Smith + Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART + CULTURE’ A Weekly Digest of Art + Cultural News from The Bahamas + the World | Since 2000 • • • • CLICK HERE to


Smith + Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART + CULTURE’
A Weekly Digest of Art + Cultural News from
The Bahamas + the World | Since 2000

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

Friday, March 6th, 2020
Issue No. 409

• • • •

“Untitled I” by Bahamian artist, career journalist,
and media personality Wendall Jones.
• • •
(2019 | Acrylic on canvas | 48" x 48")
• • •
This painting and many others are now on view in Jones’ solo exhibition entitled “Passion of a Lifetime” at the Art Gallery at The Central Bank of The Bahamas at Trinity Place and Market Street. The show is on view now until April 9th.


art + cultural
events calendar




E X H I B I T I O N :

Central Bank Art Gallery presents: “A Passion of a Lifetime” – Artwork by Wendall Jones

• On view now at Central Bank’s Art Gallery until April 9th

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Wendall Jones, “Untitled 3” (2017), Acrylic on canvas, 42" x 42"

Last night, the Art Gallery of the Central Bank of The Bahamas opened a new solo exhibition entitled “Passion of a Lifetime” with paintings by Bahamian artist Wendall Jones, a well known career journalist and media personality, with over 40 years in the information industry. He established and expanded the Jones Communications Network, including JCN Television, Love 97 Radio, The Bahama Journal and JCN Person of the Year Awards.


Paintings by Wendall Jones.

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Wendall Jones, “Untitled 2” (2017), Acrylic on canvas, 37" x 37"

What is less known about Jones is that over the course of almost two decades, he has produced an impressive body of work consisting of – with only a few exceptions — an exceptional series of abstract variations.

With meticulous, multilayered brushstrokes, the artist has created fragile tapestries of colour and light; somewhere located between Pointillism and abstract expressionistic influences.

There are obviously countless ways to experience and interpret the world around us, myriad ways to feel, express and communicate. In his paintings, Jones chooses to deconstruct our figurative visible world and looking for an ephemeral common denominator. This body of work is even more remarkable when we note that the artist did not receive any formal training in painting and is entirely self-taught.


Paintings by Wendall Jones.

The art programme of the Central Bank takes pride in showcasing Bahamian creative talent from all ages and walks-of-life – whether it is during the High School competition exhibiting young gifted students or during the Open Call for more mature artists. It is that fresh and creative emanation from various backgrounds that the Bank strives to present.

“Passion of a Lifetime” exhibition ends April 9th.




F I L M :

NAGB Film Series presents: “Fire at Sea”

• Thursday, Mar 12th | 7–9pm | National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

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The NAGB is pleased to present the film “Fire at Sea” (2016), an Oscar winning documentary by filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi. Shot on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, during the European migrant crisis, it sets the migrants’ dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders.

Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.

The screening is free and open to the public. Popcorn and drinks will be on sale.

Age: 14+ | 1h 54min | Documentary


E X H I B I T I O N :

The NAGB presents: “From Time: Water Has A Perfect Memory” Inter-Island Traveling Exhibition

• Thursday, March 12th | 6–9pm | Worker’s House, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera

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The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is happy to present _“From Time: Water Has A Perfect Memory”_ to the Eleutheran community on Thursday, March 12th, 2020 at the Worker’s House meeting room in Governor’s Harbour. This is the first stop for this exhibition which will travel to at least three other Family Islands.

This exhibition functions in some ways as a time capsule, using historical knowledge and visual interpretations to engage with the country’s past and present and envision a more hopeful future. With colonial works from the 1800s to the post-independence contemporary practice of the last few decades, “From Time” opens up conversations on slavery and colonialism to examine how that era’s gross accumulation of wealth and the booming industrial era it generated, served as the catalyst for the climate injustice we are now witnessing.

CLICK HERE for more information at the NAGB website.
CLICK HERE for Facebook event page.


W O R K S H O P :

The NAGB presents: Teen Art Portfolio Workshop

• Saturday, March 14th | 9am–4pm | National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

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As they move into spring, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is bringing to Bahamian teen artists a FREE art portfolio workshop on Saturday, March 14th, 2020.

These workshops are designed for aspiring young artists with big hopes and dreams who are applying for entry into college/university art programmes in 2019/2020. The NAGB is pleased to share that Bahamian sculptor and painter Tessa Whitehead will be joining the workshop to share her experiences and give students feedback on their work.

The NAGB wants to do their best to support young artists as they know how daunting college/university applications can be (we have all been there!). So register today to learn the ins and outs of creative arts applications. A little extra knowledge goes such a long way to making your application stand out in the ways that count.

For more details, call the NAGB at 328-5800 during weekdays or email Katrina Cartwright at

CLICK HERE to register for the workshop today.


C O N C E R T :

The Current presents its Glo Sessions Concert Series featuring: Essence Band

• Saturday, March 14th | 7–9pm | The Current at Baha Mar

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The Current: Baha Mar Gallery & Art Center is hosting its first annual musical concert Series entitled Glo Sessions. The first band to be featured is Essence. These concert sessions are designed to support the local musical community and aims to showcase Bahamian talent.

Come on out to unwind, vibe out, and relax to the soulful sounds of Essence Band and Andrew ‘And1 Dunna’ Gomez.

Doors will open at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25 can be purchased at The Current. As Baha Mar is cashless, only debit/credit cards are accepted.

CLICK HERE for Facebook event page.




T H E A T R E :

Ringplay Productions presents:
“The Foreigner”

• Tuesday, March 17th—Sunday, March 22nd | 8pm | Winston V. Saunders Theatre, the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts


Ringplay Productions presents a revival of Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” opening Tuesday, March 17th and running through Sunday, March 22nd in the Winston V. Saunders Theatre, at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, with the following cast: David Burrows, Carrie Collins , D. Sean Nottage, Bernard Farquharson, Julia Chatwin, Gordon McKenzie & Jacob Roach.

One of the funniest plays ever produced during the original Dundas Repertory Season, this two-act play starred Winston V. Saunders as ‘Charlie’ and Greg Lampkin as ‘Ellard’. The play returns with David Burrows and Bernard Farquharson taking on those roles.

Tickets for “The Foreigner” will go on sale Monday, March 2nd at the Dundas Box Office. Tickets are $30 and group, student and senior rates will also be available. This will be the third work in Ringplay Productions’ 2020 Repertory Season which opened with John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable” followed by Ian Chinaka Strachan’s “Diary of Souls”. Following “The Foreigner”, a new Bahamian work entitled “The Francis Factor” by Patrice Francis will have its premiere on April 24th and the season’s final offering will be Marsha Norman’s “Night Mother” which opens on May 29th.

The Ringplay Repertory Season will close on June 7th and the following week the theatre company will hold auditions for its 12th Annual Theatre Festival, Shakespeare in Paradise which is scheduled to open September 28th and run through October 10th. Further information can be obtained by calling the Dundas at 393-3728 or 394-7179.

Appox. 2 hours | PG | Comedy/Farce

CLICK HERE for The Dundas’ Facebook page.


T H E A T R E :

Atlantis Local presents: “The Long Weekend”

• Thursday, March 26th—Saturday, April 4th | 8pm | Atlantis Theatre


“The Long Weekend”, a full-length live comedy play by famed Canadian playwright Norm Foster, opens Thursday, March 26th and runs through Saturday, April 4th at the Atlantis Theatre. It's starring Heather Hodgson Kosoy, D. Sean Nottage, Melodee Finlay, and Stephen Sparks. Directed by Chris McHarge and stage managed by Barb McLean.

During a weekend visit between two couples, the true nature of their relationships come to the surface as the four so-called ‘best friends’ slowly discover how they really feel about each other.

It’s a riotous weekend of barbecuing and backbiting, full of non-stop, mischievous fun and scrumptious plot twists. There are plenty of surprises in this comedic gem of a play so get your tickets today.

Appox. 2 hours | Recommended for ages 13+ | Comedy

CLICK HERE for more info and to book tickets now.
CLICK HERE for the Facebook event page.


C O N C E R T :

The Bahamas National Youth Choir presents its 30th Concert Season Gala

• Wednesday, April 1st | 7pm | Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts

Tickets for this special event are $60 each and can be purchased from Turnquest & Co at telephone (242) 393-322.

CLICK HERE for the Facebook event page.

BNYC 30th Concert

art + culture news
from the bahamas


Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe showcased at prestigious Armory Show in New York

Lavar Munroe Armory

Lavar Munroe with his work at The Armory Show. (Source: Artist's Facebook page)

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Lavar Munroe, "A Stranger" (2019) (Jack Bell Gallery)

Jack Bell Gallery of London is proud to present Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe at this year’s Armory Show in New York that opened this week. Munroe is one of 12 artists the Gallery represents.

Munroe’s work is considered a “highlight of the show” according to leading contemporary art magazine Hyperallergic. “Highlights include Lavar Munroe’s phantasmic, multilayered canvases, from the artist’s Redbones series, on view in Jack Bell’s booth (and also in the Jenkins Johnson booth at Pier 94). Composed of layers of cut canvas, Munroe’s surreal, brightly hued paintings draw on his interests in anthropology and critiques of mythology and hero narratives.”

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Installation view of Munroe's work at The Armory Show this week. (Artist's Facebook page)

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Lavar Munroe "(Today) The Last Boy" (2020) Jack Bell Gallery

Munroe is a multimedia artist whose work transverses painting, sculpture, and installation. Drawing on memories of crude graffiti murals from his neighborhood in Nassau, Bahamas, and his personal history of survival and trauma, Munroe creates vivid, energetic imagery and portraits that confront systems of oppression in contemporary society.

The Armory Show is New York City’s premier art fair and a leading cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art. The Armory Show features presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions, and dynamic public programs. Since its founding in 1994, The Armory Show has served as a nexus for the art world, inspiring dialogue, discovery, and patronage in the visual arts.

CLICK HERE for Munroe’s Redbone Series at his website.
CLICK HERE for full article at Hyperallergic.
CLICK HERE for Jack Bell Gallery’s page at the Armory Show.

April with work fullerton

April Bey stands in front of her work at Fullerton College Art Gallery.

Bahamian artist in solo show in California

Fullerton College is honored to present Bahamian artist April Bey as their 2020 Artist-in-Residence.

Bey, who grew up in Nassau and is now based in Los Angeles, is best known for her mixed media and process-based work. Bey’s interdisciplinary artwork is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian culture, contemporary pop culture feminism, generational theory, social media, AfroFuturism, and constructs of race.

She has an academic background in drawing and painting (BFA Ball State University and MFA California State University, Northridge). Bey is in the permanent collection of The California African American Museum, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and The Current, Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.

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APril Bey, Paglia's Venus (Teal), 2017, Ghanaian Chinese Hitarget wax fabric and mixed media drawing, 24 x 24

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April Bey, Paglia's Venus (Purple), 2017, Ghanaian Chinese Hitarget wax fabric and mixed media drawing, 24 x 24

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April Bey, "With My Cadillac, Six Woofers and Fo'amps", 2019, "Beninese" Chinese "African" wax fabric, hand sewing, glitter on laser canvas print, 27 x 48

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Cover art for April Bey’s "Welcome to Atlantica" exhibition at Fullerton College.

Bey travels extensively for her work — mostly to West Africa. She is both a practicing contemporary artist and art educator having taught a controversial course at Art Center College of Design called Pretty Hurts analyzing process-based art and Beyoncé Social Media Feminism. Bey is currently a tenured professor of Art at Glendale College.

The exhibition in the Fullerton College Art Gallery entitled Welcome to Atlantica will be accompanied by an artist lecture and a week-long series of demonstrations as part of the distinguished Fullerton College Artist-in-Residence programme.

CLICK HERE for April Bey’s website.

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Home is a feeling

The latest work of artist Sue Katz Lightbourn.

by Natalie Willis

Since our “rebranding” of the nation from West Indies purgatory to edenic paradise in the late 1700s to mid-1800s, The Bahamas has seen visitors flocking to our spattering of islands in the Atlantic for quite some time now. Sometimes, those visitors repeat their journey. Sometimes, those visitors never leave and make this place their home.

Sue Katz has been living and working in The Bahamas for 28 years. Her roots may have originated in the U.S., but they now find themselves firmly planted here in The Bahamas. This duality of holding onto migrant and diaspora identities is, to many, part and parcel of living here. Her practice of collaging, layering and reworking images from advertising and family archives speaks to the experience of living and carving out a sense of self when displaced and re-rooted (and indeed re-routed) elsewhere. We currently see this particularly personal sense of placement in her Project Space (PS) exhibition entitled “Home”.

“Home” examines Katz’s Jewish heritage, her American background, and the peculiar feeling of existing with one foot in this past, and the other in her present and very Bahamian contemporary. How do we renegotiate ourselves in the current moment, in a different country, and still retain a sense of who we were...? [...]

CLICK HEREfor full article in The Nassau Guardian.

DunmoreRealty side

"Dunmore Realty" (2020), by Nastassia Pratt, watercolor and mixed media, 16" x 20"

The Clapboard House

A disappearing relic within the Bahamian landscape.

by Keisha Oliver

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s devastation, as the Caribbean recovers and rebuilds, it would be remiss not to pause and reflect. In moving forward, there is much to be considered from our survival and journey as an island people. Our social and physical landscapes have and will continue to weave the rich cultural fabric of our existence once we continue to value and preserve them.

Following the most powerful storm seen in the Caribbean, desecrating islands and leaving many homeless, much debate concerning our built environments has emerged. Largely influenced by environmental factors, Caribbean architecture, dating back to the Lucayans, has responded pragmatically to geography and climate considerations. Even when modelling after the early European trends, which often proved less appropriate to the tropics our structures have still withstood hurricane and storms for decades.

According to Bahamian Architect and Partner at TDG Architects Marcus Laing, “Building codes and standards in The Bahamas ensure that structures are designed to take wind speeds of at 150mph. The house I grew up in Englerston was a modest two-bedroom home that survived many hurricanes because it was built up two feet from the ground and followed this building code. In fact, clapboard or wood framed house could be just as strong as a concrete block structure. It’s just a matter of the quality and frequency of wood used.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB website.

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Bahamas team present portrait by Bahamian artist Jamaal Rolle to Chef Andrés.

Bahamas honors Chef Jose Andrés with portrait by Bahamian artist

by Miami Times Staff

The Islands of The Bahamas used the international stage of the recent Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival to say thank you to Chef José Andrés. The chef and his World Central Kitchen team were responsible for providing some 3.2 million meals to victims of Hurricane Dorian, which struck the island nation in September 2019 and caused massive destruction and devastation to Great Abaco and Grand Bahama.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation presented the humanitarian with a portrait of himself by Bahamian artist, Jamaal Rolle, at the SOBEWFF event, Feeding the World hosted by Andrés.

“Our country is forever in your debt for your limitless love, kindness, thoughtfulness and support demonstrated in the massive outreach you organized to feed thousands affected by the storm,” the Ministry’s Executive Director of Marketing Bridgette King, said while presenting the gift to Andrés. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in The Miami Times.


transforming spaces
2020 art tour


The Current showcases Jodi Minnis in “The Red Room” for Transforming Spaces 2020


Painting by Jodi Minnis for Transforming Spaces.

by Natascha Vazquez

For this year’s Transforming Spaces, The Current Gallery & Art Center is pleased to announce the opening of “The Red Room”, an exhibition of new works by Jodi Minnis.

This body of work showcases an installation of bedroom scenes, landscapes and self-portraits, exploring both the intimacies and vastness of public and private spaces. They offer insight into often unpublished places, where there is an opportunity for contemplation and self-reflection. There is a kind of duality within the work, where light from outside a window meets a dark bedroom, where both suffering and healing are evident, and where a sense of both quiet and chaos meet.

Minnis references the balance between the exposed and the isolated through her completion of a three-month residency at The Current, a space that is accessible to thousands of hotel guests and other visitors of Baha Mar. By taking her practice out of isolation and into a heavily populated space, Minnis explores the theme of her work through the process of making. Through this practice, her studio space becomes somewhat of a “window display”, visible to hundreds of onlookers.

“The Red Room” will include a performance by Minnis that aims to expose the unseen spaces behind each closed hotel room door. According to Minnis, “I often contemplate the multiple ways I can exist in this space, as an artist, an employee, a guest or a visitor, and I believe that this contemplation manifests in the work.”

“The Red Room” will be on display until April 2, 2020.

Courtesy of The Nassau Guardian.


art + culture stories
from around the world


Story of 1950s African-American painters focused on environmental fragility in Florida finally being told


Painting by Sam Newton, one of the Highwaymen.

by Ginger Danto

With the exception of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation-minded communities fighting for the sake of still pristine lands, much of Florida has given way to development in tandem with exponential population growth. While similar scenarios play out across the country, the dynamic is arguably most dire in the Sunshine State, where—according to certain measures—900 people relocate a day, notably from northern cities. The resulting demand for non-stop building has taxed the fragile soil bed while also threatening the habitat of hundreds of animal species that have long claimed the state as their home.

While contemporary photographers and writers have found inspiration in the fleeting specter of wild Florida, little has been known until recently about a group of regional painters who captured the state’s changing landscape during the 1950s and ’60s. Aware of the beauty of their surroundings, these artists worked prolifically—yet went largely unknown, primarily because they were African-Americans working in the segregated South. This is the case no longer, however, thanks to “Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen,” an exhibition on view at the Orlando Museum of Art (through May 10) that surveys their tremendous output. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Art News.
CLICK HERE for exhibition page.


10 breakthrough black male artists

As polled by black-owned art galleries in the US.

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Work by Alfred Conteh.

by Shantay Robinson

Black men make a distinct contribution to the artworld as they create art that speaks to a diverse range of issues from community to commerce. Their standpoint comes from a historical experience belonging to a race that has generationally been terrorized and oppressed. For this list of the 10 Breakthrough Black Men Artists, we spoke to professionals at black-owned art galleries to find out which artists they felt were making major gains by their presence in collections, showing in museums and gallery spaces through exhibitions, and raising the bar by the ingenuity of their work. From recommendation of gallerists at Stella Jones Gallery, N’Namdi Contemporary, Walton Gallery, Mariane Ibrahim, E&S Gallery, 10th Street Gallery, Richard Beavers, Zucot Gallery and Black Art in America, we compiled this list.

Alfred Conteh
Alfred Conteh’s Two Fronts, works to convey the warlike atmosphere under which black men, women, and children exist. The likeness to camouflage that overlays the portraits of everyday people is not rendered accidentally. As black life is in a constant struggle to survive, Conteh recognizes the material circumstance under which black people battle economic and psychological injustice. Alfred Conteh’s portraits feature people he has encountered on the street and in whom he recognizes a uniqueness. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in Black Art in America.


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