Master Artists of The Bahamas Opens In Tallahassee

By in News on September 18, 2012

Almost one year ago, the largest collection of Bahamian visual artists’ work was displayed at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in a historic moment for Bahamian art and culture.

After a successful reception by the audiences in Iowa, “Master Artists of The Bahamas” has traveled across states to Tallahassee, Florida to open at the Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA) at Florida State University.

The exhibition, featuring over 40 pieces of artwork by eleven Bahamian artists, will reach a diverse audience of students and art lovers from the university and wider community.

Director of the MoFA Allys Palladino-Craig says “Master Artists of The Bahamas” is a perfect fit for the MoFA, which usually begins its year with an international exhibition.

Photos: “Master Artists of The Bahamas” at the Museum of Fine Art at Florida State University features over 40 pieces of artwork by eleven Bahamian artists. COURTESY OF MOFA

“The exhibition not only gives us the opportunity to show more works from beyond the borders of the U.S., but to see exceptional works in a range of media,” said Palladino-Craig.

“Florida has a reputation in the states as a tourist destination or as an exotic landscape, at least to those from the more northerly or drier western states, but in Florida, we are used to our geography and tend to think of the tropical Bahamas as much more exotic and exciting than our setting in Tallahassee.”

She also points out that with its balance of traditional imagery and contemporary experimentation, “Master Artists of The Bahamas” is poised to both satisfy and expand preconceptions about Bahamian art.

Combined with rigorous academic programming and screenings of the “Artists of The Bahamas” films made by Karen Arthur and Tom Neuwirth, the exhibition will broaden international understanding and appreciation for creative culture in The Bahamas.

“Before our visitors open the doors to the museum, they might have preconceptions about Bahamian artists’ imagery,” said Palladino-Craig. “The exhibition not only comforts those who love the traditional lush landscape imagery that they hope to find, but it surprises and educates viewers because there is a great range in the statements by individual artists.”

It was Karen Arthur and Tom Neuwirth’s film, “Artists of The Bahamas” which originally sparked in Waterloo Center for the Arts Director Cammie Scully a desire to hold an exhibition of the Bahamian art they documented.

“Artists of The Bahamas”, which premiered in the 2008 Bahamas International Film Festival season, takes a look at the lives, inspiration and work by late Bahamian greats Amos Ferguson, Brent Malone and Jackson Burnside, along with Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith, Eddie Minnis, John Beadle, John Cox, Kendal Hanna, Max Taylor and Stan Burnside.

The exhibition’s existence has been a combined effort between the Museum of Fine Art at Florida State University, the Waterloo Center for the Arts; the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas; the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; the previous United States Ambassador Nicole A. Avant and Bahamian coordinator Pam Burnside.

“A museum can’t exist without its friends and colleagues, so we are particularly indebted to the generosity of the Waterloo Art Center in Iowa for touring this important exhibition,” said Palladino-Craig.

“We are also grateful to Pam Burnside for her inspiring work,” she added. “And I’d like to send best wishes to the artists whose works fill the museum with celebration of the Bahamian culture.”

“Master Artists of The Bahamas” will run until November 11. For more about the Museum of Fine Art at Florida State University, visit

Sonia Farmer,
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012

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