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


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

• • • •

CLICK HERE to see online version.

• • • •

Friday, July 26th, 2019
Issue No. 386

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“Firewood and Stone” by Bahamian ceramicist Alistair Stevenson
(Porcelain / 2018-2019)
/ /
This piece is included in an exhibition of new work by Stevenson opening this coming Thursday, August 1st at 6pm at Doongalik Studios & Art Gallery.
• • •
See event below.


art & cultural
events calendar




E X H I B I T I O N :

“Material Beauty” by Alistair Stevenson

• Thursday, August 1st | 6pm–9pm | Doongalik Studios & Art Gallery

Alistair-Stevenson Material-Beauty

From a traditional perspective, porcelain as we know it simply exists within the china closets of our family homes displaying decorative ceramic objects which have existed in our families for generations. Yet since modern artists began experimenting with new methods to approaching art, porcelain has also taken its place in the world of contemporary fine art.

Alistair Stevenson’s “Material Beauty” is one example of this progression of ceramic art into the 21st century. His oversized, expressive porcelain jewelry pieces seek to materialise the importance of beauty for human beings and its place in our daily lives.


Alistair at work.

Having grown up along the glistening white sandy shores and beautiful yet treacherous limestone cliffs of Long Island, Bahamas, Stevenson's work has always been inspired by nature. His compositions of natural forms and textures attest to this allowing viewers to connect with nature inside the concrete walls of a gallery space.

Stevenson’s visual art education began with an Associate’s degree in Fine Art from the University of The Bahamas. After this, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Ceramic Art at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Jiangxi Province, China and is presently studying for a Master’s degree in Sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing.

Please join us at Doongalik Studios & Art Gallery next week Thursday, August 1st 6pm–9pm to celebrate the opening of “Material Beauty”. The works will be on display until the 14th August and will be available for purchase as to aide with Stevenson's Post-graduate educational pursuits at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.




D I S C U S S I O N :

Women’s Wednesdays: Women in the Arts

• Wednesday, August 7th | 6pm–7pm | At the NAGB


The Bahamas is home to vibrant, diverse, and talented artist communities. This month, Women’s Wednesdays (WW) at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) will be turning the spotlight on women in the arts.

Bahamian women are breaking silences about social, cultural, and political issues through their artwork. On August 7th, WW will bring together a panel of women artists to talk about their work and ask the following questions:

• What has been your experience as a woman creating art in The Bahamas?
• How is art being used (and how can it be used) to address issues regarding gender and sexuality?
• How do you see art influencing people and functioning in our communities at a time when society is polarized on many issues?
• What challenges do women artists face in creating and sustaining their art projects, and what strategies can we adopt to better support them?
• How does (and how can) art connect women across the Caribbean and African Diaspora?

CLICK HERE for event page.


E X H I B I T I O N :

The Visual Life of Social Affliction:
A Small Axe Project

• Thursday, August 22nd | 7pm–10pm | At the NAGB


The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is happy to partner with Small Axe to bring The Visual Life of Social Affliction to our shores as the first stop in its multi-country exhibition tour. The NAGB invites you to the opening reception on Thursday, August 22nd from 7pm to 10pm as we celebrate the realisation of this dynamic collaboration. The event is FREE and open to the public.

The Visual Life of Social Affliction seeks to grapple with the ways in which Caribbean visual practice critically engages long-standing experiences of social suffering. Recognizing the real senses in which the Caribbean not only was born in the structural violence of Native genocide, African slavery, and Indian indenture instituted by colonial powers, but has been sustained since then by the relentless continuation of institutionalized disrespect, disregard, and dishonor, this project seeks to capture the destructive impact of dominating powers on the lives of Caribbean people. Our wager is that the visual arts constitute one of the most vital expressive and hermeneutic optics through which to explore social life in general and the life of social affliction in particular.

Participating artists include Bahamian artist Blue Curry as well as Marcel Pinas, Anna Jane McIntyre, Miguel Luciano, Florine Demosthene, Patricia Kaersenhout, Belkis Ramírez, René Peña, Ricardo Edwards, and Kara Springer.

CLICK HERE for exhibition page at NAGB website.


art & culture stories
from the bahamas

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Thieves hit Dundas Centre

Theatre administration appeal to the Bahamian public to help in repairing the centre.

by Sloan Smith

Thieves struck the historic Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts on Mackey Street late Sunday night, vandalizing and damaging the property, even breaking a kitchen sink, Philip Burrows, the center’s artistic director, said yesterday.

Burrows said a teacher who was hosting a summer school program at the site discovered the break-in around 7 a.m.

“We realized that they had cut the phone wires,” Burrows said. “They had cut all of the internet connections. They had gotten in through one of the windows and they damaged seven doors…They broke down the sink in the room. They cut all the cables to the camera system and pretty much did a lot of damage and we are in the process right now of trying to get everything back together.

“As you know, the Dundas is a non-profit organization and we scrap for money here and there so this is going to be a lot of costs to just get everything back to normal.”

CLICK HERE to read full article in The Nassau Guardian.


• • •

Help the Dundas
Repair and Rebuild!

Dundas Burgled and Vandalized

At 3 AM on Monday July 22, the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts was burgled and vandalized. A 50-inch television, a DVD player and a surveillance DVR were taken. In the main theatre, every locked interior door was destroyed. The exterior door to the Black Box theatre was also wrenched open. All communications to the theatre—security cameras, cable and telephone wires—were cut. Both alarm keypads were ripped from of the walls and both alarm panels were destroyed. A kitchen sink was broken. Altogether, an estimated $10,000 in damage was left behind.

The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit community theatre which operates on a shoestring. It receives no government subsidy and has no ongoing corporate support. Ticket revenues and rentals are its primary source of income. The staff who work there are part-time employees and volunteers who work full-time and receive an honorarium for their services. There is a caretaker's cottage on site, but finding the best fit for the job has been challenging.

Operating costs for the Dundas include very high electricity bills to keep the air conditioners and lighting running at the theatre. These bills are met by our rentals. The Dundas is an old building which needs a number of repairs, particularly after the damage wrought to the perimeter fencing and the roof by Hurricane Matthew.

Numerous improvement projects have been identified for the upgrading and expansion of the facility. But what is most important is being able to pay our staff fair full-time salaries that will enable the theatre to grow. We can ill afford to handle the extra damage done by the burglars.

So many people have expressed support and asked how they can help with the repairs of the theatre. We are working on making online and credit card donations possible, but in the meantime you can make donations straight to the Dundas bank account:

Dundas Civic Centre
Royal Bank of Canada
Palmdale Branch
Acct No: 05745-003-1181171

CLICK HERE for more information on how you can help The Dundas.


Bahamian writer wins award for best short story from the Caribbean


Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas.

The 2019 international judging panel of the respected Commonwealth Writers cultural initiative selected five regional winners from 5,081 entries, and a shortlist of 21 stories, for the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

The winner of the prze for best story from the Caribbean was Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas with her short story entitled “Granma’s Porch” which tells the story of Helena who, abandoned by her father on her grandmother’s porch, fumbles along the delicate border between adolescence and adulthood, guided by the past traumas of her friends and family and her troubled first love.

Caryl Phillips, Chair of the Judges, said: “The regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize explore a remarkably diverse range of subject-matter, including stories about war, love, abuse and neglect. What unites the stories is a common thread of narrative excellence and dramatic intensity. The voices of a truly global cast of characters enable us to engage with, and recognise, universal emotions of pain and loss.”

Alexia Tolas was born and raised in The Bahamas. Her writing explores the intricacies of small-island life, particularly from the female perspective. She draws heavily on local folktales and mythologies in order to convey realities silenced by tradition and trauma. She is a graduate of the former College of The Bahamas and currently teaches Literature at Tambearly School.

CLICK HERE for more on the 2019 awards and ceremony.

CW Regional Winners 2019

2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Award ceremony. Pictured from left to right: Translator Lina Protopapa, overall winner – Constantia Soteriou, regional winner for Asia – Saras Manickam, regional winner for the Pacific – Harley Hern, regional winner for the Caribbean – Alexia Tolas and regional winner for Africa – Mbozi Haimbe.

• • •

Here’s the beginning excerpt from “Granma’s Porch”:

Screen shot 2019-07-26 at 11.06.51 AM

“Granma’s Porch”
by Alexia Tolas

When Babou drop me off at Granma house, I don’t complain. This the first time I sleep on clean sheets in weeks. Plenty perks come with living with Granma. For dinner, Granma got steam sausage and rice. I don’t have to warm up no Chef Boyardee. Granma got Rich Tea cookies to dip in Milo. I ain’t eat this good since I come back to Long Island.

The floor always sweep and mop. Dishes wash. I don’t have to fight dust bunnies to get through the door or brush roaches off cups full of soda and cigarette ash. Mind you, Granma don’t let me louse all day, but at least I’s the child again. Babou say he only gone for a little while. I almost wish he don’t come back.

I got company living with Granma. Rico and Glenn live in Petty’s. Sade right behind us. Her mummy and daddy don’t need no excuse to send her by Granma. I know she’ll be sleeping by me every night. Granma play like she mad, like giving Sade some sausage and rice breaking her pocket, but when dinner time come, she looking all round for Sade saying food getting cold. [...]

CLICK HERE for Alexia’s full short story at Granta.
CLICK HERE to read all the 2019 winning stories at Granta.


Issue 3 of Pree features Adam Patterson’s ‘soft-shell urchin soaking in the sun’, a concept sculpture for the performance, Bikkel, 2018.

Bahamian poets published in latest issue of Caribbean magazine

The poetry of two contemporary Bahamian writers appears in the third issue of Pree, a unique online magazine for new contemporary writing from and about the Caribbean, whose Editor-in-chief is Annie Paul, a writer and critic based at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she is founding editor of Small Axe, head of Publications at SALISES and managing editor of the journal Social and Economic Studies. Pree publishes original works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, interviews and experimental writing, giving authors international visibility far beyond the islands. Featured Bahamian writers are Tanicia Pratt and Maelynn Seymour-Major.

The theme of this issue is: #TheCaribbeanIsNotARealPlace which tells the stories of how we live in the surreal/unreal/hyper-real home we call the Caribbean. Issue three asks the questions: What is the Caribbean beyond the visage it presents to the world? The hyper-hospitality zone fringing each island, frantically signaling ‘come hither’ messages to mostly white visitors is rarely as hospitable to its own citizens. ‘Just another day in paradise,’ sings David Rudder in a cynical moment. But it’s a valid point: for whom does the Bird of Paradise bloom?

• • •

by Tanicia Pratt

it is the earth
the lime or reddish
soil we plow for nourishment.
it is the banana & sugar cane
a sweetness that seasons
our tongues.
it is the manners
the tank you’s or excuse me’s
it is the mornin’



in Grammy’s spirit, telling you
don’t talk to da v’oman in v’hite
it is buried faiths;
Obeah, Islam, Rastafari.
it is our feet
moving on our own time
because no place is more important than the grave.
it’s the death mark on Mummy’s leg.
& the fedora Uncle Lenny does wear
because it reminds him of when
we were dependent but rich.

it is the dream
that we can be autonomous.
it is not the sea, no,
it is the sand
& the cracks we often fall in between.


Tanicia Pratt

Tanicia Pratt is a millennial, Bahamian-Muslim poet based in Nassau, New Providence. Her writing naturally explores the cultural experiences of Caribbean women. She cares about human wellness, the environment, and cultural preservation. Her work has been featured in Write About Now, POUI, Transforming Spaces, NE8, and Double Dutch. Tanicia loves coffee + horror films + staying in bed on a rainy day.

• • •

by Maelynn Seymour Major

I am sitting
having coffee
across from a man
who says

You’re lucky
to be from Barbados:

strike one

The Bahamas
I gently correct

To swim in the sea
whenever you want
to eat fresh seafood
to live in such a tropical paradise
it must be like vacation every day:

strike two

He says this with excitement
as he imagines that if this coffee-date goes well
he will spend summers with me
running along the shore
holding hands
heads thrown back as we laugh
at some unknown joke

I think if this date goes well
and he makes it to home
meets my mother
who will have him hang curtains

in her family room because of his height

He will watch the news
with my father
hear the litany of jooking
shooting raping
and wonder where is that story sold

He will come eat conch salad
and truth be told
he has already said he is not culinarily adventurous
so he won’t like it
and I won’t like that:

strike three, imagined but no less real.


Maelynn Seymour-Major

Maelynn Seymour-Major began writing poetry about the flowers in her grammy’s garden. Her poetry is still heavily influenced by nature, but she also writes about Caribbean and/or Black experiences of love. Maelynn has an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal Holloway, University of London. She has taught Creative Writing at the University of The Bahamas as an Adjunct Lecturer. She experiments with book-arts, is an avid reader, and loves her dog Violet.

CLICK HERE to read full Issue 3 of Pree.


An Eric Minns celebration, a real Bahamian experience in Ontario

Ambasah- -Eric-in-the-park

Ambasah poses with Bahamian music legend, Eric Minns.

On Sunday July 14th, the City of Pickering, Ontario, put on a free concert in true Bahamian style as a part of their annual summer concert series.

The Esplanade Park Concert titled “An Eric Minns Celebration”, was a true Bahamian celebration honouring the life and contributions of Bahamian musician and songwriter Eric Minns. The concert included performances by Bahamian band Ambasah and The Bahamas Junkanoo Legends. Ambasah flew into Ontario from The Bahamas for the event. The band played selections from Eric’s musical library: a mix of jazz, pop, and a wide variety of Caribbean rhythms. The Bahamas Junkanoo Legends represent Bahamian culture through dance, drums, with various percussion and wind instruments.

Screen shot 2019-07-26 at 1.06.55 PM

Chris Justilien of Ambasah poses along with Eric Minns (in wheelchair) Mayor of Pickering Dave Ryan, Eric’s wife Laura, and a member of a local Junkanoo group.

Eric Minns was born in Nassau, The Bahamas and moved to Canada in 1950. Eric made his home here in Pickering in 1973. Early on, Eric found himself in the spotlight in comedy shows and then branched out to musician-singer as he began writing his own songs. Eric’s first hit song in the Bahamas was King Eric and His Knights’ recording of Fox-Hill Gal, which was an instant hit and received three Timothy Awards in 1976. Eric’s most famous song “Island Boy” was performed by Baha Men, in the movie My Father the Hero. Eric also received The Bahamas National Tourism Award in 1983 and a Bahamas Musicians & Entertainers Achievement Award in 1987.

During the event, guests enjoyed a rare glimpse of Eric’s artwork where he exchanged his pieces for donations, which will fund a future scholarship at the University of Bahamas’ Music Department.

This event was generously supported by the Bahamas Tourist Office Canada, the Bahamas High Commission Ottawa, in partnership with the City of Pickering.

CLICK HERE for more on Eric Minns.

Chan Pratt Painting closeup

Cacique Artist in the Spotlight: DC Pratt and the Chan Pratt Foundation

by Cacique International

Cacique International’s “Artist in the Spotlight” series is a journey into a thriving Bahamian art scene and a look at some of The Bahamas’ most exciting artists, pushing boundaries on island and around the world.

In this episode, Cacique is lucky enough to spend some time with Dewitt ‘DC’ Pratt among a 110-piece collection of his father’s, the romantic Bahamian painter Chan Pratt, whose works are now on display at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB).

• • •

Chan Pratt and Shawn Sawyer

Fond flames of summer by artist, Chan Pratt, through the eyes of his son - DC Pratt, shown here with Shawn Sawyer of Cacique International.

DC Pratt and Shawn

DC: I think he had an unmatched appreciation for the beauty of The Bahamas. He would capture all aspects of what made life here so special. My grandfather was a fisherman and so, as a result, my Dad and his brothers grew up on the water fostering a deep love and appreciation for the seascapes that feature so prominently in his work. As a child he wanted to be a farmer and eventually got into landscaping. His admiration for native flora and how it exists in our landscapes surfaced at an early age. From humble beginnings, my father and his family enjoyed the simplicity of island life which is evident in his depiction of traditional clapboard homes and calming island scenes.

S. I personally think that the greatest lesson to be learned from my Dad is to follow your passions. He went against all odds and obstacles to pursue his dream of being an artist. His family did not support his decision to move away from the corporate world and into his studio but he didn’t let that stop him. He had a calling and he didn’t let it go. He never listened to all the “noise.” Despite having no formal art education my Father became a successful master artist through hard work and dedication. I think everyone, young or old, can appreciate that. [...]

CLICK HERE for full interview at Cacique.


Part of the ‘NOT YOUR BAHAMA MAMA’ Series by Bahamian artist Jodi Minnis.

Putting things into perspective

by Kevanté A. C. Cash

Can we take a minute to reflect, to return to moments in childhood of being unjustly vilified by adults all in the name of superiority because adults “can never be wrong?” Compare that feeling you felt to those of whom may work in service-based industries where customers are supposedly never wrong… even when, sometimes, they may be. Imagine the disgrace one must endure for the sake of client satisfaction or a five-star rating. Imagine the same ignominy women must feel when they are thrown labels they must endure and wear proudly for the fulfilment of the male gaze. It is even more distasteful when these supposed compliments are coming from a touristic perspective. Words like “Bahama Mama” become double-fold and suddenly intolerable when they are taken out of the mouths of the people who have claimed it to be this powerful thing.

Research-based, multidisciplinary artist Jodi Minnis sought to investigate the layered meanings behind this time-worn Bahamian idiom in her new series of works, entitled “NOT YOUR BAHAMA MAMA”. She presented her findings at The Current’s latest gesture, “Conceptual Currency”, conceptualized by curatorial manager Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, last month.

“The ‘NOT YOUR BAHAMA MAMA’ series started as a response to the multidimensional meanings and connotations behind the phrase. Whether it was used as a term of exoticism, endearment or on racist iconography, I thought it important to highlight each facet and expose the audience to all of these layers,” Minnis said during her presentation.

She considers the weight of these words and also the likeness of people she holds dear to her, and compares and contrasts the two. “My grandmother was featured on the cover of a photo book by Sophia Whitehead titled ‘Bahama Mama’ and I found salt shakers fashioned like mammy archetypes with the words ‘Bahama Mama’ engraved on it, and that inspired a few things. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article in the Nassau Guardian.


Back to Angola Festival celebrates shared history of Bradenton, FL and The Bahamas

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The second annual Back to Angola Festival commemorates the shared history of Red Bays, Andros in The Bahamas with the Angola, FL community. (Herald-Tribune Staff Photo/Thomas Bender)

by Anna Bryson

In March, Mineral Springs Park was officially recognized as a stop on the Underground Railroad Network by the National Parks Services’ National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Daphney Towns, a native of The Bahamas, lived in Bradenton for 25 years before she knew that it was the land where her ancestors once lived.

The story taught in textbooks is that when slaves escaped their owners in the U.S. in the early 1800s, they went north to free states or to Canada. But researchers discovered that some of them went south, to Florida. Escaped slaves and Seminole Indians created a Maroon community along the Manatee River that became known as the Angola settlement.

Their colony of escaped slaves, at Manatee Mineral Springs, was an integral spot on the underground railroad, a network of safe places for escaped slaves from the South.

The Angola settlement existed from the early 1800s until 1821 when a Lower Creek Indian war party looted and burned their homes. Some of the survivors escaped to Red Bays, Bahamas, where their descendants still live today. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story at the Herald Tribune.

Related article:
“Festival celebrating history between Bradenton and The Bahamas prepares for second year...” – Bradenton Herald

NAGB Chelsea Pottery Plate

“Untitled (Nude Woman)” (1959), Produced at the Chelsea Pottery, ceramic, 8¼ diameter. (Part of the National Collection.)

From the NAGB Art Collection:

Chelsea Pottery

A Brief Bahamian History of Clay

by Natalie Willis

A beautifully formed piece of handmade ceramic work, produced at the Chelsea Pottery in Nassau in 1960, serves as a great point of departure for talking about some of our Bahamian art histories. Clay work, like drawing and painting, has a history almost as old as humanity itself. Our legacy of pottery here begins with the indigenous peoples of The Bahamas – the Arawaks, Lucayans, and Tainos. As Dr Erica M. James lays out in her key text on Bahamian art history in “Bahamian Modernism”, our background of creative visual culture is much richer and varied than we tend to hear about.

These nomadic and remarkably ingenious peoples carried pottery with them from South America until they reached our limestone archipelago around 500-800 AD. After that, the Spanish and British and even the French who settled in the Abacos in the 1500s would have brought with them their various styles of earthenware vessels. From colonialism to modern capitalism, clay goods have long been used to mark the presence and development of different societies.

Some might be complacent in thinking that our history begins and ends with slavery and colonialism – and while it has been perhaps the most momentous and impactful part of our history, the route from the first wave of colonialism with the Spanish and Christopher Columbus, the various attempts by other Europeans after that, British subjugation and slavery, is by no means the start or end of our story. [...]

CLICK HERE for full text at the NAGB.




The Place for Art presents:
Nassau’s Biggest Picture Framing Sale

Returning August 2019, The Place for Art framing centre at 20 Village Road will be offering great discounts for the entire month in their custom framing services.

• 1, 2, or 3 items receive a 15% discount
• 4 or more items receive a 20% discount

Discounts will be offered on custom framing only. For more information, feel free to call at 393-8834 or visit them on Facebook or Instagram.

CLICK HERE to visit The Place for Art FB page.


NAGB issues Job Call

For Gallery Store Manager and Accountant

NAGB Job Call Store Manager Square-1

Deadline for applications: Monday, July 29th, 2019

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is seeking a candidate for a full-time Store Manager and Accountant position. The opportunity is suitable for a personable and professional individual with great attention to detail and excellent communication skills.

The duties of the Store Manager and Accountant will include overseeing the store, in terms of organising the merchandise and tracking inventory, monitoring and organising store staff, interacting with visitors, selling tickets and answering general questions about the NAGB and its exhibitions. The candidate will make recommendations to seasonal themes and bring new ideas to make the Mixed Media Museum Store a shopping destination for visitors and locals. [...]

CLICK HERE for full details and submission requirements.


Sherwin-Williams 20-30% off Art Supplies

Sherwin-Williams Bahamas is having a 20%–30% off art supplies clearance sale of their Bahamian Paint stock. Sale takes place at their new Sherwin-Williams Bahamas Superstore on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway (the old Bahamian Paint building).

CLICK HERE for Sherwin-Williams Facebook page.

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art news from the region
and around the world


Behind the exhibition aiming to move Caribbean art ‘away from trauma’

In The Other Side of Now, 14 young artists are looking to the future of the region rather than focusing on the past.

Sheena Rose Afros

Portraits from Barbados artist Sheena Rose show women with afros standing together in regal poses. (Photo: Amery Butcher/Courtesy of Sheena Rose)

by Nadja Sayej

“Is it possible to move Caribbean art, or art of the Caribbean diaspora, away from trauma and catastrophe?” asks María Elena Ortiz, who has co-curated a new exhibition tasked with doing just this, focusing on the future rather than the rocky, colonial past.

Working alongside Marsha Pearce, Ortiz has constructed The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art, which showcases the works of 14 artists at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, opening this week.

The artists in the exhibition, mostly young, hailing from the English, French, Dutch and Spanish-speaking islands, all look to questions regarding the future of the region.

“I’m a black Latina born and raised in Puerto Rico, I curate work I identify with,” said Oritz. “There are so many great artists in the Caribbean; the goal was to include other voices in the conversation. If we have this platform, why not use it to support the work of young artists?”

One of the main questions behind the exhibit is how to think about the future of the Caribbean in present day. “Not tomorrow,” adds Ortiz. [...]

CLICK HERE to read full article in The Guardian.

Sarah Vaughn-EbonyArchive

The singer Sarah Vaughan with Don Blake, an NBC cameraman, at New York’s Birdland Jazz Club in December 1954. (Credit: G. Marshall Wilson/Johnson Publishing Company)

A last look at Ebony’s archives, before they’re sold

The most significant collection of photographs depicting African-American life in the 20th century is being auctioned. Historians fear the archive could end up hidden away.

by Julie Bosman

For months, a stream of visitors — curious, cultured and deep-pocketed — have slipped into a drab brick warehouse on the West Side of Chicago. They have been escorted upstairs in a creaky elevator to a windowless room and handed blue gloves to wear.

Then they have lingered for hours or days over the most significant collection of photographs depicting African-American life in the 20th century.

In one folder, there is Coretta Scott King, cradling her daughter Bernice from a pew at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. In another, Billie Holiday stands on a city sidewalk with a cigarette and a faraway expression. One box holds a black-and-white print of Ray Charles hanging out with a Chicago nightclub owner and playing dominoes, as the typewritten caption noted, “by feel.”

This week, one of the visitors to the warehouse could walk away with it all: the entire photo archive from Ebony and Jet, the iconic sister magazines. The collection of photographs, more than four million prints and negatives, will be offered at an auction on Wednesday conducted privately at a law firm downtown. [...]

CLICK HERE for full story in the New York Times.


Nyugen Smith, Bundlehouse: Borderlines No.4 (Sint Maricotín), 2017. COURTESY THE ARTIST

Pérez Art Museum in Miami receives $1m gift for Caribbean Cultural Institute

by Alex Greenberger

The Pérez Art Museum Miami has been given a $1 million gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a New York-based organization that regularly offers funding to arts institutions across the United States. The Mellon gift will be put toward the institution’s newly formed Caribbean Cultural Institute, which is intended to promote the research and exhibition of work by artists from the Caribbean and its diaspora.

“It’s something that is in our DNA, and we’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Franklin Sirmans, PAMM’s director, told ARTnews. “Now we’re really going to be able to move the dial.” He called the institute “an extended thinktank,” and said it is intended to further interest in emergent themes in art of the region. [...]

CLICK HERE for full article at Art News.

JA Culture Minister  Olivia Grange

Jamaica Culture Minister, Olivia Grange (File photo)

Jamaica going after artefacts

Jamaica is seeking to recover artefacts that are being held in other countries.

Culture Minister, Olivia Grange, explained that during early archaeological digs when Jamaica was still a British colony several artefacts were taken from the island.

Grange said among them was the Taíno piece called ‘bird man’ — which was carved from a solid piece of heavy and dark wood. There is also ‘Boinayel’ the Rain Giver, an important god of the Taíno.

Grange, who was making her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, said that these pieces, and many others that have also been identified, are with the British Museum.

“They are not even on display. They are priceless, they are significant to the story of Jamaica, and they belong to the people of Jamaica. We are working—through the National Council on Reparations—to have them returned,” she said.

“At the same time, we have located several films—that tell the story of the development of our nation—in databases overseas. They belong to us and I have put a team to work along with Chappy St Juste on repatriating them,” Grange continued.

CLICK HERE for story at The Jamaica Gleaner.

martinique woman ca 1890

PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN, “Martinique Woman,” ca 1890 (albumen print, 15.24 cm x 20.32 cm). | Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs. * Purchase 2019, with funds from 27 donors

Art Gallery of Ontario’s acquires 3,500 historic Caribbean photographs

by Victoria L. Valentine

A new acquisition has enriched both the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the communities it serves. Presented with the opportunity to help the Toronto museum acquire more than 3,500 historic photographs, members of the local black and Caribbean communities stepped up, helping to raise $300,000.

The largesse of 27 donors made possible the AGO’s acquisition of The Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs through a gift/purchase arrangement, announced June 5. Spanning a century, the vast collection dates from 1840 to 1940, documenting the region and its people following the abolishment of slavery. The images provide a visual record of the period and the changing economic, political, and cultural environment.

Thirty-four countries are represented, including 23 across the Caribbean—Jamaica, Barbados, Martinique, and Trinidad and Tobago, among them—in addition to nations such as Colombia and Venezuela.

AGO describes the collection as the largest of its kind outside the Caribbean. Comprised of prints, albums, postcards, daguerreotypes, lantern slides, and stereographs, the collection was assembled over the past decade by Patrick Montgomery, a New York-based filmmaker, photography collector, and archivist. [...]

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Smith & Benjamin’s Bahamian Art & Culture eMagazine

Art & Culture were created to
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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.

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