimed Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan on Friday, March 22nd, 2019 from 7:00 pm.

Farmer and Ramlochan will discuss their NE9 project ‘The Red Thread Cycle’ a collaborative artist book project. Shivanee Ramlochan’s first poetry collection, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) has been met with overwhelming regional and international praise. The work catalogues sexual assault and its aftermath is not easy on the eye, heart, or gut—but we must be open to what the pain of these poems teach us about trauma and survival in the Caribbean.

The artists will discuss the more extensive collaboration, intricacies and triggers around sexual violence and trauma and the ability to heal through true connection, awareness and engagement. The event is free and open to the public and is a part of the National Exhibition 9 “The Fruit and The Seed” programming. [...]

CLICK HERE for full details at NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for event page.

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C O N C E R T :

The Nassau Music Society presents: Jazz Vocalist Jacqui Naylor & Pianist Art Khu

• Saturday, March 23rd | 6:30pm | At the Current, Baha Mar
• Sunday, March 24th | 4:30pm | At the BNT Retreat, Village Road

Jacqui-Naylor-Poster2

The Nassau Music Society presents its final concerts of the season: Jacqui Naylor and Art Khu, jazz vocal and piano duo.

Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at a given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin—she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world. During her live performances, Naylor has no problem singing smoky jazz one minute and folk-rock or adult alternative the next—and there are times when she blurs the line between the two.

​Naylor, who is very jazz-friendly but far from a rigid jazz purist, brings a long list of influences to her introspective work—influences ranging from Billie Holiday, June Christy, and Nina Simone to Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, Carole King, and Sheryl Crow. It is an unlikely combination of influences, certainly, but it is one that works well for Naylor who has a highly diverse repertoire. Naylor is not an overly aggressive or forceful type of singer; she favors subtlety, restraint, and understatement, of which Holiday and Christy were both masters.

Naylor and Khu will appear in two separate performances:

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Jacqui Naylor (Photo © www.nunoconceicao.com)

JAZZ CAFÉ:
Saturday 23 March | The Current: Baha Mar Gallery & Art Center​ | 6:30pm Art & Wine | 7pm Concert
Naylor performs with a quartet featuring long-time collaborator, pianist and co-writer, Arthur Khu, and a Bahamian rhythm section to include Adrian D’Aguilar on bass and Kevin Dean on drums. With ten albums and an eleventh on the way, Naylor will treat the audience to new music, jazz standards, originals and covers. Expect also to hear examples of Naylor and Khu’s signature arranging technique coined “acoustic smashing,” where she sings a jazz tune over a well-known rock groove or vice versa.

NMS-Art-Khu

Art Khu on piano. (Photo © www.nunoconceicao.com)

JAZZ IN THE GARDENS:
Sunday 24 March | The Bahamas National Trust Retreat, Village Road | 4:30pm for 5pm

In their second concert of the weekend, the duo will perform solo. As Jacqui herself says: “This is how all our music begins, just the two of us. For over a decade, we’ve been performing and recording with our quartet, yet always include a song or two as a duo. Fans tell us it’s one of their favorite moments at our concerts and we wanted to capture that. We hope you enjoy our quiet and intimate take on jazz standards, pop classics and new originals.”

Weather permitting, this will be an open-air performance in one of the gardens. Concert seating is picnic-style and on a first come, first served basis with designated, well-marked areas for blankets, low-back chairs and high-back chairs Concert goers are encouraged to bring picnics and refreshments (small coolers or insulated bags–no oversized coolers please!) and your own blankets or chairs. Chairs will also be available at The Trust. In the event of rain, the concert will take place under the gazebo.

Tickets are available on the NMS website and at three convenient Custom Computers locations (Old Fort Town Centre, Cable Beach and Cotton Tree Plaza just before Harbour Bay), or at the door on the evenings of the concerts.

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets at the NMS website.
CLICK HERE to view Jacqui performing “Losing My Religion.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Jacqui perform “Black Coffee.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Jacqui perform “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

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COMING END OF MARCH

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C H A R I T Y :

“An Evening at the Races”: A Charity Fundraiser for the Cancer Society
of The Bahamas

• Saturday, March 30th | 6pm | Old Fort Bay Club, Nassau

Evening-at-the-Races-Save-the-date

On Saturday, March 30th, The Cancer Society of The Bahamas will be benefitted by a charity fundraiser event entitled “An Evening at the Races” at Old Fort Bay Club, Nassau. The dress code will be smart attire with hats or fascinators. Cocktails begin at 6pm and the Races start at 7pm. Tickets are $150.

There will be 8 races in total and 10 horses running in each race.

There are two sponsorship donations packages available: A RACE Sponsorship Donation for $3,000 and a HORSE Sponsorship Donation at $300 each. Full Race details and information will be listed in the evening’s event brochure which will be circulated before and at the event.

For tickets, please call:
Jennifer: 424-2667 / Carrie: 424-2441 / Tracie: 424-5992.

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SAVE THE DATE

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C O N C E R T

The Bahamas National Youth Choir’s
29th Annual Concert Season

• April 10th–13th, 2019 | 8pm Nightly | The Dundas, Mackey Street

BNYC-2019-Flyer

The Bahamas National Youth Choir is pleased to present their 29th Annual Concert Season to The Bahamas and to the world. Concert goers can expect a spectacular show set for 8pm nightly, Wednesday–Saturday, April 10th–13th, 2019 at the Dundas Center for the Performing Arts.

This year, the choir has a special treat for all in attendance, as they will pay tribute to the legendary Stevie Wonder in their show tunes segment, making for a nostalgic evening of funky music from the 60s. Additionally, the choir will pay special tribute to the famed Bahamian funk and disco group, the T- Connection in their folk segment. The concert will also feature guest artists Cameron Pratt, Violinist and Soprano prodigy Sophia Marsh.

Tickets are on sale at the Dundas’s Box office at $25. As the Gala Night is opening night, tickets will be $60 which includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. For those interested in Student Matinees which are set for 11am, April 12th and 13th and reserving tickets, call the Dundas at 393-3728 or 394-7179.

CLICK HERE for the BNYC’s Facebook page.

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art & culture stories
from the bahamas

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Bahamian stamps issued in 2012 honouring the women's suffrage movement. (Source: The Tribune)

Women’s Day:
Are we there yet?

by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas

I was honoured to be a guest on a new radio show on 2019’s International Women’s Day (IWD). I was even more gratified to be in the fine company of the woman host and the two other guests—another woman and a man, all of whom were highly knowledgeable and engaged. Better still, it was clear that all four of us, host and guests, were agreed that “Balance Is Better”, which recognizes that the axis of our fight should be the achievement of gender equity in basic human rights, in citizens’ rights and, certainly equity in opportunities.

Are we there yet? Based on my daily experiences and the calls the radio host fielded, I would say decidedly not. Of all the telephone calls and texts our host fielded the overwhelming majority came from men. Except for a few bright sparks, who demonstrated a respect for women and the need for gender equity, the others obviously took their brief on women from a theological perspective that would hold us in eternal servitude to men.

I did hope that, The Bahamas, as a country and a goodly number of the more intelligent voices would seize the opportunity presented by IWD to bring a greater, more coherent and more sustained focus on those factors that are impinging seriously on women’s health, especially persistent violence against women in the home and in the public space. I longed equally to see widespread promotion and recognition of the extraordinary achievements and contributions of Bahamian women across social, economic and cultural sectors. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full editorial at Eyewitness News.

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NE9-Red Thread Cycle-Sonia Farmer

“The Red Thread Cycle” (2018), Shivanee Ramlochan + Sonia Farmer, letterpress-printed books with recorded reading (Edition of 20), dimensions variable. Collection of the artists. (Image © Dominic Duncombe.)

NAGB’s 9th National Exhibition:
The Grave Silence

Sonia Farmer and Shivanee Ramlochan give voice to victims of rape in The Caribbean.

by Natalie Willis

• • •

“The second time, you know what to call it.

You have a whistle; you’re not so foolish that you don’t know what to blow down on when things like this come knocking.

No one’s cut the grass at the community center for seven months, and you have razor

shins you can’t explain to your grandmother.”

— Shivanee Ramlochan, “The Red Thread Cycle”

The issue of rape, and subsequently its deafening silence, is a shocking social disservice in this country, and it is something we should be using our voices to ask many, many questions about. With a failed gender equality referendum, and marital rape still being legal, it is hardly surprising that the statistics for sexual assault in The Bahamas continue to rise. Read between the lines of the statistics and there’s still not enough room for the 60%+ unreported sexual assaults, let alone the “pick-up” lines (see: street harassment) that feeds into gender-based violence. The statistics for the rape of men are even less likely to show the severity of the situation. The sexual violence against women, children, and men, in addition to the commonplace armed robbery and assault, we are left with a labyrinth of heartache and bloodshed that is difficult to find our way out of.

Sonia at work on Red Thread

Sonia Farmer at work on Shivanee Ramlochan’s “The Red Thread Cycle”. (Photo: Sonia Farmer)

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Sonia Farmer at work on Shivanee Ramlochan’s “The Red Thread Cycle”. (Photo: Sonia Farmer)

Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan, gives us “The Red Thread Cycle” in word, which Bahamian author and book artist Sonia Farmer lays down in handset letters on paper, following a visceral, gruesome, unapologetic honesty towards the individual and collective horror and tragedy of sexual violence women, in particular, face in the region. Comprising part of Ramlochan’s collection of poetry, “Everyone Knows I Am A Haunting” (published in 2017 by Peepal Tree Press), this particular series of poems follows a seven-part account of a woman’s rape—or perhaps more heartbreaking still, multiple voices of victims—in Trinidad. Giving a nod to the Greek mythology of Theseus facing the Minotaur, guided through a treacherous labyrinth by Ariadne’s red thread–the goddess of labyrinths, mazes, fertility, wine, and passion–to secure his journey home, Ramlochan’s thread is red with blood, and not the blood of a cisgendered woman’s fertility but instead of violence. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at the NAGB website.

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Under Attack

Bahamian artist Averia Wright’s “Elevating the Blue Light Special” and the dualities of Bahamian identity.

NE9Elevating the Blue Light Special I Side detailedit

"Elevating the Blue Light Special", (2018). Averia Wright. Mixed Media Installation. Bronze, Burlap, Raffia, & Various Textiles. Dimensions variable.

by Ethan Knowles

War for much of the Caribbean is a remote idea – a thing of books, films and faraway lands. In a region characterized by calm waters, light breezes and laidback locals, the notion seems oddly out of place. But the idea is not just a distant one. It’s also awfully dangerous. War necessarily conflicts with what Caribbean nations like The Bahamas ‘should’ be, that is, a peaceful escape for the worn and overworked. Put simply: conflict in the Caribbean is off-brand. And in our Bahamaland, where at least sixty percent of the GDP and half the workforce rely on a carefully manufactured and embellished brand image, being off-brand can be about as deadly as armed conflict.

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Bahamian artist Averia Wright.

As the daughter of a straw vendor in a family of straw vendors, Bahamian sculptor and expanded practice artist Averia Wright is well-acquainted with the brand of paradise we manufacture here. Her work, which grapples with issues affecting both The Bahamas and the region at large, is particularly concerned with tourism and its role as a neocolonialist system in the country today. Elevating the Blue Light Special (2018), Wright’s submission for the “NE9: The Fruit and The Seed,” addresses just this concern, exposing and critiquing the commercialisation of identity which is so central to the contemporary tourist economy.

NE9 Elevating the Blue Light Special II

"Elevating the Blue Light Special", (2018). Averia Wright. Mixed Media Installation. Bronze, Burlap, Raffia, & Various Textiles. Dimensions variable.

Featuring a pair of bronze-casted straw breastplates flanked by two curtain-like draperies formed from tourist objects, Wright’s mixed media installation conjures up a striking mélange of the familiar and foreign. Indeed, most Bahamians would recognise the rolls of plait, the strips of Androsia and the strands of raffia that make up the installation. These, no doubt, are common elements in the commerce of paradise. What may be peculiar and perhaps even unsettling about Wright’s installation to the local eye, however, is the way these familiar objects are cast and arranged. One cannot help but notice a degree of artifice in the installation. Whether in the carefully draped fabric or in the multicolored strands of raffia that bulge and dangle from a delicate, coyly disguised mesh, a certain pretense prevails. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at NAGB website.

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Lyford Cay Foundations announces
Art Scholarship deadline extension

New Online Application Deadline: Monday, March 18th at Midnight

LCF-Harry-Moore-Award-IG-03

The Lyford Cay Foundations have announced a DEADLINE EXTENSION for all their scholarships.

Applicants now have until Monday, March 18th at Midnight to apply for a Lyford Cay Foundations’ scholarship, including the Harry Moore Memorial Scholarship in the Arts – THE flagship art scholarship of The Bahamas. This first part of the application doesn’t take very long. You have nothing to lose and a whole degree to gain if you apply today.

CLICK HERE to apply now.

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TS15 Logo

Transforming Spaces Bahamas Art Tour celebrates 15 years of showcasing Bahamian art

This year’s 2019 Tour takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7.

This year’s Transforming Spaces (TS15) celebrates 15 years of growth, service, and commitment to Bahamian visual culture. TS15 will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7 under the theme ‘SUSTAIN’. The five participating spaces are looking forward to highlighting a weekend of some of the best in contemporary Bahamian art. Participating galleries include: Doongalik Studios, Hillside House, Popopstudios ICVA, University of The Bahamas, and D’Aguilar Art Foundation.

TS Max Taylor

All Photos © Transforming Spaces Bahamas

Transforming Spaces is an annual island-wide art bus tour held in Nassau, The Bahamas, showcasing contemporary Bahamian art that began in 2004 with a core group of participants—Jackson Burnside III, John Cox, Antonius Roberts, Tyrone Ferguson, Jay Koment and Dr. Erica James—who shared one common goal: to get artists to work together to create and display Bahamian art.

It was an exciting time at the turn of the century—The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas opened its doors with an Inaugural National Exhibition in 2003, finally formally spotlighting Bahamian visual art in the eyes of the country and the region. This sparked a series of artistic projects and new galleries that continue to develop Bahamian visual art at a rapid pace to this day. Transforming Spaces is proud to be a defining voice in this conversation. Year after year, the tour has proven to be a great success as artists and art-lovers alike look forward to that weekend in spring where participating galleries transform their spaces to present innovative displays of Bahamian art.

TS Tour

All Photos © Transforming Spaces Bahamas

 
TS Frame
TS Sculpture

All Photos © Transforming Spaces Bahamas

The overall desire of the Transforming Spaces’ organisers is to bring Bahamian art to the forefront by challenging artists to think and create in innovative ways. They also seek to foster connections and collaborations with regional and diasporic artists and curators to spotlight contemporary art practices.

For the first eight years of Transforming Spaces, it fell to the participating galleries to curate their own spaces based on their chosen individual themes or artists. In 2012, the initiative presented their first completely thematic tour, a call for artists to present work inspired by “Fibre”—either in theme, practice or material. The resulting work, placed in participating galleries, created an exciting narrative that paid homage to indigenous materials. Based on the success of a thematic tour, TS offers a call to artists under an engaging theme every two years, while alternating years provide a chance for the curators of participating art spaces themselves to present a well-thought out exhibition for the tour which continues to expand the conversation about Bahamian and regional Caribbean art.

Tickets are $35 and are on sale now at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (242) 328-5800 on West Hill Street, Doongalik Studios (242) 394-1886, and The Place for Art (242) 393-8834, both on Village Road. For more information, message TS on facebook or email info@tsbahamas.com.

CLICK HERE for more info at the TS website.
CLICK HERE for updates at the TS Facebook page

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Saskia Invasive NE9

Collector and Artist Saskia D’Aguilar is still slightly stunned that her creation "Invasive Species Amulet" is on display in the ballroom at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB).

Bahamian artists highlighted in latest issue of Ocean Home Magazine

John Cox, Saskia D’Aguilar, and Tina Klonaris-Robinson are cultivating Art in The Bahamas.

by Laura Shriftman

The D’Aguilar Art Foundation sets the tone for art in The Bahamas. Vincent D’Aguilar started his collection in the 1970s, and his passion for art, creativity, and beauty naturally led him to befriend local artists. He was a big collector of Kendal Hanna, Antonius Roberts, Brent Malone, and Jackson and Pam Burnside, along with abstract and impressionist pieces. Mainly, he widely and exclusively collect Bahamian artists.

Vincent’s daughter-in-law Saskia D’Aguilar, a talented Bahamian artist herself, started to oversee the foundation before he died. In 2010, the foundation opened a modest exhibition space. Saskia’s long-term goals are to develop respect for art made by Bahamians and to put The Bahamas on the map for art appreciation. Currently it has over 2,000 works, which are often on loan for local exhibitions. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on page 42 at Ocean Home Magazine.

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Lenny Kravitz

AOL interviews Bahamian Lenny Kravitz in an exclusive about his Bahamas home getaway

by Gibson Johns

Lenny Kravitz is proud of his Bahamian heritage.

The Grammy-winning rocker, whose late mother was of Bahamian descent, recently took part in an illuminating tribute to the Islands of the Bahamas at Public Arts, where a campaign set to his 1998 hit, “Fly Away,” was unveiled. Kravitz actually wrote the song in The Bahamas, heightening to the collaboration’s meaningfulness.

Following a Q&A event, AOL’s Gibson Johns sat down with Lenny Kravitz to hear more about his love of The Bahamas and his home in Eleuthera, where he spends most of his downtime when he’s not touring.

Check out the conversation below:

AOL: You grew up in New York City, but you clearly have so much pride and honor in your Bahamian heritage. I know that you grew up vacationing in the Bahamas every summer, but have you always had that pride?
LK: Always, since I went down there as a child. I grew up in New York City, but at five years old I was going down there and I didn’t know anything like that existed, let alone that it was my heritage. It’s the most special place to me. For instance, when I’m off and not touring, I go there. I don’t go somewhere else. I go home. It’s not only home, but it’s also a vacation. It’s a place where I can decompress and start to feel myself again [after working]. I’ve always had that pride and respect for the Bahamas. My summers were there and my winters were there. I’m living in New York City in this concrete jungle, which is wonderful, but then all of a sudden I’m out in the fields picking mangos and climbing almond trees and going to the beach and having the freedom to go run out in nature. It was a whole other world.

AOL: You’ve talked a lot about how hospitable the Bahamian people are. Did you inherit that trait?
LK: I have that same thing. In a family that hospitality and having the house be open was always happening, there was always food and room for somebody who didn’t have. Always. The door was always open at my grandmother’s house feeding everybody and the kids on the block. It’s a very Bahamian trait, as it is in many places, so I am the host. I host a lot of people from all different walks of life, and I love it. I love to show people the beauty of The Bahamas. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at AOL.com.

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TheBahamianExchange-Terrel Carey

Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Queen’s College hosts Bahamian Exchange and hears their stories

by Riel Major

Queen’s College and KBII Communications hosted their third annual Bahamian Exchange under the theme “Meet the people, Hear their Stories” on Friday night.

The Bahamian Exchange gave participants the opportunity to sit down for 15 minutes to select from two groups of panelists all ranging from backgrounds in politics, religion, sports, history, culture, art, business and education.

The panelists were Ramon Miller representing sports, Camille Barnett representing humanitarianism, Felicia Archer representing religion, Renbert Mortimer representing art, Sir Arthur Foulkes representing history, Alfred Sears and Travis Robinson both representing politics and community, Samuel Moss representing personal triumph, Darron Turnquest representing youth development, Dr Desiree Cox representing education, Arlene Nash Ferguson representing culture and Nancy Kelly representing business.

Katherine Beneby said the idea originated in Denmark and locals wanted to bring the same concept in the Bahamas. Ms Beneby said: “It is actually a worldwide event where you bring different people of different backgrounds and they share their experience. It’s an exchange, you’re not only learning from the feature but the feature is learning from you…so it is a unique opportunity no other opportunity like it in The Bahamas. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Tribune.

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art news from the region
and around the world

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A cult Reggae classic deemed “too controversial” finally gets US release

Babylon (1980) portrays Jamaican musical collectives, called sound systems, as movements of decolonization and resistance.

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Brinsley Forde as Blue in Franco Rosso’s Babylon (courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory/Seventy-Seven)

by Shirine Saad

Jah! Rastafari! This chant, repeated like a mantra, is a cry of faith and defiance. In the film Babylon’s closing scene, the dreadlocked antihero Blue sings this prayer over heavy beats, calling for a return to the promised land as the dense crowd bounces up and down in trance. Babylon (a word used by Rastas to mean police and anything related to corrupt Western colonial societies) is knocking down the walls of the Brixton warehouse this crew of Jamaicans has taken over for tonight’s celebration. It has chased, battered, accused, and arrested every one of them. Racist Babylon has sprayed fascist slogans all over their walls, called them heinous names, and ordered them to go back home. Capitalist Babylon has stripped them off their land, enslaved them and exploited them. And now, two hundred years after being taken away from Africa, this reunion is their only hope and joy.

Released in 1980, two decades after Jamaica’s independence from Britain and three decades after Windrush brought about thousands of workers from the West Indies to help rebuild postwar England, the movie captured the tragedy of an artistically prolific society at grips with deep poverty and strife. Rastafari, an evolution of Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African prophecies which condemned the corrupt legacy of Western imperialism and urged a strengthened connection between people of the African diaspora, developed elaborate rituals where rhythmic drums and chants, combined with psychoactive ganja, helped followers rise above their pains. While Bob Marley became the global prophet for this spiritual (or “roots,”) evolution of reggae, the rebellious “Dreads”(slang for people of the Rasta faith) were routinely persecuted in Jamaica and abroad. Music, and the massive sound systems (collectives of like-minded DJs, engineers, and MCs) born on Kingston’s streets amid gang violence and the booming local sound industry, became central to their identity, a space for activism and resistance.

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

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Film still from Khalik Allah’s "Black Mother."

A filmmaker’s journey through his mother’s Jamaica

Khalik Allah’s Black Mother looks at maternity as a symbol, using it to understand various subjects in Jamaica.

by Tanner Tafelski

Khalik Allah’s third feature-length documentary, Black Mother, goes beyond stereotypical images of Jamaica as a cruise destination and a hub for reggae, Rastafarianism, and marijuana. Defying easy categorization, the film looks at the people who call the island nation home. Seen through Allah’s eyes, the ravaged country thrives and the dignity and complexity of its people shine through. Allah makes a range of bold yet effective formal choices in his representation of Jamaica, growing in leaps and bounds as an artist.

Organized around the three trimesters of a family friend’s pregnancy and, finally, the baby’s birth, Black Mother applies maternity as a free-floating symbolic device, using it to structure footage of various subjects. Allah’s mother is Jamaican, and he has traveled often to the country to visit his grandfather. Land provides food and shelter, like a mother, while the country’s past is framed as a history of the British empire raping the motherland. Jamaicans are the children of this troubling past. As for Black Mother’s organization, Rooney Elmi notes in a Film Comment interview with Allah, the first trimester dredges up Jamaica’s colonial past, the second addresses the complexity of womanhood, and the third involves prayer and pondering death. And yet this is a rough outline, for the themes drift in and out of one another.

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

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Tschabalala-Self Frye

Tschabalala Self, “Love to Saartjie” (2015), oil, acrylic, and dye on canvas, 66 x 26 in. (photo by Jueqian Fang)

Interview with Tschabalala Self about her avatars of Black Womanhood

Tschabalala Self explores the iconography, interiority, and subject status of Black women in her multimedia portraits.

by Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud

Scraps of bright turquoise, yellow, and salmon fabric encircle a swatch of denim imprinted with a building’s image; this delineates a figure’s thigh. It is part of “Bellyphat” (2016), a textile-and-paint collage by artist Tschabalala Self. Elsewhere in the work, black, pink, and rosewood fabric swatches define the figure’s face, while ebullient strips of white and yellow delimit her belly. When I step back from admiring the textured detail, I notice how thread from figure’s edges wisps and meanders across the canvas.

I saw “Bellyphat” recently at Self’s solo exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Born in Harlem in 1990, the artist explores the iconography, interiority, and subject status of black women in her work. Her portraits are often comprised of such materials as acrylic, discarded canvas scraps, fabric, or oil, layered on canvas. In “Bet” (2016), human hair crowns a figure seated in front of bright yellow background; this intimate adornment — putting human hair on canvas — makes a redemptive space for practices beyond racist collections of black body parts popular in the early 20th century; it is also in dialogue with contemporary aesthetic refusals such as Solange’s 2016 song “Don’t Touch My Hair.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.

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Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

Art & Culture were created to
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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.

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