In 1971, art
historian Linda Nochlin’s essay in ARTnews asked, “Why have there been no great women artists?” Decades later, why are
we as artists, critics, curators and patrons still asking this provocative and
admittedly offensive question?
A fair and
overdue question to ask in our community would be, “Who are the female artists that have made an impact and contributed to
the success of the Bahamian fine arts movement?”
The F Factor: Female Artists of the Bahamas attempts to initiate this discussion by reevaluating and reexamining the presence and role of the female in the Bahamian Fine Arts movement. Currently on display at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation is an array of work from 24 established artists whose command of the range of media equals any survey exhibition. The unmistakable feminine presence lends an intuitive perspective on global concepts and themes currently at the forefront of most artistic discussions. In addition to traditional narratives addressed by women like maternity and gender, some artists also address financial fragility, social misconduct and the emotional experience of migration.
Among the twenty-four artists showcased in this exhibition, we have scholars of prestigious fine arts programmes such as Rhode Island School of Design, Virginia Commonwealth University, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Goldsmith’s University, Royal Academy of Arts…and the list continues. Also represented are teachers of younger generations of emerging artists who are expanding upon what was instilled by their female instructors. These women not only support the growth of the development of the arts they do this while building world-class personal portfolios of artwork. Sue Bennet-Williams has been at the core of the College of the Bahamas’ Fine Arts Department since 1988 where she has served not only as an Assistant Professor of Art but at one time the Coordinator of the Art Department. Additionally, her after school art programme ASMAC studios has been on high demand since its inception in 1993. Since 1996, Jessica Colebrooke (nee Maycock) has owned and run the country’s finest and most successful pottery studios—Jessica’s Tileworks Studio and Gallery. Colebrooke has also contributed to the momentum of the C.O.B. fine arts programme serving as a part-time lecturer. We also see how far Bahamian women have excelled internationally through the presence and work of artists like Janine Antoni, who has been referred to as one of the world’s most influential artists of the 90’s and whose work Mortar and