In Celebration of Jackson L. Burnside III


At no time in a curatorial calling does one wish to install an exhibition in memoriam of an artist whom one knew, admired and respected. Unfortunately (but in some manner just as fortunate), as life would have it, this must be done because we do admire and respect the artist. We recognize the tremendous gift that the artist has bestowed while creating his work and their willingness to impart their experience should anyone want to learn. With some artists we understand that sometimes it is simply rewarding enough to be in their company and listen.  

I did not know Jackson L. Burnside III as well as I would have liked to but what I gained from him in our encounters at different gatherings was that he recognized the significance of responsibility, continuity and consistency of talent through the generations of Bahamian artists. He also knew that he was not finished with what he started and because of this we knew he was as dedicated as always to passing on his experiences to the younger generations that succeed him. Because he was such an inspired man he in turn empowered ideas to be more compelling and creative efforts to be more responsible.  

This celebration of Jackson’s life and art was not theoretically curatorial but more so a collaboration between those who knew and loved him firsthand. His wife Pam, daughter Orchid and his dear friend Saskia thought it only natural that this exhibition should take place to extend our appreciation of his time with us and the effect he had on us all. I am privileged and humbled to have been a part of this process.  

Look around, the magnificent, bold colours and dynamic compositions of Jackson’s reflections on Bahamian life will be with us for many years to come. They remind us that he is still with us in many regards.  

My generation listened to Jackson. Our memories of him and what he shared will always be as vivid and impressive as his paintings. Thank you Jackson, we’ll take it from here. You taught us well.

I would like to end by quoting a dialogue between two of my friends at Jackson’s funeral which points out the indelible impression that he left on so many people. Royann: “This feels like it’s not really happening.” Margot: “In my mind, some people can’t dead.”