Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’ Issue No. 282 Sharing Art & Cultural News of The Bahamas for 18 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to see onli


Smith & Benjamin’s
Issue No. 282

Sharing Art & Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

Preserved by Bahamian artist Jordanna Kelly
• • •
Kelly’s Preserved was named the winner of The Central Bank of The Bahamas’
33rd Annual Art Competition Open Category last week. Preserved is a sculptural installation of authentic canned food items contained in plastic time capsules
created to reference the social benefits of heritage conservation.
• • •
See story below.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Bahamas-Tropical-Weather- 2b

Wind brought by Hurricane Matthew blow palm trees on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas,

Dear Reader,

Bahamian Art & Culture is glad to be back and in full form after a challenging few weeks following the punishing passage of Hurricane Matthew three weeks ago. Almost the entire Bahamas was hit by this storm, but especially hard hit was the northern Bahamas where we experienced Category 3 and 4 strength winds, rain and severe surge flooding.

Much of New Providence, the capital in which we live, Grand Bahama and Andros, was in darkness and without power, telephone and water for days and weeks following, with ours only just being restored this past weekend. Many people lost a great deal due to high winds blowing off roofs and blowing out windows and unprecedented flooding that was chest-high in some places. Some unscrupulous persons even took advantage of the adverse conditions to loot and rob.

It was and still is a trial for many persons who are seeking to make their way back from this event. But even in the midst of what has been a hardship for so many in The Bahamas, there are silver linings and bright rays of light all around us. There were no deaths that were directly caused by the storm in The Bahamas, families and neighbours have been brought closer together, and the sweetest, most delicious cold front moved in over The Bahamas right after the storm that erased the typical late summer heat, a heat that could have made our lives unbearable in the weeks without power.

In all things and in all situations we give thanks to God. Things can be replaced. Our lives and souls can not. We are to put our trust in things above and not in things that can be stolen by robbers and destroyed by storms.

We are glad to be back after three weeks of being away. Thank you so much for your support and readership.

Dionne Benjamin-Smith
Editor and Publisher
Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture


what’s happening in
bahamian art & culture


T H E A T R E :

Gun Boys Rhapsody

Friday, Oct 28th
at 11am & 8pm
Saturday, Oct 29th
at 4pm & 8pm


A dynamic blend of pathos, humor and satire, Gun Boys Rhapsody is a work of theatre that centers around the murder of a high school teenager named TK and the domino effect this one act of violence has on the lives of several other individuals connected to him. The piece explores the roots of delinquency, gang culture and violent crime in Bahamian society.

Writer/Director Ian Strachan created Gun Boys to explore the price of violence in Caribbean societies. The impact is huge but the public conversation about crime focuses narrowly on policing and on punishment. Gun Boys Rhapsody looks at the impact violence has on the lives of victims and on the breeding ground of violent crime: inequality, neglect, and abuse.

With a talented cast, audiences are compelled to consider their own roles in creating communities where so many feel marginalized, alienated, disempowered and unloved. Audiences have been deeply moved by the production, which features stand out performances by Valene Rolle, Jonico Pratt, Esther Louis and others.

2 4

'Gun Boys Rhapsody'

Emille Hunt, who plays the mortician Lucius Dean in the play, has seen violence in our public schools up close. He taught English at CV Bethel for many years and vividly remembers when a boy was stabbed on campus and he had to take him to the clinic next door before his lung collapsed. “We live in a society where people just lash out when they don’t have the tools to deal with all the pressures they face,” he says. Hunt says “Gun Boys” starts the conversation we need to have.

After each performance the cast and audience participate in a discussion about the show and the issues it raises. These conversations have proven just as transformative as the show itself. In fact, thanks to the dialogue after the show one attendee helped the theatre company win an anonymous $50,000 grant to hold free performances so that more people in New Providence and Grand Bahama can experience the show.


“In all my years as an artist, I have never experienced such an amazing act of generosity,” says playwright/director, Ian Strachan. “It is a huge vote of confidence in what art can really do for our people, to heal us, to inspire us and to bring us together. This grant has done a lot to restore my faith in my gifts and the life path I've chosen. And it has inspired the younger artists in this show to dream big.”

Free performances of Gun Boys Rhapsody will be held at the Dundas Black Box on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, October 27th through 29th at 8pm. There will also be matinee performances, Thursday October 27th at 11am, Friday, October 28th at 11am and Saturday, October 29th at 4pm.

If you'd like to learn more about Gun Boys Rhapsody and about future performances you can contact Ceiba Arts at 427-4464 or email


W I N E & A R T :

Bahamas National Trust
Annual Wine + Art Festival


TONIGHT and TOMORROW: Friday, Oct 28th: 6pm to 9pm
(for members)
• •
Saturday, Oct 29th: 12 Noon to 9pm
(for public)
• •
The Retreat Gardens at the Bahamas National Trust, Village Rd.

The 26th annual Wine & Art Festival opens today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29) at the Retreat Garden on Village Road. The event is a collaboration of the Bahamas National Trust and the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

Works by 45 local artists will be featured, including Lucas Kaighin (a 9th grader from Abaco), Stefan Davis of Airbrush Junkies, and Jamaal Rolle (the Celebrity Artist).

The NAGB is an exclusive visual arts partner for this event, ensuring the quality of work that will be featured. There will also be live art demonstrations, ‘Best in Show’ art competition, raffle, local cuisine, Emanji Circus Arts, and continuous live music.

In addition to the art displays and wine tastings, there will be a special culinary demonstration by Chef Owen Bain of Cassava Grille. Nine food vendors will provide a range of ethnic dishes.

The festival runs from 6-9pm on Friday for BNT members and guests, and from 12 noon to 9 pm on Saturday. Admission: Adults - $30.00 in advance, $35.00 at the gate, Young Adults (12 - 17) - $10.00, Children under 12 - $5.00. Advance tickets available at: The Retreat, Village Road; Airbrush Junkies, Mall at Marathon; Bristol Wine & Spirits, Gladstone Road.

CLICK HERE for the Bahamas National Trust website.
CLICK HERE for the Bahamas National Trust Facebook page.


J A Z Z :

An Evening of Jazz & Cocktails

Sunday, October 30th
6pm to 8pm
Balmoral Club, Sandford Drive

No doubt we can all use a really good dose of Jazz therapy!
“IN CELEBRATION of LIFE,” the Vice-Versa Band will put on a stellar, highly charged performance this coming Sunday, with lots of musical surprises throughout the night that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The music has been carefully selected to inspire you to unwind and exhale. So come out and bring a friend....and don’t forget your dancing shoes! There will be open seating, so please arrive early for best options. Cover charge: $25 (includes 1 complimentary drink and valet services).


E X H I B I T I O N :

Holey Space by Chantal Bethel

Opens Sunday,
Oct 30th | At 3pm
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Holey Space will be on view in the Project Space (PS) Room of the NAGB from October 27th through December 18th, 2016.

...and in the salt chuckle of rocks with their sea pools,
there was the sound like a rumour without any echo of History, really beginning.

– Derek Walcott, The Sea is History

With a play on words, one enters a sacred space, a sanctuary and haven honoring the horrors of history, the betrayal of conquest, the beginning of the New World and the underpinnings of violence that begot the West. The myth was gold. The myth was youth. The myth was hope...the promise of nectar to heal.

In Bethel’s Holey Space, we honor the matriarch, goddess, Atabey as she hunts, gathers, protects and glistens like gold in the shine of the sun. She is unmovable; the heroine, mother and the center of her parable. Here she is already fiction, already lost, the frame of her body writhing on history pages, withering away slowly from our collective memory and what we are left with are traces.

In Bethel’s imagery, there are semblances of a kind of Eden that we can acknowledge. An Eden that disappeared overnight with the arrival of Columbus and the 14th-century explorers which heralded the extinction of the Tainos; the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. The Caribbean and in particular the region of The Bahamas is iconic for its claim to infamy, being the place of explorer’s arrival and since then, a sublime paradise [...]

CLICK HERE for full description of exhibition at the NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for Facebook event page.


art and culture news
from the bahamas


Bahamian artist Jordanna Kelly

Artist branded
as the champion

Jordanna Kelly wins Central Bank’s
33rd Annual Art Competition

by Keisha Oliver

On Friday, October 14, The Central Bank of The Bahamas announced Jordanna Kelly as the winner of its 33rd Annual Art Competition Open Category. Her winning piece, ‘Preserved,’ a sculptural installation of authentic canned food items contained in plastic time capsules was created to reference the social benefits of heritage conservation.

Inspired by a conversation with her father on the recent closure of Albury Paul W. & Sons Ltd., a Bahamian owned company that had been in business for over sixty years, Kelly felt it was her duty to investigate the story behind its demise.

“My great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my father all cooked with the Champion Brand and now I will not be able to continue this tradition. This installation is reminiscent of a time passed for many Bahamians as well as a celebration and commemoration of this company’s contribution to our society, being a staple in the lives of many Bahamian families.”

Not often do you find emerging artists so engrossed and driven by creative investigation. Kelly’s interest in research grew as she learned more of the Albury’s history. She visited its canning factory in Centreville and interviewed the granddaughter of the late Paul Albury, Ms. Caroline Albury who shared the company’s journey and history of its ‘Champion Brand.’ She became interested in hard facts and spent a lot of time collecting information at The Department of Archives.

“I was amazed at the historical significance and contribution the Alburys made in our region as exporters of food products. For example, in 1959 Paul Albury purchased the canning company from J.S. Johnson & Co., a major manufacturer of canned pineapple at the time. I was shocked when I found out that such a small company like Albury’s later exported canned food to Britain during World War II...”

CLICK HERE to read full story in The Nassau Guardian.


Detail of "Preserved" by Jordanna Kelly.


Bahamian art historian and educator Dr Krista Thompson

Bahamian art historian brings a critical eye to what is confined to the footnotes of art history

by Jacqueline Bishop

For art historian Krista Thompson, a region like the Caribbean could do with more people studying art history since there is a booming artistic community and not enough curators and writers to document the work now being produced. “I’d wager that in the future, it is the people working in more and more niche communities, some of which have formed in the Caribbean, who will have more opportunities available to them in the field of art history.”

Krista Thompson was born and grew up in Nassau, Bahamas, in a small tight-knit community that, at the time, did not even have a national gallery. For high school, Thompson went to Queen’s College, where she reports receiving a “colonial education with a heavy influence on religion from largely British teachers.”

After high school, Thompson went on to do her undergraduate work at McGill University in Canada, majoring in both art history and political science. She chose to study political science in addition to art history after being questioned, time and time again, about what indeed one could do with a degree in art history. Political Science was seen as a more ‘practical’ and applicable subject to study. “But if you think about it,” Thompson went on to explain, “visual expression is often highly charged and consequently highly political. I see art and politics as completely overlapping. Both art and politics are involved in rethinking – and redrawing – boundaries” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Huffington Post.


Jordia Benjamin with "Leader" by Betye Saar (1998).

Interview with Jordia Benjamin, new Coordinator of Academic and Public Programs at Colby College Museum of Art

Bahamian art museum educator Jordia Benjamin was recently appointed the new Mirken Coordinator of Academic and Public Programs at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. Benjamin hit the ground running within her first few days at the Museum having organized their fall open house, noontime art talks, and all other public programs so far this semester. The Museum’s publication, The Lantern, sat down with her to learn about her background, her goals for the position, and how The Bahamas native has been finding Central Maine.

Only one month into your time at Colby, you planned the fantastic fall open house! What was that like?
JB: Thank you, but I cannot take the credit alone; it really was a team effort. When I arrived at the Museum, the majority of the fall programs had already been set in motion, so I came on board with open arms, ready to help in any way possible. The fall open house was a huge success. There was a great mixture of faculty, staff, students, and members of the public who celebrated the different exhibitions all in an enjoyable, friendly, social environment. The open house demonstrated to me how invested the Museum staff is in creative programs and exhibitions. I immediately sensed that there is a genuine commitment by everyone to build the Museum as an open place for learning and engaging—not only for the college but for the entire community. That attitude is a recipe for success and I am thrilled to be a part of such an enthusiastic team.

How does this relate to your other responsibilities as the Mirken Coordinator of Academic and Public Programs?
JB: I will be creating academic and outreach programs to involve the entire college body and community audiences that spark interest in and engagement with the Museum’s collections and future exhibitions. It is my desire that the Museum will become more accessible to diverse audiences, as the collection is reflective of all communities here at Colby, in Waterville, and beyond. My job will be to disseminate and channel information through public programming to those targeted audiences.

CLICK HERE for full interview at The Lantern.

Erica James

Bahamian art historian, curator, and educator Erica James, PhD

New texts by Bahamian art historian and curator included in prestigious
art journals

Two new essays written by Bahamian art historian, educator and curator, Erica M. James, PhD, have recently been published in important art journals

Described as “innovative research” by the Smithsonian, James’ essay entitled Charles White’s J’Accuse and the Limits of Universal Blackness was published in the Fall 2016 issue of the Archives of American Art Journal published by the Smithsonian Institution. This special issue on African American art celebrates the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Also included are articles and essays on the art collections and archival research at the Smithsonian’s newest museum, new acquisitions related to African American art at the Archives, and research on Emma Amos, the WPA, and black feminist curatorial practices of the 1970s.

In this essay, James writes about African American artist Charles White who grounded his aesthetic practice in radical left politics and the belief that the representation of black people communicated a universal mandate of freedom. James explores how White’s faith in a cosmopolitan politicized aesthetic was formed, deployed, and ultimately challenged leading up to his 1966 exhibition at the Heritage Gallery in Los Angeles.

Another article by James entitled Every Nigger is a Star: Reimagining Blackness from Post–Civil Rights America to the Postindependence Caribbean was included in the Fall 2016 issue of the art journal Black Camera published by the Indiana University Press.

In 1974, the film Every Nigger is a Star, produced in Jamaica by Caribbean-born blaxploitation star Calvin Lockhart and shot by noted African American filmmaker William Greaves, was released in Kingston and in Nassau, Bahamas. James’ article explores this lost film’s production, distribution, disappearance, and unexpected but extensive transatlantic afterlives through the work of visual artists Dave Smith, Barkley L. Hendricks, Nelson Stevens, and Jae Jarrell. Produced in the ideological crosshairs of the Black Power and Black Arts Movements, post–civil rights debates in the United States around the signification and resignification of the word nigger, blaxploitation filmmaking, and the distribution of these films in the post-independence Caribbean, records indicate the film was a sincere attempt by Lockhart to document black creativity in expansive ways. While the film failed to live up to its producer’s expectations, James argues that the photography, paintings, and music drawn from its creation, exhibition, and infectious soundtrack performed the political and cultural work within the diaspora that the film perhaps could not.

CLICK HERE to read James’ article on artist Charles White.
CLICK HERE to download James’ article “Every Nigger is a Star”.


FROM TOP: Bahamian educators Erica James, Christian Campbell, and April Bey.

Bahamian scholars sharing their work and knowledge

Bahamian art scholars and educators Erica James, PhD, Christian Campbell, PhD, and April Bey are giving talks and presenting their work in a series of events at universities, museums, and festivals across the U.S.

Erica James, PhD recently spoke at a 3-day symposium entitled“The Socially Responsive Museum” at Columbia University in New York. The symposium focused on the evolving relationship of museums and communities and how notions of museums as elitist temples of art and culture have gradually given way to more socially responsive institutions, where the experiences of diverse audiences are a central concern.

Christian Campbell, PhD recently took part in a 4-poet discussion panel entitled “Colonization of the Eye: A Troubling of Identity, Performance, and Projection” on Oct 26th at Princeton University in New Jersey. The panel was a multi-media, multi-genre discussion of identities in relationship to artistic performance, audience projection, and notions of craft. Campbell was also invited to read at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, widely acknowledged as the largest poetry event in North America, representing the most eminent poets from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It was held in Newark, New Jersey, Oct 20-23. On September 17th, he also collaborated with poet Natalie Diaz in a reading that engaged the themes of creative freedom and resistance that are part of the exhibition “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now” on view now at The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia from September 14, 2016 to March 19, 2017.

Additionally, Campbell is one of four artists taking part in a symposium this evening at ICA entitled “Cross Relations: Experimentation and the Arts”. This public performance, screening, and conversation will provide a look into the art practices and philosophies of four of the most dynamic artists and thinkers working internationally and in the Philadelphia arts scene today.

Tonight, Bahamian artist and art instructor at Glendale Community College in California, April Bey, will give an artist residency talk where she will share her experiences during her residency in Ghana, Africa.


Delton Barrett and his photographic series “some people take it differently”. PHOTOS: Delton Barrett

Inspired by Disaster

Artistic responses to the devastation
of Hurricane Matthew

by Keisha Oliver

Nothing provokes the artistic sensibility like a catastrophe. The role visual artists and creative thinkers play in recognizing the universal emotion is evident in the recent devastation of Hurricane Matthew. Not only is art critical in helping us to focus our understanding of events, but the power of art amid disaster recovery presents opportunities for new ideas, spaces, and conversations.

This week I interviewed four Bahamian artists who shared their thoughts on Hurricane Matthew and reasons for exploring artistic responses. Their works seek to find beauty and peace within human tragedy through moments of reflection and within the hopes of rebuilding the community spirit.

Photographer and visual artist Delton Barrett who lives in the South Beach community of New Providence endured much loss during the hurricane. “Our home experienced lots of flooding resulting in loss of cars, furniture and household appliances. We have been able to get through the worst without too much suffering”.

Reflecting on this experience, Barrett feels our country’s recovery will be the beginning of something new for many. “In terms of people coming together and helping one another to build new foundations and relationships. We needed this life experience to prepare for the worst if it were to come in the future.”

Barrett’s photography style borders on theatrics and surrealism. His creative process was disrupted as a result of power outages, and he was unable to capture valuable creative moments during the aftermath. With minimal resources, Barrett photographed the emotions and reality of what many people had endured after Hurricane Matthew. His on-going photographic series “some people take it differently” shows a myriad of emotional responses to the devastation [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Nassau Guardian.

Homer s Hurricane

Winslow Homer. Hurricane, Bahamas. 1898. Watercolor and graphite on off-white wove paper. Copyright: Amelia B. Lazarus Fund, 1910.

The Eye of the Storm

Preservation and destruction

by Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett

Winslow Homer’s ‘Hurricane’ captures howling winds of the storm in The Bahamas, however, the image, though teaming with meaning and feeling, does not capture the magnitude of today’s super storms. These so-called superstorms bring with them devastation and trauma of epic proportions. The visual produced in Homer’s painting remains haunting and provides an interesting couple for the Gulfstream painting, and After the Hurricane, Bahamas as it shows a man shipwrecked on a desolate island.

These images speak to the prevailing threat of bad weather, but none of them capture the level of fury embodied by so many recent hurricanes as storms become more furious, poverty deepens, and sustainability becomes a question of whether people abandon old habitats in favour of more hospitable and secure lands.

I wanted to draw on the way Jordanna Kelly in her recent prize-winning work examines the concept of cultural preservation and couple this with how hurricanes devastate the land creating new traumas and realities previously unforeseen. I also wanted to see the savagery of the sea and the hell storm of nature as it pounds us into submission, yet we do not submit.

Devastation challenges the marketing lingo of a stronger Bahamas as each passing storm pummels the islands. The landscape changes and along with that our ability to identify with our history, pass on our culture and create a thriving Bahamian art-scape are eclipsed. When we experience such trauma of natural fury, we lose our tether and our place in the universe easily shifts. Sadly, the shifting of cultures and populations due to natural disasters has become a common phenomenon [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in the Nassau Guardian.


Kim Smith, "Miss Emily's Eleven String", 2006, Coloured pencil on vellum paper, 18'' x 12''

Creative Careers: Artist & Educator Kim Smith

A Master of
the Medium

by Keisha Oliver

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Kim Smith’s early career choice was working with children. Although this was something he initially had no interest in, after training and teaching as a primary school teacher for three years, Smith grew to love being in the classroom.

After completing his Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts and Mathematics at the University of Regina, Smith’s teaching career continued throughout Canada. In 1986 he joined a teaching exchange programme in Wales, the United Kingdom that allowed him to travel throughout Europe on his breaks where he embraced new international experiences. After returning to Canada, he grew tired of its winters and began a search for opportunities in warmer climates, which brought him to The Bahamas in 1991.

Smith moved to Nassau and joined the Anglican Central Education Authority where he taught at St. John’s College for a year and transferred to St. Anne’s. Having served as a homeroom teacher for eight years, Smith wanted to focus on art education and applied to the Catholic Board of Education.

“In my second interview with Sis Mary Benedict Pratt she offered me an option of teaching at St. Cecilia's or Our Lady’s and I asked which one participated in Junior Junkanoo. She said Our Lady’s so I opted for St. Cecilia's because I knew by the end of October Our Lady’s art classroom became a Junkanoo shack” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Nassau Guardian.


Latest issue of Gumelemi Magazine now available

The 2016 issue of Gumelemi literary journal, edited by Bahamian writer Gabrielle Misiewicz, is now out and invites readers to pause and reflect on Hurricane Joaquin’s terrifying path through the southern islands of The Bahamas. The first weekend of October 2016 marked one year since Hurricane Joaquin made its landing. This issue features stories and artwork by survivors, relief volunteers and professionals – Bahamians of all ages. The magazine is a helpful way to mark this watershed moment in our nation’s history. The editor’s goal is to encourage us all to consider the far-reaching impact of the storm and the fact that we are still on the road to recovery in its aftermath, even after just having gone through another catastrophic hurricane named Matthew.

CLICK HERE to read the 2016 issue of Gumelemi.

fort fincastle water tower c1960s-2

Detailed site plans for the new Fort Fincastle Heritage Park to be developed by the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC).

Fort Fincastle, Water Tower and Queen’s Staircase to become Heritage Park

by Shonalee Johnson

Fort Fincastle, the Water Tower, the Queen’s Staircase and the environs are set for major upgrades over the next several months, after recent Cabinet approvals to revitalize the country’s most visited historic attraction. Plans include restoration of the Water Tower, cleanup of the surrounding areas, acquisition and lease of neighboring properties, a commercialized restaurant, proposals to terrace the area, as well as improved parking and exhibition opportunities. On completion, the area will be known as the Fort Fincastle Heritage Park.

It is estimated that one million visitors explore the site annually, with 150,000 plus persons taking part in paid tours organized by the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC) personnel. The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) continues to rank the area as one of the most iconic heritage sites on the island.

Built on Bennett’s Hill in the 1790s by Lord Dunmore, the fort is named after the governor’s second title, Viscount Fincastle. Its unique paddle-wheel steamer shaped is cut from pure limestone. The fort overlooks Nassau and Paradise Island; the Fort once protected the eastern entrances to the island with two 24-pounder, two 32-pounder, two 12-pounder cannons and one howitzer. Due to its high elevation, the site served as a lighthouse for Nassau until September 1817, when the lighthouse on Paradise Island replaced it [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at The Bahamas Weekly.


Keynote Panel discussion at MAC 2016. Pictured from left: Dr. Veerle Poupeye, director of the National Gallery of Jamaica, Amanda Coulson, director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and Natalie Urquhart, director of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.

Bahamian contingent at MAC 2016

The Museums Association of the Caribbean convenes in the Cayman Islands

by The National Art
Gallery of The Bahamas

Sunken ships, fossilized bones, film screenings, and apps for paintings: what is the common denominator? Museums. Preservation and interpretation of our cultural artifacts offer keys to understanding ourselves as Caribbean subjects, and The Museum Association of The Caribbean (MAC) is an indicator in encouraging these conversations and practices.

The association convened for the 27th annual conference; this time hosted in the Cayman Islands and the sleek new home of the National Art Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI). Archaeologists, Curators — of both the humanities and scientific variety and other museum professionals gathered to discuss the particular role of the museum, all in keeping with this year’s theme: “The Essential Museum - Redefining the role of the cultural and heritage sector for 21st-century audiences”. The NAGB sent two delegates, director Amanda Coulson, and assistant curator Natalie Willis to represent part of the Bahamian contingent and to speak to strides being made by the gallery to connect with new audiences today.

The three-day schedule, running from October 9 - 12, was intense, to say the least, but the pacing made for an experience that left no room for lack of focus. With over 80 attendees, and presenters from across the Caribbean, USA, Canada and the UK, the diversity of those participating created a palpable buzz of excitement and intrigue in itself — and the diversity didn’t just have to do with nationality, as there was a wide range of ages present. From academics to interns, to students, to cultural consultants and curators, there was such a wide array of points of view and experiences that no matter the level of experience there was something for everyone to engage with [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in The Nassau Guardian.


art news & stories
from the caribbean
and around the world

Screen shot 2016-10-28 at 11.31.14 AM

Catherine Conley (C), the first American to study at Cuba's prestigious National Ballet School (ENB) takes part in a practice in Havana, Cuba, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Cuban ballet school takes first American full-timer

by Sarah Marsh

Catherine Conley, the first American full-time student at Cuba’s prestigious National Ballet School, hopes to gain an edge back home by learning the powerful Cuban style with its dazzling turns and jumps.

“(Cuba has) an acrobatic style of dance, and I think I could use some of that,” said Conley, 18, wearing a black leotard, her wispy blond hair pulled back in a bun, in an interview at the school housed in a colonial-era palace in Old Havana.

Communist-led Cuba is renowned for its rigorous, state-subsidized ballet education and has produced an outsized share of dance stars, such as Carlos Acosta and José Manuel Carreño, for a small island of 11 million inhabitants.

Cuba’s National Ballet School (ENB), which claims to be the world’s largest with 3,000 students, has long trained many foreign dancers. But no American had joined its full-time program during the half-century long conflict between Cuba and United States [...]

CLICK HERE for the full story at


Rendering of the new CCCADI home in Harlem. Image courtesy of CCCADI.

After 40 years, New York’s Caribbean Cultural Center finds a permanent home in East Harlem

by Tess Thackara

New York has a triumphant new space dedicated to global black culture. Last night, the 40-year-old Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) reopened in a disused firehouse near the borderland between East and West Harlem, a few blocks from Marcus Garvey Park. It adds one more space to the city’s tiny roster of cultural institutions dedicated to communities of color, and joins the neighborhood’s Studio Museum and El Museo del Barrio by putting down roots in a region with a long and rich history of African-American and Latino cultures.

It’s a small and intimate space, but one that represents an enormous achievement and far-reaching implications—and it’s a project that has been some nine years in the making. “We are here, in El Barrio, can you hear me Harlem?” Nyoka Acevedo, a board member, called out to a packed crowd just hours after the institution’s ribbon-cutting, which was attended by New York City’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Tom Finkelpearl, the First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, and numerous other officials who have helped to secure a permanent home for the institution, and to amass $9.3 million (a combination of tax-payer money and individual donations) for its renovation. “Here we stand, in our home, in Harlem, in this landmark building, one of the few institutions of color to have a landmark building in the city” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on Artsy.


about us


Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

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

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

Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Editor & Publisher:
Stephanie Shivers, Account & Office Manager:

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