Funky Nassau - Recovering an Identity
Opened: Saturday, March 18 2006, 5 to 8 pm
John Beadle / Dionne Benjamin-Smith / Lillian Blades / John Cox / Blue Curry / Michael Patrick Edwards / Antonius Roberts / Heino Schmid / Clive Stuart .
Curator: Amanda Coulson
Sacred Space recreated in Germany
as part of the Funky Nassau exhibition
The image most foreigners have of The Bahamas is that of an island paradise. Its history, though, is not so tranquil, marred by piracy, slavery, and occupation; of different nations claiming its lands, of a struggle for eventual independence to assert an identity of its own.
The Bahamas today still presents many dichotomies. The capital city on New Providence Island is the seat of a nation independent since 1973, while its name—Nassau—is a reminder that it was subjugated to the British (named after King William III of Orange-Nassau). The historical sites and customs are still very bound to its former status as a British colony, while its proximity and dependence on the United States have led to an increasing cultural Americanization. While poverty is still a problem, a booming middle class has allowed for a new generation to go to college abroad and to take a more active interest in their cultural identity.
In the arts, the simplistic characterization of the islands as a haven of peace and tranquillity has always been accentuated. Historical ex-patriot artists, such as Winslow Homer and Albert Bierstadt, immortalized the sandy landscapes; later local artists, out of financial necessity, followed suit, making fine decorative landscapes or genre paintings for the tourists. Such stereotyped images have lead to the marginalization of Bahamian artists on an international platform.
Today, supported by the establishment of the National Gallery of the Bahamas in Nassau, a new generation of local artists is breaking away from the centuries old clichés, struggling to identify, question, and explain their own and their nation’s identity. Shunning traditional Bahamian themes, they are exploring social issues and presenting the islands in a way never before encountered by an international audience.
This new movement is lead by John Beadle, Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Lillian Blades, John Cox, Blue Curry, Michael Patrick Edwards, Antonius Roberts, Heino Schmidt and Clive Stuart who will show their word from March 19 to April 30 in the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden.
By: Amanda Coulson
In Cooperation with the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
NASPA is main sponsor
The exhibition forms part of the series PERSPECTIVES OF THE FUTURE. The Naspa is the exclusive presenter of this series. PERSPECTIVES OF THE FUTURE is a continuing series on socially relevant artistic visions of the future. Questions of the time are examined in various exhibition projects. The Nassauischer Kunstverein Museum and the Nassauische Sparkasse would like to give an impulse for critical and exceptional debate on future visions and social development.