Bahamian artist Dede Brown took home the winning prize last week for her photographic rendering “Absolut Party”, at an exhibition featuring Absolute Vodka inspired art pieces.
Burns House Group and Absolut Vodka partnered with the National Art Gallery and D’Aguilar Art Foundation to present the Absolut Art Ambition event.
Dede’s image depicts an Absolut Vodka bottle surrounded by an array of coloured balloons, tied with a silver ribbon. The bottle and balloons are backlit by two spot lights, which cast the bottle in a festive atmosphere.
“I wanted to literally float the Absolut bottle in the air with balloons, and display it in the gallery,” said Dede, describing her original concept for an installation piece.
“Unfortunately, it required over 4 dozen balloons and would have been two big to fit in the gallery space. I then started taking photographs of the balloons while they were still floating above the bottle. These images just didn’t capture the essence of a party. It was too posed and the lighting was not working for me,” she said.
“I chose ‘Absolut Party’ because I wanted to create a fun and eye catching image that was in-keeping with the Absolut campaign and if possible, of the same quality in terms of technique and effectiveness – this was the challenging part. So it was important for me to think about the product, reflect and seek inspiration from several of the existing Absolut images that I have seen on the internet and in magazines in order to achieve a high, quality image,” she told Tribune Arts.
From the 1980’s Absolut Vodka has hosted art exhibitions, featuring the work of various artists. This was the first time the exhibition was held in the Bahamas, said Cruz Adderley, Absolut brand manager at Burns House Group.
Dede’s painting will be featured in the Absolut Vodka’s ad campaign locally. She also received a $1000 cheque. There is also a possibility for the photograph to be recognised internationally,” Mr Adderley said.
Though not the winning piece, Lisa Wells submitted an intriguing photograph entitled “Absolut Obeah – Catch the Spirit”. The photograph depicted three empty Absolut bottles, hanging from the branches of a dead tree, against a foreboding blue sky.
“One of the rituals of Obeah is to hang bottles in trees to catch the spirits. Absolut vodka is a spirit and the bottles in the trees suggest that viewers catch the spirit by getting some Absolut,” said Ms Wells.
“It was a fun event and certainly brought awareness to the brand. The diversity of artistic concepts in a variety of mediums was very interesting,” she said.
Artist Katrina Cartwright created a sculpted piece, Absolut Deconstruction, using clay, wire mesh and a metal platter. Her work took on the form of an over-sized vodka bottle with a grid-like pattern carved into the surface. Parts of the surface were cut out and placed around the bottle to give the impression of fallen debris, making the underlying wire mesh visible through the gapes, explained the artist.
Although the exhibit presented a challenge she said she enjoyed the entire experience.
“All of the participating artists approached the challenge from very different angles, making the experience an entertaining, sometimes thought provoking one.”
Proceeds from the event were donated to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.
By Jeffarah Gibson
Art and Entertainment
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012