Artist, Sue Katz-Lightbourn’s Bahamian scenes splash expectations of sun, sand and smiles’ onto passengers, fresh off their flights.
Awash in vivid color, the 28 panels hang in the arrivals section of the new Lynden Pindling International Airport, assuring visitors that what they may have imagined does exist within these sunny isles.
“It’s the first thing people are going to see when they’re coming into the country, so I wanted it to be exciting. I wanted it to be vibrant, bold,” said the artist.
One of four local artists selected to create large-scale artworks for the new airport, Lightbourn joined colleagues Nicole Sweeting, John Cox and John Beadle in producing the vision of a terminal as identifiable with the country as its attractions.
The pieces were unveiled at an opening reception held at the airport at the end of February.
Lightbourn’s Bahamian scenes read like a cinematic reel of tropical paradise. Hibiscus flowers radiate from one panel; Junkanoo vibrates within another; and fish glisten in brilliant blue ocean. In a bid to not only show visitors what they may have expected on their trip to The Bahamas, she threw in a few surprises peculiar to the destination.
“People know about the hibiscus and they know about the conch shells, but people might not know about the potcakes or the Police Force Band,” said the artist.
For the viewer who takes a closer look at the 24 x 24 inch panels, one more surprise comes to light. The pieces, which can appear to be paintings at a distance, are actually collages. Lightbourn, who is originally from Boston and worked as an illustrator there, chiefly works in collage.
“Some of the stuff is actual clippings from magazines,” she said. “Some of the paper I actually painted myself and then glued it on, because the surface was so big that I needed a lot of paper to cover the areas. So I would paint paper myself and then sort of work into it, and then tear it up and cut it up.”
She satisfied her own deadline for the project, spending the eight-month timeframe making two pieces per week.
The artist, who has lived in The Bahamas with her family for the past 21 years, naturally incorporated her perspective as an American who has made the country her home into her pieces.
“I really have my own view of what The Bahamas is after living here for all this time. Things that have inspired me over the years, I’ve put into these pieces, like the colors, the excitement of what I feel The Bahamas offers,” she said.
Proud of the lasting tribute to the islands she has produced, Lightbourn said: “It’s been’a great experience. I’m kind of sad it’s over.”
The Nassau Guardian