Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’ Issue No. 318 Sharing Art & Cultural News of The Bahamas for 17 Years • • • • CLICK HERE to see onli


Smith & Benjamin’s
Issue No. 318

Sharing Art & Cultural News
of The Bahamas for 17 Years

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

From the “Constructed Paradise” Series
by Bahamian artist Jodi Minnis
(9 x 11 | Acrylic paint, found image & objects, weave thread)
• • •
This piece amongst others will be on display in the new exhibition entitled
“Home | Home” opening next Thursday, August 4th at The D’Aguilar Foundation. The public is invited attend. All proceeds will go towards Jodi’s educational fund.


Friday, July 28th, 2017


Dear Reader,

Just a short note to let our wonderful faithful readers of this newsletter know that we will be taking a short vacation break for the month of August. It’s time to recharge those creative batteries and work on a few personal projects that need completing! God willing, we will be back in September with new creatives, new stories and new offerings in Bahamian Art & Culture.

Please take a moment to kindly visit our Facebook page HERE and LIKE us! We post each week’s newsletter here. In fact, our Facebook page has all of our newsletters archived dating back to 2011! Throughout the month of August, we will be posting individual stories and updates just so you won’t be without us altogether! :-)

Thank you again for your encouragement and love. Thank you for supporting this publication and Bahamian art & culture.

Dionne Benjamin-Smith
Editor & Publisher
Bahamian Art & Culture


what’s happening in
bahamian art & culture


T H E A T R E :

“Honourable Member”

TONIGHT: Friday, July 28th & Saturday, July 29th
At 8pm sharp | The Dundas Centre, Mackey Street

Bahamian playwright Ian Strachan’s new political comedy/drama “Honourable Member” is back by popular demand! Being hailed as “simply amazing,” “freaking brilliant,” “highly entertaining,” and “brutally honest” is back for two nights only – tonight, Friday, July 28th and tomorrow, Saturday, July 29th at 8pm sharp at The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts on Mackey Street.

CLICK HERE for play’s Facebook event page.

Home-Home Long

E X H I B I T I O N :

Home | Home
by Jodi Minnis

Thursday, August 3rd | 6pm–9pm | The D’Aguilar Art Foundation

The public is invited to The D’Aguilar Art Foundation on Thursday, August 3rd, 6-9pm for the opening of Home | Home, an exhibition of recent artworks by Bahamian artist Jodi Minnis – all proceeds will fund the continuation of Minnis’ studies at the University of Tampa.

Home | Home is a collection of 2-dimensional collages and mixed-media paintings that explores the meaning of home in regards to landscape and anatomy. Home | Home seeks to investigate how we compile and migrate objects to build identities for those autonomies.

“As The Bahamas, specifically, New Providence is my home, I questioned its landscape. In turn, I questioned the identities that I latched on to and questioned my sense of self. This body of work served as a means of arranging those thoughts and finding clarity.” — Jodi Minnis

CLICK HERE to RSVP at event’s Facebook page.


M E E T & G R E E T :

The Current: Artist Meet & Greet

Friday, August 4th | 6pm–8pm | Baha Mar

The Current at Baha Mar is hosting an Artist Meet & Greet at The Current on Friday, August 4th from 6pm-8pm. It is a free, informative event open to artists of all disciplines to discuss art initiatives and opportunities at Baha Mar. We hope you are able to attend. Please RSVP to:


art & culture news
from the bahamas


Allan Wallace with his salt portrait of US Comedian Kevin Hart.

Bahamian artist becomes internet sensation creating portraits with salt

There are very few people in the world who can draw a portrait of you exactly the way you look using only salt, coffee or baking soda. Bahamian Allan Pachino Wallace is one of them.

by Spooky

Allan Pachino Wallace is a young, talented artist from Nassau, The Bahamas, who recently rose to internet fame with a series of amazing celebrity portraits made only with salt, coffee or baking soda.

Wallace works with all kinds of mediums, from common oil paint and spray paint, to tree leaves and cereal. A quick look at his social media profiles on Facebook or Instagram reveals the versatility and talent of this young artist, but the internet only learned about it after he shared a salt portrait of actor/comedian Kevin Hart on his Facebook page. People loved it and got shared so much that Kevin Hart himself saw it and publicly congratulated Allan on his work.

“It was mind-blowing,” Wallace told Proud Jamaica. “I felt really blessed. I am an artist and I want other people to love my work. I love it when individuals acknowledge the work I put in. What made it overwhelming was that the subject of the piece (Kevin Hart) appreciated it as well.” [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Oddity Central.

Related articles:
Caribbean Talent: Salt Art By Allan Pachino Wallace...
Young artist draws his way to fame using salt...

Manoo-Rahming Lelawattee-asha

Award winning poet Lelawattee “Asha” Manoo-Rahming.

Local poet’s work wins Writer’s Digest poetry challenge

Local poet and engineer Lelawattee “Asha” Manoo-Rahming wins yet another poetry award for her powerful writing from Writer’s Digest.

The Writer’s Digest issued a Poetic Form Challenge for poets to write in a rimas dissolutas format. Asha took up the challenge and won with her poem “About Love” that beat hundreds of entries and came out on top over 10 semi-finalists.

Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, Robert Lee Brewer, expressed, “Congratulations, Lelawattee! I enjoyed the sweaty, flighty, and mighty versions of love and the bonus envoi at the end.”

Writer’s Digest “wrote the book” on writing and getting published. For more than 90 years, the experts at Writer’s Digest have been publishing books, magazines, competitions, conferences and distance education materials for writers who want to polish their skills and hone their craft.

Congratulations Asha!

CLICK HERE to read poem and for full article at Writer’s Digest.


Lavar Munroe working in his studio on Milton Street, Nassau Bahamas. (Photo by Keisha Oliver)

Studio visit with Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe

Finding new meaning
to a familiar space

by Keisha Oliver

Interdisciplinary artist Lavar Munroe grew up in the Grants Town community of Nassau, The Bahamas, and has lived and worked in the United States for over thirteen years. Munroe’s work exists as a reflection of the environment of his upbringing and presents an ongoing critique on contemporary society and its relationships between the people of the ghetto and the ‘Others.’ He maps and celebrates his personal journey of survival and fortitude from the heart of the ‘Over-the-Hill,’ community whilst confronting broader issues concerning social stereotypes.

Last month, Munroe returned to his childhood home through Milton Street to reclaim a new studio space. Hosting one of few studio visits since re-acclimating himself with this environment, Munroe shares his journey and new body of work for his upcoming show ‘GUN DOGS,’ which opens October 3rd at Jack Bell Gallery in London.

Keisha Oliver: What has been the driving force behind your work over recent years?
Lavar Munroe: It started off with interests in animism and religion with a focus on the pre-historic man. My research led me to critical reading into the work of Carl Jung, Edward Taylor and a few others. I then looked into the broader themes of mythology and religion and tapped into Joseph Campbell’s writings on modern mythology. I came across a term he invented called ‘monomyth,’ or ‘the hero’s journey’ and this concept is the premise for much of my recent work.

KO: What is the hero’s journey to you?
LM: I’ve deemed myself in many ways as a societal hero, but not in an arrogant sense. A lot of people who I grew up with have either passed away, are in jail, or on drugs and most persons I come in contact with rarely believe that I live on Milton Street. Not only in The Bahamas, but internationally, if I were to bring someone to this space, they wouldn’t believe I called it home. I pride myself on being from the ghetto and challenging the stigma and stereotypes associated with such places. The space speaks of humble beginnings and oftentimes the presence I have as an artist is nearly grandiose. Exhibition time is like show time, so it doesn’t really level off in many ways. I think for that reason it baffles many people. Even though I’ve grown up in this community, I’ve always been fortunate. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at the NAGB website.


Detail of Leasho Johnson’s installation “Playing the Fields” as a part of Double Dutch, “Of Skin and Sand” which opened on Friday, July 21st at the NAGB.

Gender and
the Dream

Confronting stereotypes in Black masculinity.

by Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

The dream sold is of young men being told that they are prosperous, only to realise that they are imprisoned in a tangled web of failure or underachievement. Young men from the inner city, once the thriving home of Blacks–forced by segregation and reduced circumstances to live in particular parts of town–is cast as the worst place in the country, a place that only produces criminals.

These young men are taught they are not allowed to demonstrate emotion other than anger and are to be “hard” young men, which means to procreate, while collecting and discarding women. They come from broken families where no one has the time to talk, to share and they are expected to support the family in early adulthood. Such is the stereotype of the young, poor, Black male. [...]

CLICK HERE for full essay at the NAGB website.


From the National Art
Collection of The Bahamas:

“Let Us Prey” (1984-86) by Dave Smith


Installation shot of “Let Us Prey” (1984-86) by Dave Smith as seen in the current Permanent Exhibition, “Revisiting An Eye For the Tropics”.

The title is undoubtedly provocative given the Bahamian bent toward Christianity, but “Let Us Prey” (1984-86) is, quite literally, a gift. Donated by Dave Smith in 2007, the work is at once an act of good faith, while simultaneously critical of bad. It’s another painting from the National Collection that we have given some gentle care to and put on display for the current Permanent Exhibition, “Revisiting An Eye For The Tropics,” and fits into the theme of the Bahamian Everyday that works within this exhibition.

Dave Smith is a British artist who moved to The Bahamas and spent seventeen years here before moving to the US. Arriving on our shores as an abstract painter, he is now hailed as a home-grown Pop-realist, with Smith’s paintings depicting the Bahamian every day in the style of Pop Art. Art can become a way of knowing a place and Smith’s way of looking at our struggles and idiosyncrasies comes from a position of one who is simultaneously ‘inside’ and ‘outside.’. He no doubt has strong ties and feels at home here, but he is also from an entirely different cultural background to many of those living in these Bahamian scenes that he paints - this duality of being familiar with ‘The Bahamian,’ whilst concurrently holding his own Britishness gives his works a very particular perspective in viewing our society. Certain things seem curious, like the old cinema titles he so carefully renders in his work, but his attention to the minutiae of our lives are shown in such detail it can only be an act of care and consideration. [...]

CLICK HERE for full essay at the NAGB website.


art from the region
and beyond

chris ofili water

‘I was interested to see if you could weave water’ – Chris Ofili. (Photo: Kibwe Braithwaite for the Observer)

BBC’s 2017 documentary on artist Chris Ofili’s Trinidad project

TV Producer Alan Yentob follows the celebrated Turner Prize-winning British artist Chris Ofili as he creates a spectacular contemporary tapestry– The Caged Bird’s Song.

Nearly three years in the making, it is a triumph of craft and dedication, transforming Ofili’s free-flowing watercolour paintings into vibrant wool on a giant scale. Made with a team of master weavers in Edinburgh, the piece, over seven metres wide and three metres tall, draws together the sights and sounds of tropical Trinidad, where Ofili lives. Imagine explores Ofili’s passion for his adopted island home and its inspiration on his creative practice, and reveals the final tapestry as it is installed in an exhibition at the National Gallery in London. [...]

CLICK HERE to watch BBC documentary.

Screen shot 2017-07-28 at 12.12.14 PM

"Jean Michel Basquiat NY, Free" by Tseng Kwong Chi, 1987, Eric Firestone Gallery

How Basquiat became a muse for so many artists

by Ryan Leahey

Twenty-nine years ago, Jean-Michel Basquiat died from a heroin overdose in his East Village apartment. His death, at just 27, was also the death knell of a scene otherwise decimated by drugs and AIDS. In his lifetime, however, he was one of the most prominent faces of downtown New York.

Now, perhaps more than any artist of his generation, he lives on in movies, books, music, and, of course, visual art, which isn’t terribly surprising, given that he was at the forefront of massive shifts in art, culture, and race in America. Yet the enduring power of his portrait also owes a lot to paparazzi and public-access TV.

Downtown New York of the late 1970s and early ’80s had more than its fair share of debauchery and party people. There was Mudd Club, Club 57, Area, seemingly infinite lofts, and plenty of drugs. Before he was 20, Basquiat was on the scene, first as one half of the graffiti duo SAMO, whose tags dotted the dilapidated city. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Artsy.


Swallow the Fish by Gabrielle Civil (#RECURRENT design by Janice Lee, cover design by Eugene Lee. Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017)

A performance artist explores “the vast possibilities of black female subjectivity”

In her memoir Swallow the Fish, Gabrielle Civil examines the narratives she’s ingested since childhood and by which she found herself creatively propelled.

by Monica Uszerowicz

I recently learned that a woman’s womb develops while she is a fetus, inside of her own mother’s womb. This is somewhat obvious — of course the body is shaped in utero — but it’s romantic to imagine the self as an ancestral matryoshka doll, your first “home” existing two generations before you do. One’s history can become ingrained in the body, like memory or stronger muscles.

In Swallow the Fish, a memoir by performance artist and educator Gabrielle Civil published in February by Civil Coping Mechanisms (an independent publishing house that includes the Roxane Gay–founded Tiny Hardcore Press), the first chapter finds the author examining layers of her history, mostly via the narratives she’s ingested since childhood and by which she found herself creatively propelled. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in Hyperallergic.

Screen shot 2017-07-28 at 12.06.36 PM

Carrie Mae Weems, “Blue Black Boy (1997), blue-toned print, 15 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches (39 x 38.7 cm) Framed: 31 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 1 7/16 inches (79.1 x 79.1 x 3.8 cm) (Collection Jack Shainman, New York, © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

The many shades of ‘Blue Black’

In a new exhibition, Glenn Ligon explores the idea of “blue black” as it manifests not only in black identity but also in American culture.

by Antwaun Sargent

In the entrance gallery of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation are a series of figurative painting, sculpture, and a photographic print all staring at each other. This scene of interiority opens the group exhibition Blue Black curated by the artist Glenn Ligon. Kerry James Marshall’s central character in “Untitled (policeman)” (2015), wearing his standard issue, navy blue Chicago Police Department uniform, hand on his hip, looks out in a moment of reflection, at the boy on the other wall in Carrie Mae Weems’ “Blue Black Boy” (1997), whose eyes gape. The peering of the boy represents an image born out of black cultural looking and the white historical gaze. The first is perceived if you focus on the officer’s eyes which make present the knowing glance of a black father at his son. The other image this looking relationship produces, in my mind, is what happens when the effects of the white gaze is recognized to be more than a theoretical construct but something representative of systemic power structures that have real life consequence. Under the white gaze, the black child becomes another black boy, like Michael Brown and the officer, representative of the history of law enforcement as an institution that polices black bodies unjustly, his race evaporates, he is simply an agent of the state, like the white patrolman, Darren Wilson. The looks that passed between Wilson and Brown brought about the final moments of Brown’s life because Wilson, per his testimony, saw the unarmed 18 year-old black boy as a “demon” in that suburban St. Louis street. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full article at Hyperallergic.

The ARts above sickness

David Shrigley, Arts Bridge, for "Creative Health." Courtesy of APPGAHW.

Making and looking at art may reduce depression

by Isaac Kaplan

We all know that art can change your life, but what about helping to save it? A new report has found evidence that the arts bring a wide range of health benefits, speeding medical recoveries and improving overall quality of life.

Released last week in the U.K., “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing” details numerous instances where the arts offered medical improvements for those of every age. That includes art therapy (which reduced agitation in those with dementia) and music (lullabies were seen to calm the heart, lessening the hospital stays for newborn children in neonatal intensive care).

The nearly 200-page document is the result of two years of research, part of an investigation co-chaired by the Labour Party’s Alan Howarth and Conservative Ed Vaizey, both former arts ministers. It’s supplemented with over 300 testimonials from health professionals, patients, policy makers and artists [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at 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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