Nassau, Bahamas – If you participated in the annual Transforming Spaces tour April 2nd and 3rd then the chances are that you experienced something well, transformational. The tour is known for the quality of the exhibitions this year was no exception. Antonius Roberts’ exhibit ‘Faces of Familiar Strangers’ at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation did not disappoint. Meanwhile, The ‘Dreaming’ show at New Providence Art and featured artists such as Jace McKinney and Kishan Munroe, who, along with the group of young talent featured in ‘Dreaming’, continue to push the boundaries of artistic expression.
This year, Transforming Spaces featured younger artists in the ‘Pipes and Bodies’ installation at the Pro Gallery at The College of The Bahamas and the ‘Place Image Here’ at Popop Studios International Center for the Visual Arts. Exhibits such as ‘Waste’ at Doongalik Studios and Heino Schmid’s solo exhibition, ‘Equilibrium II’ at The Hub featured more established artists but one could speculate that there were more risks taken than in the past. Generally, the artwork was inspirational, bold and showed the emergence of a creative mindset creating a new era in Bahamian art and establishing itself in the face of traditional expectations. The exhibits were not passive. In fact, they encouraged conversation with the viewer or, in some cases, the participant. One willingly become challenged and engaged in this multi-sensory dance.
There seemed to be some parallels between the increased risk taking art on the tour and the evolution of the Bahamian art industry, as described by the tour guide for Saturday’s orange bus, John Cox. An artist and lecturer at C.O.B., Cox noted that an increasing number of student artists are interested in not just producing art but also in arts curating and arts management.
There are three important points that Transforming Spaces illustrates. Firstly, contrary to popular opinion, creative businesses, especially those which are service based, do not have to only rely on tourist dollars. The growing amount of support that Transforming Spaces receives each year shows that the local market is an important component to the success of a viable creative economy. Secondly, members of our creative community understand that they have some local support. This translates into a willingness to take more risks, to offend and explore and probe using art and design. Lastly, younger artists are interested in moving beyond the traditional role of the artist as producer to the broader role of the artist as manager, an important catalyst the valuation of the art. Surely, these trends are an indication of the maturation of our creative intellect and a positive direction in strengthening our creative economy.
Upward and onward, then. Upward and onward.
By The Method Group