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Exnihilo Blog
Out Of Nothing Preview Exhibition

Something new and exciting is happening in The Bahamas. The sun, sand and sea are stunning as ever, but in recent years a new wind of creativity has begun to reshape the landscape of this island country.

The explosion of tourism in the 1960s compelled artists to limit their output to what would quickly sell, causing traditional craft and fine art to spiral toward the predictable. After independence from England in 1973, a lively conversation exploring what it means to be Bahamian ensued. Realizing that artists play a significant role in nation building, Parliament established The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in 1996. NAGB officially opened in a beautifully restored 1860s mansion in Nassau in 2003.

With a new home for contemporary Bahamian art, the “pretty picture” days are giving way to a new era. Fresh voices are exploring diverse subject matter, and in the process are becoming recognized around the world. This show features work of some of the most important of those voices, including several who are in the permanent collection of NAGB.

The works in this exhibit will be auctioned March 17. Proceeds will support the establishment of the Exnihilo Art Center in Nassau and create a scholarship fund for emerging Bahamian artists.

 

Out Of Nothing
The Preview Exhibition

February 28-March 15
Glen Echo Park Popcorn Gallery
7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Gallery Hours noon - 6pm Saturday & Sunday

 

Artists:

Oramae Pinder

Giavanna Swaby

April Bey

Maxwell Taylor

Toby Lunn

Sue Katz

Heino Schmid

Katrina Cartwright

Michael Edwards

 
Event Downtown DC

Checked out this amazing venue for our Out Of Nothing Party and Art Auction. Such a cool building will show off the lovely works by the fantastic Bahamian artists!


JOIN US
Tuesday, March 17
6PM - 8PM
FOR AN EVENING
At District Architecture Center
421 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
SO YOU CAN
• Sample Bahamian Deliciousness • Enjoy Live Music
• Win Prizes • Bid In The Auction Of Original Art

ExnihiloArtCenter Tickets

Already know you don't want to miss the party?
Get your tickets now!

 
Panel Discussion DC
Written by Blair Anderson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00

I attended a lively panel discussion this Wednesday about the development of contemporary art in the Caribbean. The panel was comprised of artists currently showing at Transformer Gallery in DC. The exhibition is made up of primarily artists from Jamaica, but the discussion revolved around the current trends and limitations for Caribbean artists in general, one being the heavy tendency to cater to the tourism industry. Younger artists are finding a new voice that pushes against this trend and are struggling to get a footing.

Of great interest to me in terms of Exnihilo is the need for support in this region in the form of residencies. The number of residencies in the region is four.

Yea. Four. That's it. And all of them are tiny off-shoots from artist's personal studios.

There is this groundswell of expression in this region that has so much potential, and yet needs support. It was also very clear that another limitation is the very governments of these countries. A common thread seems to be the lack of understanding of contemporary art with the continued focus on themes of tourism that continue to serve up a misconception of these cultures while hindering the true artistic voice. "Tropicalization" was one of the defining words for this. Representational images that romanticize these regions are popularized and continue to sell either commercially or in private collections.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 11:18
 
Always more than planned
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 11:02

The month of April took Bryan and I back down to the islands for a whirlwind trip with the promise of meeting a few key people in the arts of The Bahamas.

We got more than we bargained for.

Our hope was to continue to gain insight into a community that we truly desire to be a part of but are sensitive to the fact that being non-Bahamians, we will always be somewhat on the "outside".

Boy was I wrong. These are the most welcoming people on the planet.

After hearing about the Transforming Spaces show, a collection of seven galleries showing the best of Bahamian (and Caribbean) art, Bryan and I hopped on a plane two days later. Getting off the plane and checking into a hotel, we barely made it to the artists' talk and presentation at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Slipping into the back of the darkened room we began to understand why it was so important that we be there. Not only was the work of most of these artists being shown, but most of them were in the room.

The panel consisted of three contemporary Bahamian artists as well as the Director of the NAGB, Amanda Coulson, who was one of the people we hoped to meet. The other individual who presented was artist, John Cox, the newly appointed Creative Director to Baha Mar.

After the lectures Bryan and I managed our way through the crowd and introduced ourselves to both, with a promise of a future meeting later in the week. Both of these generous people took time out of their crazy busy schedules to meet with us and discuss how the Exnihilo Art Center fit into the whole of the Bahamian landscape with the most exciting promise of integrating our programs once the buildings are up.

The rest of the week followed with meeting more people, including the wonderful and gracious Pam Burnside, widow of Jackson Burnside. Each day followed in rapid succession as we interviewed and filmed 15 different artists, educators, film makers, and curators about their work, and how Exnihilo could play a part. Although I thought we might get a "day at the beach", it never happened. You know when one of the wait staff at your hotel says, "wow you people work really hard", that you have made great use of every minute. Even if I didn't get to put a toe in the water!

What does this all mean for Exnihilo? We continue to develop the mission while forging new friendships to help carve out a place where Exnihilo Art Center will make a difference. It is our hope that we can truly be part of the island family.

Pic at bottom: L-R Blair Anderson, Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, John Cox, Creative Director for Baha Mar. Blair on a sculpture at Transforming Spaces.

L-R Blair Anderson, Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, John Cox, Creative Director for Baha Mar.


 
A trip to see the best art in The Bahamas
Written by Blair Anderson   

This month we had the chance to take the plunge into the exciting things that are happening with art in The Bahamas. Bryan and I traveled to Nassau to view "Transforming Spaces", a multi-gallery tour in its 10th anniversary year of showing great Bahamian art. This year the artists followed the theme of water to give the seven galleries a cohesion that seemed to elevate the individual pieces into a collective whole.

Bryan and I were pleasantly surprised to find contemporary art alive and thriving here. No more paintings of sea shells, lion fish, and happy representational beach scenes. More provocative images and sculptures were the norm. A vibrant new emerging group as well as the artists that paved the way for them were represented.

 
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