Empty Bowls Charity Full Of Art & Culture

By in News on February 24, 2012

As in its previous three years, in exchange for a small donation of $15, guests not only receive a delicious meal of Bahamian soup and a beautiful handcrafted keepsake in the form of a ceramic bowl – as well as a bread roll and a cup of fevergrass (lemongrass) tea – but also the satisfaction that they are working together with other Bahamians to fight a growing hunger problem in the country.

Originally conceived by John Harton, a teacher in Bloomfiled, MT, the Empty Bowls charity event has spread to communities fighting hunger all over the world – including The Bahamas.

“Everyone has their own version of Empty Bowls – ours takes on a Bahamian flavor,” says Joann Behagg, who worked with a committee to bring the event to The Bahamas. “We’re promoting Bahamian culture through the arts. We’re trying to make people aware of things that are Bahamian so that we’re not downplaying our culture.”

Indeed the afternoon will be about all things Bahamian – this year they’re spotlighting Bahamian culinary delights by serving up such native staples as chicken souse, peas soup and dumpling, conch chowder, okra soup and pumpkin soup, as well as native fevergrass tea.

They will be served in handmade bowls – by such local ceramicists as Joann Behagg, Nadia Smith, Alistair Stevenson, Katrina Cartwright, Neko Meicholas and Robert Pennerman – which guests can keep as a thanks for their donation.

This year, the committee has even been speaking to local schools about their mission, bringing on student volunteers to create bowls for the event as well.

Yet that’s not all the event has in store – besides celebrating culinary arts and visual arts, the charity event will have donated artwork on sale by such local artists as Rosemarie Laing, Danderia Bethel, Kennel Augustine and Don Russel, and will celebrate the performing arts with such local sensations as Jazz Etc, Nicolasena Davis Carter, Sonovia Pierre, and the National Children’s Choir.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the Great Commission Ministries International who work to feed many hungry Bahamians each day with filling and nutritious meals. Whereas in a previous year their donations have also gone towards providing relief to post-earthquake Haiti, this year the proceeds will go toward buying materials to donate to Family Island communities still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irene.

Behagg points out that the event is a chance for artists to use their talents to benefit the community.

“Artists can give and artists can make other people aware of the needs of the community through their giving,” she says. “Through their efforts people not only see their work but also see that they have a heart, a conscience, and that they’re willing to share their talent with other people.”

“This event allows us to share our talents with our fellow Bahamians and make them aware that what you have is not just yours, it was given to you by your Father, and therefore he is asking you to help people who are in need – and people who are in need are hungry in our country.”

Empty Bowls Charity Event is free to attend and will take place February 26, 1 p.m.- 6 p.m. at Queen’s College on Village Road. To place an order for tickets for bowls and soup at $15 per person, call 327-8109 – though they will also be available at the door.

Sonia Farmer
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, February 17, 2012

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