SALT AND EARTH: Shacqeel Coleby, Dyah Neilson and Omar Williams


Salt and Earth

Shacqueel Coleby, Dyah Neilson and Omar Williams

Open 5th May – 16th June 2022

The D’Aguilar Art Foundation is delighted to present Salt and Earth, a collaborative exhibition featuring Shacqeel Coleby, Dyah Neilson and Omar Williams.

The exhibition brings together artists that use symbols from The Bahamian landscape to reveal intricate stories about self, Bahamian lore and spirit.

Coleby and Neilson’s works feature fictional figures surrounded by a cornucopia of flora and fauna that weave together a these narratives – symbols like birds, shells and plants remind us of spirits, freedom, and the ancestors. While Coleby’s work arises from community stories and Neilson’s works are more personal, they both use these symbols from the Caribbean landscape to connect nature and the divine.Coleby pulls characters from Caribbean Folklore like John Canoe and the Gaulin Wife and self-made lore about “painted ladies” and reimagines them in a graphic landscape. Neilson’s all-female characters appear to live in the ocean, as part-human part-spirit. The ocean acts as a container for their psychological landscape -- the fish and birds offer clues to external stories or spirits that inhabit this space.Williams, a florist by trade, specializing in local plants, creates arrangements that respond to Coleby and Neilsons work. William’s installations will bring the symbolism from the canvas for us to experience in real time.

These theatrical works are intended to hold the viewers’ attention so that we can examine the layers of symbols and ornate details. This reference to abundance is a contemporary trend in Caribbean artwork, a balm to the political and global feeling of scarcity and corruption.

Artist Biographies

Shacqeel Coleby (b.1990, The Bahamas) is a multimedia artist who was born in The Bahamas but spent most of his early childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Having moved back to The Bahamas as an adolescent, Shacqeel used painting, drawing and creative writing to cope with challenges in his childhood. After completing secondary studies, Shacqeel transitioned into the workforce where he taught himself how to use graphic design software and ultimately became a freelance Graphic Designer.

Shacqeel’s graphic design abilities have afforded him many professional and educational opportunities, from studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and The University of Hainan (China) to consulting on major branding and marketing projects with the Bahamas Government.

Shacqeel leverages both traditional and digital mediums to create tropical and nostalgic illustrations inspired by history and folklore.

Dyah Neilson (b. 1996 Nassau, The Bahamas) graduated from York University, Toronto, Canada with a BFA in Visual Arts in 2018, after which she returned to The Bahamas. While in high school, she received the top score for the Art BJC (2008) and BGCSE (2012) examinations in the country and received the Governor General's Choice Award in the Annual Central Bank Competition in 2009. Since returning to The Bahamas in 2019, she has taken part in group exhibitions and held her first solo exhibition Love & Fear (2019) at Doongalik Studios in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Preferring fast drying mediums, she works in acrylic paint and colored pencil, and her use of a dry brush technique allows her to build up layers of color while keeping a relatively flat surface. Neilson is deeply inspired by nature, natural and social histories, and the symbolism and metaphors that are ingrained in these histories. She uses symbolism in her portraits to explore the complexities of spirituality, relationships and femininity.