Smith and Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART and CULTURE’ Issue No. 338 Sharing Art and Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to se


Smith and Benjamin’s
Issue No. 338

Sharing Art and Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

“Christ Pantocrator: The Message”
by Bahamian artist Neko Meicholas
• • •
(2017 / Triptych / 36" x 48" / Acrylic on linen)
• • •
This painting is the central piece of a grand triptych painted by Meicholas
for the altar of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on West Street.


Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Have a blessed and glorious Easter Holiday!


what’s happening
this weekend:


K I D S :

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas presents: An Egg-citing Egg & Bunny Making Workshop and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

THIS WEEKEND: Saturday, March 31st | 10am–2pm
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, West Hill Street


The NAGB is again bringing you an egg-citing Easter Egg Hunt that is just for kids! On Saturday, March 31st, let your child experiment with fun and creative activities during our Egg and Bunny-Making workshop, then search for and gather as many of our 700 hidden eggs as they can find. There will be prizes, surprises, snacks and lots of incredible energy.

The NAGB’s Arternoons are for children of all ages and includes all activities, food and drinks for a low fee of $12.00. Kids Club members are free. To register contact

CLICK HERE to RSVP at the Workshop’s Facebook page.


coming up next week:


E X H I B I T I O N :

Liquid Joy 2018:
A Glorious Expression of Colours

Thursday, April 5th
Starts at 6pm
Christ Church Cathedral
Church Hall
George Street

Liquid Joy 2018 – A Glorious Expression of Colours is Bahamian artist Jé-Rome Harris Miller’s latest solo exhibition featuring new artwork that explores the themes of religion, life, the universe, nautical lifestyles, sexuality, nature, historical Bahamas, and Europe.

Miller began these annual solo exhibitions in 2006 after the death of his friend and national cultural legend, Winston V. Saunders. The exhibitions act as a fundraiser for the Winston V. Saunders Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Exhibition will remain on display until April 8th, 2-6pm daily by appointment only.


C O N C E R T S :

The Nassau Music Society presents:

Saturday, April 7th | The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios
Sunday, April 8th | St Paul’s Church Hall, Lyford Cay

Don’t miss these two final concerts of this season!


The Ayriel String Trio

The Ayriel String Trio was founded in 2016 with the goal of exploring the unique and fascinating sonorities of the violin, viola and cello in a chamber setting. All three artists are respected concert soloists in their own right and join together in an ensemble that highlights each instrument’s individual timbre while showcasing their natural balance. In their concerts, the trio will present a wide repertoire of classical music, ranging from Schubert and Beethoven to Hungarian composers Kodály and Dohnányi.

The musicians are: Ambra Albek on Violin, Simone Gramaglia on Viola, and Jamie Walton on Cello. Talented Bahamian cellist, Romel Shearer, will open both concerts.


String Masterclass: Friday, April 6th

All our featured artists offer Masterclasses to local students and music enthusiasts and are free for NMS members, students and Baha Mar guests to observe ($10 donation for the general public). The Ayriel Trio Masterclass will be held at The Current: Baha Mar Art Studios on Friday, April 6th from 1pm–2pm. Please RSVP. Call 322-7427 or email


A spread of Mediterranean food at Cleo.

Special dining and drink
offers for concert goers

For the last time this season, our wonderful restaurant partners are extending special offers to NMS concert goers.

On Saturday, April 7th at Baha Mar, don’t miss your chance to enjoy 25% off at Katsuya, Cleo and Fi’Lia, 20% off Regatta before the concert and 50% off your first cocktail at Blue Note after the concert.

On Sunday, April 8th choose from a 2-for-1 aperitif special and/or a complimentary glass of Prosecco with dinner at Mahogany House, a 2-for-1 glass or bottle of House Wine at The Captain’s Table, or 2-for-1 drinks and 10% off tapas and appetisers at Studio Cafe. Reservations are highly recommended. Please present your concert ticket stubs to access discount.

CLICK HERE to visit the NMS website.
CLICK HERE to visit the NMS FaceBook page.


art & culture news
from the bahamas


Why the world’s top scientists are clamoring
to collaborate with this Bahamian artist

Tavares-Strachan-in-his-studio- Andy-Romer

Tavares Strachan in his studio. (Photo by Andy Romer, courtesy of the artist).

Tavares Strachan is the first artist-in-residence at the Allen Institute and has been collaborating for years on a mysterious project with SpaceX.

by Sarah Cascone

Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan has trained as a cosmonaut in Russia, filled 290 craters in the California desert with neon tubes to send a message to space, and FedEx-ed a 4.5-ton block of ice from the Arctic to the courtyard of his elementary school in The Bahamas. In other words, he thinks big.

Now, Strachan is teaming up with some of the world’s top scientists at both Seattle’s Allen Institute and SpaceX in California to hatch ideas that, as hard as it is to imagine, might be even more ambitious than what he’s done before.

Strachan will serve as the first ever artist-in-residence at the Allen Institute, the research organization founded in 2003 by Microsoft co-founder and collector Paul Allen. He will visit the center every month for the rest of the year to collaborate with a wide range of experts, including neuroscientists, cell biologists, bioengineers, and computational modelers. “Having access to that kind of science just doesn’t happen in regular life,” Strachan said in a statement. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Artnet.

Maria Govan

Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan.

Bahamian filmmaker chosen for all-female directing team on Oprah’s “Queen Sugar”

by Anne Branigin

The critically acclaimed drama from Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, Queen Sugar, returns to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in May, and once again, DuVernay has assembled an all-female directing team to tell the story of the Bordelon family.

The announcement marks the third season in a row that Queen Sugar will tap exclusively female directors to steer the show. Thus far for the upcoming season, the show has lined up award-winning director Patricia Cardoso, best known for her feature film, Real Women Have Curves; and DeMane Davis, who returns to the show after directing episodes of Queen Sugar’s second season. Several directors will also make their TV directorial debuts this season, including Shaz Bennett (her film Alaska is a Drag is currently on the festival circuit), Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan (Rain and Play the Devil) and Lauren Wolkstein (The Strange Ones).

In a year when the term “inclusion rider” has leaped to the forefront of diversity discussions, DuVernay continues to walk the talk. The first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for best director, DuVernay told reporters last year that having women’s voices only happens if one cares enough to make it a priority. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at The Root.


Bahamian filmmaker, theatre director, curator and video artist Kareem J. Mortimer.

Bahamian filmmaker in Commonwealth film festival

Bahamian filmmaker, theatre director, curator and video artist Kareem J. Mortimer has had his film “Cargo” selected to screen at The Festival of Commonwealth Film on Saturday, April 14 at 1:30pm at the British Museum, London. Kareem believes in the transformative power of film and art and over the past five years, he has won over 30 awards for his projects, and his work has been distributed in 52 countries.

This year’s inaugural edition will be held on 14th–15th April, 2018 and includes feature films with a human rights focus from The Bahamas, India, Malta, Pakistan, Tonga and the United Kingdom.

The Festival of Commonwealth Film is dedicated to sharing cinema from across the Commonwealth with a UK audience. The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal countries, and is home to 2.4 billion people across five regions: Africa, Asia, Caribbean & Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. Each and every region of the Commonwealth is represented at the festival.

The festival’s goal is to represent the cultural diversity and richness of the Commonwealth, demonstrate the change-making power of cinema, and initiate dialogue on human rights issues.

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

Antonius Roberts-Mariah-Brown

Antonius Roberts' sculpture of Mariah Brown.

Historic sculpture of Bahamian woman unveiled in Miami

Miami Mayor names day for historic Bahamian woman, and announces scholarship in her honor, at sculpture unveiling at Florida Memorial University.

A sculpture created by acclaimed Bahamian artist, Antonius Roberts, and representing a female Bahamian immigrant to the U.S., Mariah Brown – one of the fist black homeowners in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida – was recently unveiled on the campus of Florida Memorial University.

The historical sculpture unveiled, represents what has been described as “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 in memory of Bahamian immigrant Mariah Brown, who was one of the first black homeowners in Coconut Grove and other women who have positively helped and shaped the community of South Florida.

At the historic unveiling, Mr. James Jackson, representing the Mayor of the City of Miami, Francis Suarez and Commission Vice Chair, Ken Russell, read a proclamation from the city, naming, Friday, March 16th as Mariah Brown Day in the City of Miami.

Additionally, on behalf of the Mayor and Vice Chair Russell, Mr. Jackson presented a scholarship in the amount of $5,000.00 that will go to a deserving female student of Florida Memorial University. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at South Florida Caribbean News.

Related article:
• Artist Antonius Roberts unveils sculpture on Florida campus...


Bahamian Journal launches new volume at Blue Flamingo Lit Fest

“WomanSpeak, A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women” launches its 9th volume.

The Founding Editor of WomanSpeak, A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Lynn Sweeting of The Bahamas, announced the release of a new volume at the Blue Flamingo Literary Festival at the University of The Bahamas on Friday. Sweeting introduced the new issue to an enthusiastic audience as she led a panel presentation on the journal featuring five Bahamian contributing writers reading their work.

Sweeting began the proceedings by presenting a gift of the five volumes of the WomanSpeak journal to the UB library. She thanked UB for their support of the journal, and also thanked the patrons who gave the gifts of financial support which made possible both the new issue and the gift to the UB library, including Saskia D’Aguilar, Dawn Davies, Marion Bethel, and Elizabeth Sands.

Sweeting said the newly released issue of the journal includes new work from nineteen Caribbean women writers and artists, including nine from The Bahamas. She was especially excited to announce that three new Bahamian voices are included in the 2018 issue, saying this affirmed her belief that the journal would call Bahamian women who wanted to write to begin.


Seated is Founding Editor of WomanSpeak, Lynn Sweeting. (From left to right) Writers Letitia Pratt, Marion Bethel, Alexia Tolas, Sonia Farmer, and Lelawatee Manoo Rahming.

Sweeting was joined on the panel by other contributing writers including Marion Bethel, Lelawatee Manoo Rahming, Sonia Farmer, Alexia Tolas and Letitia Pratt, all of whom read from their works to a captivated crowd. Sweeting said the new issue is now available for purchase at the WomanSpeak storefront at Lulu, along with the previous four issues of the journal. She said local patrons may contact her on the WomanSpeak Facebook page for information about how to order books directly through her at a reduced price.

The WomanSpeak literary journal was first founded in Nassau in the early 1990s by Sweeting and revived in 2010. Locally based and focused on inspiring more Bahamian women to take up creative writing, WomanSpeak is now an emerging Caribbean women’s literary journal with an international scope and significance. It is the only literary journal of its kind that is based within the Caribbean. The journal is becoming known in literary circles for their signature beautiful covers and for showcasing the work of both established poets and writers and new voices. In five volumes, WomanSpeak has published the poetry, short fiction, essays, fairytales and art by more than 70 women writers and artists from across the Caribbean and its diaspora.

CLICK HERE to purchase book at
CLICK HERE to visit WomanSpeak’s Facebook page.


KB releases new song from his upcoming album

‘DIS TIME’ is the first release from Bahamian singer/songwriter Kirkland H. Bodie’s (or better known as KB) new twelve track CD entitled ‘Jones Town, Eight Mile Rock’.

‘Dis Time’ is a mid-tempo Rake ‘n’ Scrape love song with a smooth back beat rhythm that fans of the iconic singer will identify and enjoy. Just as wooing as fan favourite ‘Heaven Knows’, ‘Dis Time’ is reminiscent of elements that are quintessentially KB – a great story line, powerful Rake ‘n’ Scrape instrumentation and velvety vocals serenading the woman he loves, telling her that this time he is promising her all of his love.

‘Dis Time’ was written and produced by KB with help in the studio from fellow musicians and friends Colyn McDonald and Ira Storr.

CLICK HERE to watch song’s video montage.


(Top) Bahamian artist Sonia Farmer (Bottom) Scottish artist Graham Fagen

How a Bahamian and a Scottish artist interpreted their shared history for one exhibition

by Sonia Farmer and Graham Fagen

For an exhibition on the historical significance of slavery, Bahamian artist Sonia Farmer created a book based on a 17th-century guidebook. Scottish artist Graham Fagen based his audio-video installation on an 18th century poem.

Whose story are you telling in this exhibition?
Sonia Farmer: My limited-edition artist’s book is called A True and Exact History. It is an ‘erasure’ of Richard Ligon’s 1657 guidebook, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes. Erasure is a process that uses an existing text to change a story by removing some words and leaving others exposed.

With my book, I am trying to avoid the ‘singular story’ – one story with a limited perspective that defines a place or group of people. I want to challenge what it means to write ‘a true and exact history’ of anything.

Graham Fagen: The Slave’s Lament is a re-working of the Robert Burns song of the same name, first published in 1792. My version is a five-channel audio-video work featuring the singer Ghetto Priest and musicians from the Scottish Ensemble. It is produced by Adrian Sherwood and composed by Sally Beamish.

The Slave’s Lament was Robert Burns’ only work to empathise with the hurt of displaced, trafficked and enslaved people. For me, the artwork is a way to start a conversation about the amnesia and the hypocrisy of the history of the slave trade. For Ghetto Priest, it is ‘to be the voice, to represent over 800 million souls.’ [...]

CLICK HERE to read full interview at The British Council website.

Screen shot 2018-03-28 at 8.39.05 PM

Bahamian artist John Beadle

Beadle, the Mechanic

Part II of the interview with Bahamian artist John Beadle on his work for “We Suffer To Remain”.

by Natalie Willis

Last week we heard John Beadle speak to his participation in “We Suffer To Remain”, an exhibition in collaboration with the British Council. The works produced in this, the Bahamian leg of a 4-part journey of the British Council’s “Difficult Conversations” series of exhibitions, serve as a Caribbean response to Scottish artist Graham Fagen’s work, “The Slave’s Lament”. Shown at the Venice Biennale in 2015 as a representation for Scotland in the global art biennial, and choosing to uncover the country’s complicit nature in the Slave trade and the general amnesia surrounding Britain with their role and repercussions in chattel slavery – there is more to this work than meets the eye. Here is a not-so-difficult conversation with Beadle:

we suffer long shot

NW: What about Graham Fagen’s background
makes you uncomfortable with his work?

JB: Graham has the license to pick and choose to use whatever subject matter he chooses because of the colour of his skin or the environment he comes from – both. A Black person doesn’t have that license even though the subject matter might be just as wide or narrow or just as problematic; the problems and faults would be the focus for the Black person. His work is seductive, I like looking at it but I don’t like thinking about it. The seduction, the things that pull you in, that is what is going to be paid attention to in his work. I find that’s a problem, a big problem.

NW: It’s many-layered.
JB: It is.

NW: What I think most people want is for there to be more discussion among Black folks around how this work, but I also want us to be able to talk about it in its totality, which means we need white voices too. The historic difficulty just has more to do with the way that Black voices have been silenced because of the way the hierarchy works. But this is why allyship is important.
JB: Or they’re going to try and shut down the conversation. I could see right now the conversation about the piece, when we start talking about slavery and the Black experience and colonialism. Even colonialism in its widest sense – you’re always going to have some white people saying “well white people were slaves too!” [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at the NAGB website.

Klonaris helen

Bahamian writer Helen Klonaris.

Bahamian writer
finds her voice

After leaving The Bahamas behind to find her much longed-for freedom in California, writer and LGBT activist Helen Klonaris shares how she rediscovered her voice and now wants to help paint a more real and balanced picture of Bahamian society, especially as it concerns women.

by Cara Hunt

Helen Klonaris has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she never considered herself a writer until she moved from The Bahamas to California, where she said the freedom to express herself as a person led to an explosion on the page.

Helen, who grew up in a traditional Greek Bahamian family, told Tribune Weekend that writing has always been a place of power for her.

“By that I mean as soon as I was able to, I wrote to hear myself, to understand what I felt, what I thought; it was a way to know myself and the world. I wrote essays and stories in high school, and throughout my early adulthood writing was essential.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on Pg 4 in the Tribune Weekend.

Screen shot 2018-03-28 at 5.39.52 PM

Bahamian music artist Rashad Leamount.

Bahamian songwriter soars in international contest

by Jeffarah Gibson

A three-year old song written by Bahamian artist Rashad Leamount edged out 10,000 other singles on its way to the finals of the International Songwriting Competition.

Rashad entered his song “Faded” that was re-recorded with vocals by local R&B singer KEEYA in the annual competition.

The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) seeks to provide an opportunity for the aspiring and established songwriters to have their songs heard in a professional, international arena. It is designed to nurture the musical talent of songwriters on all levels and promote excellence in the art of songwriters and musicians are invited to participate.

The competition also boasts of the most prestigious panel of judges of all international songwriting and music contests, offering exposure and the opportunity to have participants’ songs heard by some of the most influential decision-makers in the music industry. Judges this year include star musicians like Lorde, Ziggy Marley, Tom Waits, Bastille, Sara Evans and others.

“I wrote ‘Faded’ at the edge of a bar in downtown Nassau. It’s a real song. My real life. It was late and I was making horrible love life decisions. I guess the best writing comes from some truth and pain,” Rashad shared. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on Pg 2 in the Tribune Weekend.

If I had Wings-Helen Klonaris

Bahamian writer takes wing with deeply personal short stories

by Cara Hunt

Bahamian writer Helen Klonaris’ new book, “if I had the wings” has been long-listed for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

The award, which had its inauguration in 2011, is an annual literary award for books by Caribbean writers published in the previous year and is the only prize in the region that is open to works of different literary genres by writers of Caribbean birth or citizenship.

The prize award is US$10,000 and is sponsored by One Caribbean Media. The short-listed nominees are awarded $3,000. Books may be entered in three categories: poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction. The judges select the best book in each genre category, which three books form the shortlist for the prize, from which the overall winner is then chosen. The overall winner of the prize, from will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, next month.

Although a work of fiction, Helen said, “if I had the wings”, which took 10 years to write, is deeply personal as it touches on many of the issues she herself experienced. “To be long-listed is a great thrill,” she said of the nomination. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on Pg 17 in the Tribune Weekend.


Gio Swaby with one of her embroidered portraits.

“Rooted” in strength

Bahamian artist Gio Swaby explores blackness, womanhood.

by Jeffarah Gibson

As a black woman living in Vancouver, Canada, Gio Swaby could not ignore the fact that her physical appearance was a prominent indicator of her roots. Apart from her skin colour, her hair speaks to a shared connection she celebrates in a new body of art.

The Current, Baha Mar’s original arts programme, gallery and studios, presented the opening of a new exhibition called “Rooted: An Exploratory Celebration of Blackness, Hair and Womanhood” as part of the 14th Annual Transforming Spaces Art Tour. The exhibition runs until April 15.

The exhibition was unveiled last week and celebrates self-love and appreciation within black female communities. This series of stitched portraits of women on canvas attempts to illustrate an exchange of cultural information related to hair care.

“I thought about how much my physical appearance defines me as a black woman living in Vancouver and how my hair is one of the most prominent indicator of my otherness,” Gio shared [...]

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

historic nassau Conch Salad Competition

Conch Salad making competition (image courtesy of Tariq Cartwright)

Historic Nassau:
UB highlights community and culture

by Keisha Oliver, The University of The Bahamas

As part of the last weekend’s Transforming Spaces (TS) 2018 tour, University of The Bahamas (UB) transformed the Hillside House gallery and courtyard into a cultural hub rooted in celebrating and re-imagining Bahamian traditions through creativity. UB faculty, staff, students and alumni came together to showcase the music, visual, culinary and literary arts under the theme ‘Historic Nassau’ from March 16 to 18th.

Over the years Transforming Spaces has been committed to supporting and engaging UB art students through volunteerism and exhibition opportunities. This year UB’s participation stems from its interest to cultivate an interdisciplinary shared culture. Curated by UB Assistant Professor and Visual Arts Programme Coordinator Keisha Oliver the event was designed to identify the institution as a community dedicated to honouring the accomplishments and talents of its students, staff, faculty and alumni. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at the NAGB website.


(Top) Marion “Jo” Carstairs (1900-1993) (Bottom) Francis Francis wearing the ‘Blues’ (1906-1983)

Carstairs and Francis

Forgotten Facts

by Paul C Aranha

In a previous article, I wrote about Marion Carstairs (known to family and friends as “Joe”) who came to The Bahamas in the 1930s, bought Whale Cay and built a vast estate that would not be outshone by any 21st century Out Island development. She was known as the Standard Oil heiress, and Kate Summerscale’s book “The Queen of Whale Cay” is her life story.

Over the years, Miss Carstairs bought and sold quite a few of the cays in the Berry Islands, including the neighbouring Bird Cay. Her brother, Francis Francis, a Spitfire pilot among other things, who spent World War II in England as a commanding officer of the Air Transport Auxiliary’s ferry base at White Waltham Airfield, promised himself that, if he survived, he would buy an island and build his own little paradise. He bought Bird Cay, built his dream, and raised two children – my wife Kim and her brother Craig.

Sister and brother, meaning Carstairs and Francis, as different as chalk and cheese, lived next door to each other, on their neighbouring private islands, and each of them made far-reaching contributions to the people of The Bahamas. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story on Pg 25 in the Tribune Weekend.


critical art texts

Anina Major Bessie s Backbone

Installation shot of Anina Major’s “Bessie’s Backbone” on view as a part of the exhibition “We Suffer to Remain”. (Image courtesy of the NAGB.)

Locked in
our bodies

A resurrection of voices in “We Suffer to Remain”, the new exhibition now showing at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

by Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

We are locked in bodies that demonstrate a temporal fixity that is only such. This became more apparent to me on my first experience in Salvador de Bahia, where the material remnants of slavery and colonialism remained intact and on view, unlike in New Providence where most of the remains of slavery are dematerialized, vanished and deoccidentalized.

As “We Suffer to Remain” evidences, the coloniality of the postcolonial condition becomes even more poignant when expressed through a clash/confluence of arts. Art allows space for a dialogue that exposes the pasts and versions usually edited out by the passage of time, and the power of the state to redirect what was once empowerment discourses.

“We Suffer to Remain” provides an opportunity to discuss the eradication of slavery from Bahamian material history, and the loss of much of the local vernacular through disinterest and mindful erasure. We erect new palaces of pleasure where modernity and the imagination – unbridled by the local – exist in a liminal space like a boutique and ticky-tacky Miami. [...]

CLICK HERE for full essay at the Nassau Guardian.


art and culture in the
region and the world


Gene Pearson (Photo: Taynia Nethersole) / "Mother" (1992), bronze, Aaron and Marjorie Matalon Collection, NGJ

Acclaimed Jamaican master sculptor, ceramist and teacher passes

The National Gallery of Jamaica received the sad news of the passing of Master sculptor, ceramist and teacher Gene Hendricks Pearson O.D. on March 15.

Born in 1946 in Wood Hall St Catherine; Pearson was only 15 years old when he was was first introduced to the medium of clay at the Jamaica School of Art now the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 1960. He studied under Jamaica’s Master Potter Cecil Baugh with whom he developed a close relationship; Pearson recounted that “…[Baugh] was like a father to me and I was like the son he never have.” He was one of the first two students to graduate from the school with a Diploma in Ceramics in 1965 and subsequently went on to teach at his alma mater for almost eighteen years and also taught drawing and painting at Calabar and Vere Technical High Schools in the early 1970s.

After he stopped teaching at the School of Art, he began dividing his time between Jamaica and Northern California working with the Potters Studio in Berkley. He used the facilities there to produce his larger sculptures and bronze works and also conducted workshops at University of Berkley and participated in exhibitions in California. He was also known to be a keen cultural entrepreneur having opened an eponymous gallery in New Kingston where he sold his works. [...]

CLICK HERE for full obituary at The National Gallery of Jamaica blog.


Ebony G Patterson, the Jamaican artist who has arguably put contemporary art from Jamaica on the international map. (Photo: Scott Rudd)

Ebony G. Patterson’s amazing year

by Dr Veerle Poupeye

We have only just reached March and it is already evident that 2018 is shaping up to be an amazing year for Ebony G Patterson, the Jamaican artist who has arguably put contemporary art from Jamaica on the international map. She has received three major awards since the start of the year alone: the 2017 Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant (which was announced in February 2018), as well as the prestigious United States Artists Award and the Stone & DeMcguire Contemporary Art Award.

The Tiffany Foundation Grant seeks to support outstanding artists to “produce new work and push the boundaries of their creativity” and the prestigious United States Artists Award is given to 45 artists and collectives who, in the words of that award's President and CEO Deana Haggag, “produce some of the most moving, incisive and powerful artistic work in this country”. The Stone & DeMcguire Contemporary Art Award is given to outstanding alumni of the Sam Fox School of Art, Washington University in St Louis, where Patterson obtained her MFA in 2006. All three awards involve substantial cash prizes. I asked her about the significance of these awards and she emphasised how important it was for her to get the support from her peers, since the first two are nomination-based, while the latter represents equally important recognition from her alma mater.

Meanwhile, Patterson is also preparing for a major solo exhibition, titled … while the dew is still on the roses…, at the Perez Art Museum in Miami (PAMM), along with several other solo exhibitions, at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago and the Baltimore Museum of Art, just to name two. The PAMM exhibition is curated by Deputy Director/Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander and, Patterson disclosed to me, will take the form of an immersive, mixed media installation, which expands on the idea of the garden as a site for her recent meditations on black visibility/invisibility, gender and the black body, disempowerment and self-actualisation, and violence and death —a sort of perverse Garden of Eden in reverse, in which the natural and the artificial are seamlessly mixed, and which takes inspiration, and its title, from Olive Senior's famous poem Gardening in the Tropics. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Jamaica Observer.

British slave trade

Slave trade routes in the 17th century. (Photo: Alamy)

British reparations

When will Britain face up to its
crimes against humanity?

by Kris Manjapra

On 3 August 1835, somewhere in the City of London, two of Europe’s most famous bankers came to an agreement with the chancellor of the exchequer. Two years earlier, the British government had passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which outlawed slavery in most parts of the empire. Now it was taking out one of the largest loans in history, to finance the slave compensation package required by the 1833 act. Nathan Mayer Rothschild and his brother-in-law Moses Montefiore agreed to loan the British government £15m, with the government adding an additional £5m later. The total sum represented 40% of the government’s yearly income in those days, equivalent to some £300bn today.

You might expect this so-called “slave compensation” to have gone to the freed slaves to redress the injustices they suffered. Instead, the money went exclusively to the owners of slaves, who were being compensated for the loss of what had, until then, been considered their property. Not a single shilling of reparation, nor a single word of apology, has ever been granted by the British state to the people it enslaved, or their descendants.

Today, 1835 feels so long ago; so far away. But if you are a British taxpayer, what happened in that quiet room affects you directly. Your taxes were used to pay off the loan, and the payments only ended in 2015. Generations of Britons have been implicated in a legacy of financial support for one of the world’s most egregious crimes against humanity. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in The Guardian.


“Lest We Remember” by Aida Muluneh.

To upend perceptions of race, this artist explores face-painting traditions and masks

by Aida Muluneh

My journey began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the midst of a revolution that overthrew a 2,000-year-old monarchy and eventually led many of us into an exodus of uncertainty. My mother was 17 when she had me, and she was passionate about music and the arts, a rarity in an Ethiopian society deeply embedded in tradition. I spent most of my life in transition, an immigrant who never belonged to a place, never quite fitting into my surroundings. We moved often — Yemen, England, Cyprus and Canada — the one consistent element being my mother’s pride in Ethiopia. My nomadic life was shaped by her stories about our homeland and her childhood. I am the daughter of a dreamer who always sought to give me a better, richer life experience.

One of those experiences was first encountering photography while in high school in Calgary, Alberta. When my art teacher lent me his Pentax 35-millimeter camera, it became a portal into a new world. My fascination with the power of images would eventually lead to my working as a photojournalist for various publications, including The Washington Post, but over time I began questioning depictions of Africans and African Americans in the mass media. It dawned on me how the supposedly neutral form of photography was a tool that had helped perpetuate stereotypical images of black people globally and erased a complex past and future.

CLICK HERE for full article at The Washington Post.


Baya, Deux femmes, (Two women), 1947; Gouache on board, 24 3⁄4 x 18 7⁄8 in. (62.9 x 47.9 cm); Collection of Adrien Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France © Photo Galerie Maeght, Paris

The 16-year-old Algerian girl artist who influenced Picasso and Matisse

by Jane Drinkard

In the 1940s, a 16-year-old girl captured the minds of the art world’s elite. The self-taught Algerian artist, Baya Mahieddine (1931-1988) — known as Baya — is finally being celebrated in the first North American exhibition of her work, at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, through March 31. Baya used gouache as her primary medium, depicting a world without men but full of bright images of women, nature, and animals. The bold patterns in her work are attention-grabbing, but her life story is even more so.

Baya was born Fatma Haddad, in Bordj el-Kiffan, a beachy suburb of the city of Algiers, at the North-Western tip of Africa. Orphaned by age 5, she was adopted as a teenager by Marguerite Camina Benhoura, a French intellectual who noticed Baya’s artistic talent from a young age. In her homes in Algiers and the South of France, Benhoura provided Baya with art materials and access to French and Maghrebi art magnates.

In 1947, when Baya was just 16, she was discovered by Aimé Maeght, an established French art dealer, and André Breton, who included Baya’s works in the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at Galerie Maeght in Paris. Almost overnight she caught the attention of Picasso and Matisse, among other prominent artists, for her colorful, spontaneous and “childlike” compositions. “Her work allows us to question so many different histories,” said curator Natasha Boas. “The outsider. The outlier. The woman artist.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The Cut.

Screen shot 2018-03-28 at 9.40.22 PM

The High Museum of Art is moving towards using more dynamic language Niels Borch Jensen Gallery and Editions.

Why choosing a name for an exhibition is anything but straightforward

Active or passive? With or without a colon?

by James H. Miller

Before the 2008 group exhibition at the New Museum in New York was called After Nature, Massimiliano Gioni, the then director of special exhibitions, gave it the working title Going Native. Although it fitted with the show’s themes of reclusion, nature and ecology, it also had a whiff of something problematic. Indeed, the artist Zoe Leonard eventually protested. “It was interesting to get at that level of self-questioning,” Gioni says. “A show needs to respond to those provocations.”

When brainstorming titles, such trial and error is typical. Depending on the institution, curators will go back-and-forth with artists, colleagues, advisers and, more frequently now, marketing and public relations staff. The case of Going Native also signals the stakes involved—the curatorial pitfalls and political landmines that may linger in words. But museums stress that the process is not algorithmic but the occasionally serendipitous pursuit of a magic phrase.

Gioni, for example, borrowed After Nature from a poem by W. G. Sebald after chatting with the buyer for the museum’s bookshop “who was particularly sensitive to titles”. “The titles I like are somewhat found; they are not even made,” he says. “The best feel like they have a history, a presence, like they existed before. In a sense they’re not mine or yours; they’re ours.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The Art Newspaper.

Screen shot 2018-03-28 at 8.44.14 PM

Photo by Miguel Salgado on Unsplash.

How you can become so good they can’t ignore you

by Thomas Oppong

Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. The world needs more creators, not consumers.

We have come this far because a few bold innovators and creators chose to create, build, make, do, or start something.

In “Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Career Together” Pamela Slim writes, “We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our lives, tell new stories, and rebuild communities when we create. We reclaim our esteem, our muse, and our hope when we create.”

You can persuade almost anyone, with anything, if you persistently share your body of work, and don’t go away.

When asked for advice, comedian Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

If you stay prolific, your efforts will pay off! [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Medium.

Screen shot 2018-03-29 at 12.38.48 AM

Why dance is just as important as math in school

by Sir Ken Robinson + Lou Aronica

Dance — and physical activity — should have the same status in schools as math, science and language. Psst: it may even help raise test scores, says Sir Ken Robinson.

For several years, I’ve been a patron of the London School of Contemporary Dance. In 2016, I was invited to give the annual lecture in honor of founding principal Robert Cohan, and I decided to talk about the role of dance in schools.

Before the lecture, I tweeted the title “Why Dance Is as Important as Math in Education.” I had a lot of positive responses and a number of incredulous ones. One tweet said, “Isn’t that going to be one of the shortest lectures ever?” Another said flatly, “Ken, dance is not as important as math.” One person tweeted, “So what? Telephones are more important than bananas. Ants are not as important as toilet ducks. Paper clips are more important than elbows.” (At least that was a creative response.) Some responses were more pertinent: “Is that so? Important for what and to whom? By the way, I’m a math teacher.”

I’m not arguing against mathematics — it’s an indispensable part of the great creative adventure of the human mind. It’s also intimately involved with the dynamics of dance. Instead, this is an argument for equity in educating the whole child. I’m talking about the equal importance of dance with the other arts, languages, mathematics, sciences and the humanities in the general education of every child. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Ted.


about us


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:

facebook instagram