Smith and Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART and CULTURE’ Issue No. 370Thursday, February 14th, 2019 • • • •Sharing Art and Cultural News of The Bahamas f


Smith and Benjamin’s
Issue No. 370
Thursday, February 14th, 2019

• • • •
Sharing Art and Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 18 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

“No one ever sees me cry”
by Bahamian student artist Gabrielle Banks.
(Oil on canvas/2018)
• • •
Banks’ series of paintings that helped to heal herself from past pains
and traumas is on view now in the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’
Ninth National Exhibition (NE9) “The Fruit and The Seed”.
• • •
See story below.


art & cultural
events calendar




T H E A T R E :

Atlantis Theatre presents:
“The Love List” – A Live Comedy Play

• TONIGHT–SUNDAY: Feb. 14th–17th | 8pm | Atlantis Theatre
• NEXT WEEKEND: Feb. 19th–23rd | 8pm | Atlantis Theatre


Beginning tonight through this weekend and next weekend, the Atlantis Theatre on Paradise Island presents the theatre production “The Love List”, a live comedy play by Canada’s most produced playwright Norm Foster.

In this side-splitting and thought-provoking comedy, Leon and Bill concoct a list of attributes of the ideal woman – the top ten best qualities in a mate.

When this allegedly “ideal woman” actually arrived on the scene, the men quickly learn that their list could use a few revisions. Be careful what you wish for – especially in choosing a mate! This old adage leads to hilarious results in Norm Foster’s sparkling comedy hit.”

Directed by David Nairn, The Love List stars Heather Hodgson Kosoy, Terry Barna, and Neil Foster. For tickets or more information call (242) 363-2000 ext 46601 or visit the Atlantis Box Office in The Coral. Suggested for audiences over 18.

CLICK HERE for full details at the Atlantis website.


F I L M :

The NAGB presents: “Pretty Woman”

• TONIGHT: Thursday, Feb. 14th | 7pm–9pm | At the NAGB


Love is in the air and the NAGB Film Series is showcasing the iconic romantic film “Pretty Woman,” a modern update on Cinderella, where a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall in love with one another, forming an unlikely pair.

To make things a little more special for the big V-Day, the NAGB will have beautifully decorated chocolate strawberries for sale from Sugar Bliss Boutique and a bar stocked by Bahama Barrels. So bring a blanket, cuddle up with your boo, and join the Gallery for a night under the stars tonight in Fiona’s Theatre for this memorable showing.

This and all screenings at the NAGB are FREE and open to the public.

CLICK HERE for the NAGB website.




L E C T U R E :

NAGB ACE Series presents: Seph Rodney’s
“What Art Criticism Does”

• Monday, February 18th | 11am–12:30pm | At the NAGB

NAGB AceSeries SephRodney Sq

The NAGB presents the first installment in their new Art, Culture and Exchange (ACE) Series, devoted to growing a healthy space for reciprocation, discourse and debate. This invitational brings established international artists, critics, and an extensive network of art professionals to present on their works in public lectures, informal talks and symposia. They will offer diverse perspectives and exciting interpretations of art, social/global issues, and innovations in culture.

For their first lecture, the NAGB welcomes Jamaican-born, US-based critic, Seph Rodney speaking on “What Art Criticism Does.” Rodney will speak about the various approaches that are typically taken by those who currently write art criticism and what these strategies accomplish, or seek to accomplish. Within this, he will anchor and contextualise his practice as it has been suggested that the fine lines that exist between art writing and art criticism continue to blur, and through this path of inquiry, Rodney will attempt to nail down precisely what is meant by the term “criticism.”

The ACE Series continues the museum’s mission to empower its creative community with opportunities to engage in transformative encounters, which hold the potential to change the lives of young people and our public through robust art education programmes.

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

NAGB Teachers Seminar Feb 2019

S E M I N A R :

NAGB Teachers’ Seminar in Art and History

Feb. 20th & 21st
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) Art and History Teachers’ Seminar was so well received last year, they are bringing it back. Join the NAGB on February 20th or 21st, 2019 as they explore the link between art and history and the many fun, innovative ways art can be used to make history come alive in the classroom.

The NAGB’s Teachers’ Seminars are a series of professional development workshops for all teachers who are interested in learning more about integrating art with other subjects in their classes and utilizing resources at the museum to enhance their students' creative experience. These workshops can also be used by teachers to accumulate professional development hours over the course of the school year.

To register, please contact Katrina Cartwright at or call 328-5800.

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


C O N C E R T :

Sip & Safari Happy Hour Fundraiser with
Live Music by The Vice-Versa Band

Friday, February 22nd | 5:30pm–8:30pm | Ardastra Gardens & Zoo


The Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre is hosting a Happy Hour Fundraiser & Concert called Sip & Safari on Friday, Feb 22nd from 5:30pm–8:30pm to raise funds for their animal rescue and rehab programme.

Take a break from the traffic on West Bay Street and come on out this evening. Unwind and enjoy the live of The Vice-Versa Band as they play your favorite songs and relax with a glass or two of wine. Cash Bar and snacks available. $10 p/p cover charge.

CLICK HERE for event’s Facebook page.


A R T / E V E N T :

NAGB presents: Friday Night Live!

Friday, February 22nd | 6pm–10pm | At the NAGB

NAGB Friday Night Feb 22

Smooth talking and dulcet tones; this time around Friday Night Live! (FNL!) is bringing you suave sophistication with “The Good Mic”, an Open Mic Night in collaboration with Goodstock!

FNL! is a one-of-kind event at the museum that is perfect for an evening out with the family, a first date, or just to experience the NAGB after hours. For the price of regular admission, you can experience special tours, drawing in the galleries, an interactive workshop inspired by our latest exhibitions, live entertainment and more! It only comes around once a quarter so don’t miss out on this incredible bit of Spring fun and delight. You won’t be disappointed. See you there!

CLICK HERE to view promo video for FNL!.
CLICK HERE to RSVP for Friday Night Live!


art & culture stories
from the bahamas


NAGB’s Ninth National Exhibition:
“Painting to Heal”

Bahamian artist Gabrielle Banks lays bare the burdens of her
troubled past in NAGB’s National Exhibition submission.


by Kevanté A. C. Cash

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) continues to provide a platform and be a safe space for artists across all genres to lay bare the sentiments of the heart through thematic responses to exhibition calls that seek to engage the wider Bahamian populace.

Gabrielle Banks, student artist at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), took the opportunity of submitting works into the ninth National Exhibition (NE9) “The Fruit and The Seed” as a way to vocalise her thoughts and opinions and to heal from past pains and traumas. Furthermore, the artist also intended to inspire a discourse that is oftentimes swept underneath the rug and left for the minority of society to engage in. In her statement for the the four paintings presented in the show, Banks notes:

“As of late, my work has evolved from a general exploration of race, identity and gender, to one that focuses on the intimate experiences of my personal life. Each painting functions as a memory to communicate the long-term and continual effects of trauma. Within these paintings, this conversation of trauma is articulated through the imagery created from being a victim of sexual assault and abusive relationships. A previous painting appears within another as a conversation between two experiences, similar to the way the mind is triggered by a recurring memory or dream.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB’s website.

Porsha Williams covers Rolling Out magazine  outfitted by Bahamaian fashion designer Theodore Elyett

Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams graces the cover of Rolling Out magazine in a shoot produced by a full Bahamian crew: Theodore Elyett (Dress Designer), Stanley Babb (Photographer), Sarsha Lepeche (Make-up), and Judah Forbes (Videographer).

Contingent of Bahamian artists create Rolling Out magazine cover for Real Housewives of Atlanta star

by Fusion IMC

Bahamian fashion maestro Theodore Elyett crescendos again and lands the cover of Rolling Out magazine, outfitting the glowing mom-to-be and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams in a yellow, off-the-shoulder maternity gown.

Porsha was photographed this winter during her baby-moon vacation in The Bahamas. The image, captured by Bahamian celebrity photographer Stanley Babb, shows Porsha cradling her baby bump in Elyett’s flattering gown, featuring handmade floral applique along the plunging neckline, sequin inserts on the torso and his signature bishop sleeve with pleated cuff. The material for the gown was donated by Commonwealth Fabrics.

“This was a case of opportunity knocking, and I stepped up to the plate! Stanley contacted me about the project, and I had a lead time of 24-hours to construct the gown for Porsha. I immediately accepted the challenge and got to work,” stated Elyett. “Was it easy? Not at all, but I knew that it would be an amazing opportunity for my brand to gain additional traction on the international stage. Porsha has a huge following, so I knew that I made the right decision [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The Bahamas Weekly.

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© Dale Grant (2016)

Berlin publisher announces new book by Bahamian photographer

A new book entitled “Fading Beauty” featuring the sumptuous photography of internationally acclaimed Bahamian photographer Dale Grant will be released by Berlin-based publishing house Kerber in June 2019.

Dale Grant’s Fading Beauty is a collection of photographs capturing the distinctive features which flowers display during their life cycle. Flowers all begin life looking rather similar, but it is at the moment when they begin to wither and after some time die, that their true individual beauty can be witnessed as the vivid colors of their petals eventually become transparent and muted in tone. Grant sees his images of flowers as portraits and in this direction he sets out to explore life’s uniqueness and constant change.

Dale Grant headshot

Bahamian photographer Dale Grant.

Born on the island of Nassau in The Bahamas and naturalized Dutch, Dale Grant has spent most of his years living in Paris, New York, Amsterdam and Berlin. After graduating from university with a Masters Degree in International Relations, he followed his heart and became a photographer specializing in both art and commercial photography (fashion, still lifes and portraits). He enjoys experimenting with lighting and for his personal work he was influenced by the lighting seen in the paintings of the neo-classical period.

CLICK HERE to pre-order book at Kerber.
CLICK HERE to visit Dale’s website.


Bahamian artist holds successful workshop
with UB art students at Baha Mar

Bahamian artist Lillian Blades recently held the first part of a two-part art workshop with University of The Bahamas Art Students at The Current Art Studio at BahaMar. The art that they create will be incorporated into Blades’ commissioned art installation for Baha Mar’s convention center. Blades exclaimed, “It was so much fun and I love what they created so far.” (Source: Lillian Blades Facebook page)

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Lillian teaching the workshop with UB Art students.

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Lillian teaching the workshop with UB Art students.


Some of the artwork created by The University of The Bahamas art students during art workshop.


Students and administrators from the Lend A Hand Bahamas Community Centre put their hand prints on the ‘Dream’ wall to show their buy in as stakeholders of the project.

Transforming Spaces 2019 opens in April

Transforming Spaces (TS) 2019 is gearing up for its annual art bus tour that will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7. Slated to be another inspiring art event, this year’s theme “Sustainability – I Have A Dream – I Am the Dream – We are the Dream” is already bearing fruit.

Allan Wallace continues work on the Wall of Respect Photo by TS

Bahamian artist Allan Wallace works on completing the Wall of Respect

Having started since September 2018, the theme will extend into the year 2020 to highlight the mission statement of one of TS’s founding members, the late Jackson Burnside, who stated that ‘by the year 2020, more persons will visit The Bahamas for its art, culture and heritage, rather than merely for its sun, sand and sea.” TS Executives, artist Antonius Roberts and Pam Burnside, are spearheading this multi-year project which has its roots within the Bahamian community.

He Came to Lend Support presentation

Last September, TS established a partnership with Lend a Hand Bahamas (LAHB), a registered nonprofit organization formed in 2014 to bring local, national, and international opportunities and activities into the community by running a core hands-on curriculum centered on 4H programming. The organization opened their newly-refurbished Neville and Nora Dorsett Community Center in historic Lewis Street off East Street last October. A home in Lewis Street, which is still standing, is where Dr Martin Luther King resided when he first visited with Sir Randol Fawkes in November 1958. Another lesser known fact is that Dr King also wrote his famous “I Have a Dream” speech whilst visiting the island of Bimini in The Bahamas a decade later. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full text at Transforming Spaces website.
CLICK HERE to visit the Lend a Hand website.


The true meaning of strength

Bahamian psychologist and first-time author, Dr Gia Jones, publishes book to help women in their struggles.

by Alesha Cadet

A woman who wears many hats, Dr Giavana Jones, recently added the designation of author to her long list of roles and achievements.

Professionally, she is the director of programmes for Lyford Cay Foundations, a psychology professor at The University of The Bahamas, and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Stories of Hope. Privately, she is a wife of 10 years, a mother to two super active children who wear her out, and she considers herself a child of God.

In all her roles, Dr Jones is passionate about fostering hope, resilience, and support of healthy communities.

Her new book, entitled “The Strong One”, had its official launch at the auditorium of Harry C. Moore Library at The University of The Bahamas last week. Dr Gia, as she is known, was on hand to sign copies of her book and engage in a panel discussion.

Dr Gia, admitted to Tribune Weekend that at first she thought the content seemed so common sense that she wondered if it would even make an impact as a book. However, the more people she spoke to about the idea behind the book, the more the relevance question faded from her mind. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on pg 11 of The Tribune Weekend.
CLICK HERE to purchase book on Amazon.


Bahamian artist Melissa Maura and her art.

The Bahamian genius behind ‘Primitive ‘ art

Sir Christopher Ondaatje describes “an extreme experience’ with the artist Melissa Maura, and writes about the exotic fantasies and artists which have inspired this much loved Bahamian artist.

by Sir Christopher Ondaatje

About a year ago, I was walking across the submerged flats on Hog Cay off the north-western tip of Long Island the island paradise owed by Peter Graham, a well-known Bahamian lawyer and his family. Well, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. The so-called “flats” were nothing of the kind. They were uneven pot holes and sometimes deeper quicksand type cavities under about two feet of water. Every step was a hazard and it was extremely difficult to hold my footing. What was worse, I was starting to panic and wondered whether I would ever get to the safety of the shore.


Melissa hard at work cutting out the beginning of one of her intricate paintings on wood.

It was tiring and actually quite dangerous for me anyway. But not for someone as sure-footed and strong as the artist Melissa Maura and her friend Jane Lewis. They saw the trouble I was in and made their way over to me and literally, with one strong arm under each of my armpits, held me up and guided me to safety. They might have saved my life. They certainly restored my flagging confidence. Later, after an evening sundowner, I joked about the experience. But it wasn’t a laughing matter at the time.


Close up of one of Melissa's Bahamian Mailboat paintings detailing the intricacies of these workhorses of Bahamian family island life.

Melissa Maura is a very talented and much loved Bahamian artist who was born on February 7, 1956 in Nassau at the Princess Margaret Hospital. She went to St Andrew’s School then on Shirley Street opposite the editorial offices of The Tribune. In 1973, her parents put her into Oriel School in Cheltenham, England, then back to Nassau, and then to London where she attended the Heatherley School of Fine Art for a year, taking life drawing classes and learning etching and anatomy an essential grounding for anyone seriously interested in painting figures, both human and animal. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on pg 20 of The Tribune Weekend.
CLICK HERE for video featuring artist Melissa Maura.


Bahamian actor, producer and narrator Ron Butler.

Interview with Bahamian actor & voice artist Ron Butler

by Chandra Sparks Splond

Bahamian actor, producer and narrator Ron Butler has been fortunate to land his dream job when it comes to audiobook narration.

Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into book narration.
RB: I’m originally from The Bahamas, and my father (Calypso singer/songwriter Ronnie Butler) was the number one recording artist there for over six decades; my American mother is a ballroom dancer. Although I grew up dabbling in the arts, it wasn’t until several years after college that I moved to New York to become an actor with the Atlantic Theater Company. My career in New York City was mostly off-Broadway plays and musicals (the off-Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along was a favorite). I also did some regional theater (Death of a Salesman at Missouri Rep, and Big River at Alabama Shakespeare Festival were some favorites). After a role in the HBO movie Everyday People, I moved to Los Angeles and focused mainly on film and television. I spent a decade guest starring on dozens of shows, and had the good fortune of being a regular on True Jackson, VP for all three seasons.

A few years ago, a colleague of mine asked if I’d be interested in audiobooks—the industry was expanding and there was a need for more narrators of color. I love to read, (I mean, I really love it!), and I like to talk, so I thought, “dream job.” As it turned out, I had a unique combination of skills and background that equipped me to be a narrator. I absolutely love it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to perform titles in almost every genre. It’s incredibly fulfilling.

Tell me about your most recent project.
RB: My most recent project was a collection of short stories called “Black Enough.” Geared toward young adults, the stories follow black teenagers who love sci-fi/fantasy, 80s pop culture, heavy metal music, etc.—that is, they have interests and orientations that are often thought of as “not black.” I was excited to be a part of this project because it’s about inclusion and shaking things up; it’s a nuanced look at the broad spectrum of blackness in America.

CLICK HERE for full interview.


TOP: Bahamian beauty queen and artist October Johnson at work on her line of Junkanoo Boxes.

Reinventing the Box

Centrepieces capture culture of The Bahamas

by Jeffarah Gibson

‘Think outside of the box’ is a phrase that has been used so many times, by so many people in so many different situations that it has practically lost all its meaning.

So former Miss Exuma World October Johnson isn’t thinking outside of the box, she is reinventing it altogether.

The box shape, and The Bahamas’ number one cultural expression—Junkanoo—are the inspiration behind her new home décor company. The aptly named Junkanoo Box brand offers centrepieces made from 100% recycled materials.

The former pageant queen, who goes under the name Toby October, said she’s had passion for the arts since her childhood. “I have been interested in art since the age of five after creating cards and letters for my parents,” Toby told Tribune Weekend.

In 2011, she launched her first art company under the name The Mayflower Project, in honour of her mother, Anita Maycock Johnson, whom she said always been a great source of encouragement for her. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article on pg 14 of The Tribune Weekend.
CLICK HERE to visit the Junkanoo Box Facebook page.

NAGB NE9 Schmid  What we Carry

Work in progress for “What We Carry” (2018) series as seen in artist’s studio.

NAGB’s Ninth National Exhibition:
The Weight We Bear

Heino Schmid’s monumental drawings for the NE9.

by Natalie Willis

• • •

This year’s National Exhibition (NE), “NE9: The Fruit and The Seed”, took time to cultivate, to bear fruit, and much care was taken in tending to the roots of art in The Bahamas. The NE serves as a thermometer or litmus test, a finger on the pulse of what is happening in our creative culture here. Of the 38 artists showing work, one particular “fruit” was very, very big indeed.

NAGB NE9 Schmid What we Carry Series2

“What We Carry” (2018), Heino Schmid, charcoal, graphite, pastel and acrylic on paper, 108 x 60 in. (Collection of the artist.)

Heino Schmid

Bahamian artist Heino Schmid.

Bahamian artist Heino Schmid’s contribution to the 9th National Exhibition “NE9: The Fruit and the Seed” is, in short, meta. Allow me to explain. His three monumental drawings (measuring in at 9 feet tall by 5 feet wide), housed in heavy, monumental frames, are a gestural portrayal of one human being carrying another on their back. These drawings were then assembled in their heavy frames on the ground floor level of the NAGB, with the heavy glass to protect them slotted in, and then these heavy drawings in their heavy frames were strapped and hoisted to have the 300lb+ weight lifted by the strong backs of several of the NAGB “ninjas”, (along with some very dear friends). In this way, the work is meta, though perhaps self-referential or self-reflexive better serves the description. It’s a sort of divine irony, that works depicting the act of labour of carrying another human being are enacted in the process of displaying the work itself.

In some ways, it provides a conceptual loop that gives the art its own sort of ecology - the concept feeds the work, which feeds the process, which then feeds the concept again in turn. Symbiotic and simple in some ways, it gives us a moment to pause and consider the significance of those things we don’t give much thought or consciousness to in our everyday lives. This exploration of the significance of the insignificant everyday movements and tasks is central to Schmid’s work over the years, and gives us more opportunities to consider our social environment in this country. [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB’s website.


art news & stories
from the region &
around the world

John Dunkley

John Dunkley's “Banana Plantation,” from around 1945, in the exhibition “Neither Day Nor Night” at the American Folk Art Museum. (Credit: National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston)

John Dunkley, an outsider artist deep in the heart of Jamaica

Long cherished in his homeland, the self-taught artist gets his first large museum survey. And the show is a revelation.

by Roberta Smith

The Jamaican visionary John Dunkley (1891-1947) is the latest artist to decimate the distinctions between self-taught and trained, outsider and insider and folk and not folk. The first large museum survey in the United States devoted to the work of this gifted autodidact is now at the American Folk Art Museum, after originating at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2017, with Diana Nawi, now an independent curator, heading the organizing team.

Containing several vivacious carved wood figures and more than 30 dense, luminous landscapes, the show is a revelation. As its subtitle accurately acknowledges, the canvases are seen by “Neither Day Nor Night,” but bathed in a third light, that of full moons, dreams or faith.

Dunkley, who has long been cherished in his homeland, is the second important self-taught Caribbean artist to be introduced here recently. He follows Frank Walter (1926-2009), whose work was shown by Hirschl & Adler at the 2017 Outsider Art Fair, on its way to representing Antigua at the Venice Biennale that year. While Walter sometimes pushed his landscapes to the brink of jewel-toned abstractions, Dunkley aligned the expressive powers of natural form and painted textures into a recognizable but uncanny, highly symbolic world. In stylization and mood, his efforts relate to the art of the American painters Edward Hicks, Albert Pinkham Ryder and Henri Rousseau. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The New York Times.


Native Hawaiians deconstruct the misleading narrative of Hawaii as ‘Paradise’

A mural by six Native Hawaiian contemporary artists serves as a counterpoint to the commercial imagery that has advertised the state as an exotic paradise.

Hawaiian mural

Al Lagunero, Meleanna Meyer, Harinani Orme, Kahi Ching, Carl F.K. Pao, and Solomon, Enos, “‘Āina-Aloha” (2015) (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

by James Charisma

When you imagine Hawaii, what do you think of? Perhaps hula girls dancing seductively at sunset, wearing grass skirts, coconut bras, and a flower lei? Or Waikiki beach boys in swim shorts, surfing peaks with Diamond Head looming behind them? Possibly a stone-faced tiki nestled alongside palm trees and a raging volcano?

You know the images I’m describing. Because for over a century, these exotic scenes of paradise were deliberately crafted by travel companies and ad agencies and widely circulated to shape a specific narrative about Hawaii. When the Matson shipping company — which had been hauling freight between the West Coast and Hawaii since 1882 — began expanding its tourism offerings in the early 20th century, they hired a San Francisco agency to create an extensive ad campaign of travel posters and memorabilia that depicted Hawaii as an alluring tropical fantasy. Through colorful, illustrated caricatures of “island life” and photographic prints of relaxing women and beach scenes by famous photographers, including Anton Bruehl and Edward Steichen, the imagery stuck. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.


Brazil dissolves its Ministry of Culture

Acting on a campaign promise to cut back on public spending, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has created an umbrella Ministry of Citizenship which now covers sports, communications, social policy, and culture, all in one.

Brazil Ministry of Culture

An award ceremony for a program sponsored by the former Ministry of Culture that awarded 500 grants for popular culture (all photos courtesy Brazil’s former Ministry of Culture unless otherwise noted)

by Mariana Simões

On his second day in office, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, delivered on a campaign promise that was backed with widespread support: dismantling the Ministry of Culture.

Mr. Bolsonaro has instead created an umbrella Ministry of Citizenship, which now covers sports, communications, social policy, and culture, all in one. Cultural affairs will be handled by the Special Secretary for Culture, a branch subordinated to the larger Ministry of Citizenship.

Vowing to cut back on public spending was a central part of Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign, and he promised, in a live address on Facebook last October that if elected he would reduce the number of ministries from 29 to 15. After taking office on January 1, Mr. Bolsonaro rang in the new year with 22 ministries under his belt. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at Hyperallergic.

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Right, a painting by Samson Akinnire at the Signature Beyond Art Gallery booth at the Art X Lagos fair. Left, “Night of a Classical Music” by Dotun Popoola. (Credit ART X Lagos)

Lagos, City of Hustle, builds an Art ‘Ecosystem’

Fascinating article on West Africa’s new art destination—Lagos—a sprawling megacity with a generation of artists, gallerists and collectors powering the scene.

by Siddhartha Mitter

Cars snaked out from the hideous traffic and deposited the city’s elite, dressed to impress, at the Civic Center, a concrete-and-steel edifice fronting Lagos Lagoon. Women exuding Vogue beauty and power paused on the patio to give television interviews.


Kainebi Osahenye, a Nigerian painter, at his studio in Lagos.

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Gerald Chukwuma, at his studio in Lagos. His theme was the Igbo Landing — the story of enslaved people who committed mass suicide upon reaching the coast of Georgia. The story brought home how much communities can forget, or avoid. “We have to retrieve this culture," he said. (Credit Tom Saater for The New York Times)

Art X Lagos was living up to its reputation as a happening. Not just collectors, but the hip, the curious, the Instagram crowd, thronged West Africa’s principal fair in November. They packed the venue to hear the keynote talk by the distinguished British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, back for the occasion. The Ooni of Ife, a Yoruba king, showed up, escorted by praise-singers. Conversations carried over from gallery openings around town and from the Art Summit, a two-day convening, where the celebrated painter Kehinde Wiley, flown in by the United States consulate, was a special guest.

This enormous city — with no official census, population estimates range from 13 million to 21 million — is dynamic by disposition. Yes, the roads are clogged, political corruption is rampant, and the power cuts trigger armies of generators spewing noxious fumes. But Lagosians — who are proud of their “hustle,” a mix of effort, imagination, and brash optimism — will turn any challenge into enterprise. Commerce, music, fashion, have long thrived amid the chaos. And now, with its solid collector base and thickening web of galleries and alternative spaces, the art “ecosystem” — the word everyone uses — is achieving critical mass. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at The New York Times.


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-in-Chief & Publisher:
Stephanie Shivers, Account & Office Manager:

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