Contemporary Bahamian Art Today

By in News on July 10, 2012

I Keep Them Where They Can Be Found by Gio Swaby

What does 39 years as an independent nation mean for Bahamian visual art? What are the artists of today exploring in their artistic practices, and how are they exploring it?

At the Central Bank’s Invitational, opening this coming Thursday night, 10 artists offer insight into the landscape of Bahamian contemporary art. These artists – Antonius Roberts, Malcolm Rae, Kendal Hanna, Michael Edwards, Dylan Rapillard, Margot Bethel, Toby Lunn, Giovanna Swaby, Kachelle Knowles and Steven Schmid – range in age from 20 to 76, offering a wide-cross section of perspectives in a small sampling of current studio practices in the nation’s capital.

“I was interested in process and I think when you’re at different points in your career, you approach your work in the medium you’re working in differently,” said curator Heino Schmid.

“As an artist, I have always been fascinated with any opportunity to address another artist’s process and highlight those investigations publicly for further dialogue.”

Despite the disparate range of participating artists, the exhibitions flows beautifully through the sampling of artistic processes and media, from both first-time artists exhibiting in the space to artists who work have frequented the space.

With the Central Bank’s history of supporting local artists through gallery shows in their building, the space is perfect for the show’s purpose, allowing for connections to be made between the abstract expressions of Kendal Hanna, Toby Lunn and Michael Edwards, as well as surrealist mixed-media explorations by emerging artists such as Giovanna Swaby, Steven Schmid and Kachelle Knowles, providing interesting visual dynamics in a post neo-impressionist and neo-realist centered Bahamian art world.

Indeed, if anything, the exhibition is a reflection of manifestations of independent thinking by artists practicing in an independent nation, says Schmid.

“Doing an exhibition this way is a bit of a gamble but I felt strongly that it being Independence month, that independent thinking was a valid way of presenting work,” he said.

“I wanted to see what the response would be – if next year, we could push it a little further and invite more people to do more work in this space for the grand 40 year Independence,” he continued.

“But overall I hope people sensitize themselves a little bit to the idea of these little glimpses into these 10 artists’ independent thinking. For these 10 artists to show what they’re working on in their studio I think is something to really embrace. I hope audiences like what they see and look forward to seeing work by their favorites from the show in future exhibitions.”

The 2012 Invitational at The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery opens to the public Thursday, July 12, from 6 to 9pm and will remain open to the public until July 31, during the week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sonia Farmer
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, July 7, 2012

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