For almost 30 years the Annual Art Competition and Exhibition by the Central Bank of The Bahamas has been a venue for aspiring professional artists in high school and beyond to present their very best to the public, and now Curator of the Central Bank Art Gallery Curator Heino Schmid plans to raise the bar.
For the Open Category, artists between the ages of 18-35 are still invited to submit one piece of work in any medium until the September 21st deadline under the theme “Redefining the Landscape”.
The theme is a nudge to the 2010 topic, “Redefining the Portrait” that produced a dynamic exhibition of local work engaging with the history of portraiture in art. Schmid hopes that this presents the right challenge to push artists out of the rut of last year’s theme “So So Beautiful” and return to the same energy presented in the first themed year.
“Landscape, like portraiture, has a very specific lineage in art history and for me, that was important to include,” he said. “No matter what comes out of it, you can align it with past ideas about landscape in art history globally and locally which I think is important when you think about the work as a whole. That wasn’t really possible with last year’s theme which I think stumped people.”
“Plus, landscape doesn’t have to be a very direct subject either it can be metaphorical landscape, an emotional landscape, a political landscape,” he added. “There are options to navigate that.”
“Be ambitious in the work that you make not necessarily in scale, but in terms of for the work you’re presenting to the public. It’s part of a bigger conversation.”
Indeed, for artists entering the competition, though all work entered for the open category will be considered by the judges for the grand prize of $7,500 and a solo art show in the Central Bank Art Gallery, the biggest change this year will come during the exhibition opening on October 3, where the judges and Schmid himself will select only the most compelling pieces for display a big change from previous years where every single piece entered into the competition would be on display for the public to see.
This decision, says Schmid, comes after careful consideration about the role the Central Bank can play in the contemporary arts landscape in Nassau. Once considered, one of the very few spaces to exhibit art in Nassau, the gallery now makes up a growing collection of downtown art spaces in Nassau that collectively push the boundaries of contemporary art and such a space needs to present a more cohesive collection of work on its walls.
For that reason, Schmid separated the Annual Art Competition into two categories open and high school and presented a theme to the open category in order to edit the scattered display of work. Yet more needs to be done to keep the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery a dynamic contributor to the collective conversation about local contemporary art, says Schmid.
“I think the community is different now—people want exhibitions that are a little bit more challenging, and I think the public and artists working to put on a group exhibition—deserve that,” he said. “I’m hoping we can raise the bar.”
“I would suggest if anybody feels slighted to come to me about doing an exhibition themselves,” he added.
“As long as you can fill the space and fulfill your commitments and the potential is there in the work, then approach me. I don’t mind that. The competition might not be the best avenue for amateur artists to show work for the first time it’s meant to be a little more professional.”
Meanwhile, in the high school category which has no theme the Central Bank continues its commitment to young artists displaying talent in the visual arts.
Students in secondary schools are encouraged to submit three pieces of work in drawing, painting, print, collage, sculpture or other pictorial representation to the Central Bank by the October 26 deadline for the November 14 opening.
Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place range from $350-$700, and pieces will also be considered for honorable mentions, a Most Outstanding Sculpture Award, the Governor’s Choice Award (chosen by Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas Wendy Craigg), the 14-And-Under Award and Special Scholarship Award to students hoping to pursue art studies at The College of The Bahamas.
The high school category is almost always a dynamic collection of work with impressive still life studies and pieces that directly engage with contemporary social issues. Schmid says the Central Bank of The Bahamas will continue to foster that caliber of creative expression in the up-and-coming artists of The Bahamas.
“This is the flagship public event for the Central Bank this is our big gesture to the community at large,” he said. “It’s a significant investment by the bank to encourage younger people. I think these kinds of things allow for someone who is thinking of become a professional visual thinker the opportunity to put themselves out there.”
“It’s a gift from the bank in some regard but it’s also a young person accepting the responsibility of putting their work out there that they can’t take back, and I think that is something that needs encouraging.”
For more about the rules and regulations for the 29th Annual Art Competition and Exhibition by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and to download an entry form, find it under “Galleries” on their webpage at www.centralbankbahamas.com.
To contact Schmid, search for Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery on Facebook and Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nassau Guardian
Published: Saturday, August 25, 2012