The D’Aguilar Art Foundation is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition, pARTicipate!, a show that aims to highlight the playfulness and accessibility of art. The exhibition intends to be a medium by which children (and fun adults) can learn to appreciate performative artworks of all kinds: from singing sculptures to painting you can walk into, pARTicipate! encourages its viewers to play with the artwork shown in the gallery.
The show features five prominent Bahamian artists: June Collie, John Cox, Kendra Frorup, Natascha Vazquez and Margot Bethel. Each artist created a piece of interactive artwork surrounding themes of play, folklore, and storytelling. Each piece displayed will encourage the viewer to participate physically with the artwork and become a part of the piece’s story. Here are the ways each artist does this:
Dollhouse expands June Collie’s well-known murals in an installation that is explores the internal architecture of her paintings. The piece encourages the viewer to interact with the home she has created.
Cox’s wearable sculpture Blessed Redeemer is a homage to his mother, who would use this phrase as a form of sigh. It perches on your shoulders in the same way a Junkanoo costume would, transforming the wearer into a superhero (like his mother).
Kendra Froup’s assemblages of beading, straw work and prints responds to your movement with sound and light. She draws from a multi-media practice that explores the iconography of Caribbean Life.
Vazquez’s six paintings all explore the story of the Lusca, a monster resembling an octopus that resides in blue holes around the Bahamas, in bold, colorful ways.
Bethel’s installation is inspired by folk storytelling through music. Her instruments create sounds with indigenous seeds in recycled containers explores the connection between music and nature.
If you would like to organize school visits to see this exhibition, visiting times are scheduled for the 24th to the 28th of September; however, if your school is interested in organizing field trips outside of that time frame, we are happy to accommodate you.
Tel: 322-2323 (during office hours Tues & Thurs 10am-4pm)
Delton Barrett's Imagined Landscape: Photographer Finds New Self in Solitude
Letitia Pratt Interviews Delton Barrett
The D’Aguilar Art Foundation’s new exhibition, “Nurture,” is the product of the most recent experiment of Delton Barrett, an emerging photographer. Hailing from the south of New Providence, Barrett’s preoccupation with creating digitally enhanced, innovative photographic stories has become the catalyst for the experimentation in his work. He often stages scenes within the environment in surreal, fantastic ways, intending to investigate the way his body blends with the space he inhabits. The images that grow out of these explorations are playful renditions of the environment that surrounds him, ultimately communicating a deep connection between his body and the natural world.
Barrett’s ultimate goal is to reflect himself within the landscape that surrounds him; to mirror his masculinity within the foliage that he blends his body into. He asserts his oneness with the roots of trees that stretch far underground. His intentional placement within the unspoilt landscape communicates a need to be seen something deeply, intrinsically apart of the land in a way that brings to the forefront the question of his own freedom – his body, like the land once colonised, now a prop for rebellion against the colonial gaze.
This past Monday, Barrett visited the Foundation to talk about how he manages to capture this magic of freedom in a photograph. We sat among his photos and thought about them for a while.
Letitia Pratt: I want you to tell me of the process of creating these photos, first of all.
Delton Barrett: Okay. The process starts with an idea. And from there is looking for location. After I find the location it’s about setting up how it should look and all that.
LM: So, how do you find the location? How do you decide …
DB: …which is the right one?
DB: Based on the concept. If, for example, I have a nature theme I would look for a place with a lot of foliage, and place myself within the negative space within the area. That way I could stand out more within the photo and blend in at the same time.
LM: So you’re placing your body in this negative space – it’s usually your face I see within your work – this emphasis on your face and your gaze. Why do you think it’s important to place yourself in your photographs? What are you confronting when you are looking into the camera that way?
DB: It would defeat the purpose if I don’t [show my face] because I am making self-portraits. And as the subject I want you to see what type of mood I am in. The feeling…the expression… all of that.
LM: So the foliage is indicative of your mood most of the time?
DB: Basically, yes. It’s me adapting to the surroundings. It’s calm. Green is so calm. You can’t be around green and not be calm. I want to capture that calmness.
LM: You told me when we were setting up this exhibition, that it was your intention to become one with green. Why is that important to you? I guess, like you just said that it reflects your mood.
DB: Exactly…expression, it builds the mood, and basically puts more emphasis on the idea. Whatever the idea may be.
LM: So landscape for you means something considerably different for you than, let’s say, the usual tourism photos of serene beaches and scenes of downtown Nassau, right?
DB: Yes. I like the solitude. You don’t have a lot of people around, distracting you from doing…or creating what you’re trying to do. I find it’s best that I take pictures when no one is around because it actually helps make a better photo. A lot of people comment that they hve never seen places like this before, and that’s the kind of reaction that I want. I don’t want the picture to be something you see every day, like downtown. Well, unless I do want it to. Certain ideas require different spaces.
LM: But most of them you need solitude.
LM: What are these ideas?
DB: Okay, for example, Failed Attempts to Fly, is a photo of me ‘attempting’ to fly on the beach. I needed to be on the shore alone in order to keep the focus on me as the subject. That way the picture would be stronger. But if I wanted to go to a populated area for a photo…like ….
LM: Goodman’s Bay.
DB: Like Goodman’s Bay, it would be different. If I wanted that reaction, I would do that, I would engage with people, crowded areas and the public. But for most of the work in this exhibition, it isn't necessary.
LM: So you don’t want the reaction from anybody when you’re in the solitude of nature.
DB: I want the reaction, but not in the present. I want the reaction after I take the photo.
LM: When I think of land, especially regarding the connection you have created between it and your body within your work, I think about ownership, and this history of colonisation of both land and the Black body. How do you think your process reclaims both of these things? Because I do find your photos as a sort of reclamation in a way.
DB: That’s actually one of the reasons why I like going in nature. It actually feels free. You know. Living in the south, where I do my photoshoots, a lot of people aren’t on that particular beach. It’s basically just the sea, breeze, and there might be some birds, dogs, or one or two people running on the shore but it’s just nature, nature, nature. And I think that’s where most of my ideas come from; being in solitude. In the natural space you get to see a lot of things in nature that transform into ideas, along with random props like bottles, cans, buckets and tires, you know how people dump their trash.
LM: Yes, you use them a lot in your photos, especially in Media Intoxication.
DB: And most of them are on the spot and untouched photos; I really don’t have to stage anything. And then, viewers comment “how you get that on the beach”? Well, it was always on the beach, I just highlighted and played with it. It’s just now a part of my scene. I feel like everywhere I shoot I have ownership of the place because it’s now my setting and I can do whatever I want to it and have control over the environment. I have the freedom to.
Open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-4pm or by appointment. Exhibition continues until May 15th
The D’Aguilar Art Foundation is delighted to announce that we are taking part in Transforming Spaces weekend on March 17th & 18th, 2018. We will exhibit new paintings by contemporary Bahamian artist Allan Pachino Wallace alongside a selection of works by the late Brent Malone in an exhibition entitled ‘MUSE’.
For this exhibition, Pachino will respond to specific paintings by Malone to highlight the practice of working from the figure as muse over the past half-century in The Bahamas: from the 1960’s to present day.
Inspired by Malone’s extensive work with live models, Allan Pachino Wallace takes on the tradition of finding his own models to work with for this exhibition. This is quite the separation from his own artistic habits: up until recently, Pachino mastered the human form by practicing out of his own imagination, rarely looking to a live-model to reference for ideas. Using a model as a muse is a long-standing artistic tradition; often the reciprocity between the artist and model influences the artist to consider aspects of their work that they would not have otherwise explored.This is best exemplified by one of the paintings Pachino created for this project (see above article) for it, Pachino works directly from his wife Kereen, resulting in a piece that emanates an intimacy that is just not found in the Malone painting that inspired it. MUSE will explore this complex artist-muse relationship developed through the live-model process.
The artist-muse relationship is so important to the creative process that the very word muse derives from the goddesses artists worshipped in exchange for inspiration. The Muses, (derived from the latin Musa or greek Moisa) were thought to be the protectors of the arts, and were originally inspiring goddesses of poets in particular, although their symbolism has grown to represent inspiration for a range of visual arts and sciences. The sentiment still remains the same, however: a beautiful being, usually a woman, providing ideas that inspire great artists to do their best work.
It is quite a romantic notion. The religious symbolism has not dwindled in it’s modern iteration: current artists like Pachino also assert that their inspiration comes from a higher power. “I look above to get my inspiration,” Pachino claims in an interview with the Central Bank of the Bahamas. “My inspiration comes completely from God.” This is not dissimilar to greek poets praying to their Muse for melodic ideas; Pachino’s reliance on a religious figure to provide him with inspiration aligns his practice among artistic masters throughout history.
The artists’ search for ideas outside themselves gave way to lore surrounding the very inspiration. Thus, creators also sought to find their muse within their own environment: such is the case with poets, crafting melodies from sounds of the wind among trees; or scientists, who search for their muse in answers to the question why. Brent Malone was no different. His interest in history is visible through his capture of historic peoples and events, but his portrayal of historic tradition always grounds itself in his capture of figure, and he still looks to the physicality of the models he chose for inspiration. Often accompanied by heavy movement and great symbolic detail of historical events, these pieces are centered by Malone’s mastery of the human form.
The complexity of inspiration in Malone’s work is not lost to Pachino; his own interest in history has also blended with the ideas his God/Muse has provided him with. He similarly looks to his environment for inspiration:“I look at everything around me,” he says, explaining what this means to his practice. “I believe everything was created [by God]...and that inspires me a great deal.” As a result, Pachino’s paintings depicting historical narratives are softer, almost dream-like; signifying the spiritual influence they were born out of.
For Pachino, Brent Malone’s work has become a muse in and of itself, inspiring him to create in ways that he would not have previously considered. Fascinated by Malone’s process, Pachino uses this exhibition to explore the relationships Malone developed with his many muses. The result is a show that highlights the figure as an element that grounds the work of both artists. The exhibition brings together paintings of Malone and Pachino that showcase this intimate and reliant artist-muse relationship. MUSE forces Pachino to blend practices with a master, resulting, hopefully, in oevers that are as complex as the Muses that inspired them.
MUSE opens next week Thursday, the 17th and 18th of March for TS weekend.You can visit the gallery on the TS bus tour, or on your own, but you must buy a ticket. Please visit www.tsbahamas.com to find out more.
The conception of ‘wait. I saw something’ grew out of few obsessions: preoccupations with figure, minute moments of touch, and the emotional conversation that grows out of small exchanges. Heino Schmid’s recent work magnifies the subtlety of the way we move in the world. His pieces are massive renderings of little moments; with them he narrates stories that are told silently, between the brush of fingertips and shared glances across crowded rooms.
I visited Schmid’s studio late on a Thursday so that he could tell me these stories. He eventually presents me with a parable. “Honor the small things,” He says this carefully, choosing words with calculated reverence. “If you honor those smaller things, good things will come out of your work. Your life.”
Schmid’s artwork has grown out of this idea. He understands art – maybe life – through a macro-lens, in which smaller things fill the entire space. This preoccupation first manifested into a focus on technicality; eventually though, Schmid’s subject matter became the catalyst by which his obsessions are displayed. ‘wait. I saw something’ is just a snapshot in this artistic history. In this particular exhibition, the audience is invited to peer into the private exchanges between the subjects within his paintings.
LETITIA PRATT: First, I want to understand you as an artist. What has been the primary focus of your work during your career and how does it shape your point of view?
HEINO SCHMID: The focus...has shifted. I’ve been lucky to always consider art … as a way of participating in life and in the world. So as I change, my focus changes. Like anything. Like any relationship it just…It just evolves. When I was younger, it was just proficiency. That was really important to me. I always found it kind of ridiculous that artists would spend a year on a painting or something like that.
HS: When I was younger, yeah. It was romantic but, I wanted to make something every day. Getting older I have slowed down a bit. When I was seventeen-eighteen and just started making work I used to draw every day and I would, you know, make two-three pieces and I thought they were good. That was also ignorance because I didn’t see how repetitious or overly simplified my work was then. But eventually that evolved into technical proficiency. So alright, I got some practice in, that’s good. Now let’s really learn this thing. Look at other artists. Look at material. Learn at how to mix your paint. Learn about drawing. Learn what I am interested in. Then the technical side of things sort of slowed down. And recently I have been blurring the two of them…I don’t focus as much on technical proficiency anymore and I’ve kind of…gone back to this idea of immediacy – but with a slower, older brain. Making sure that even though the approach can sometimes be immediate, the content is meaningful – and slow. If that makes sense.
LP: It does. What have been the themes of your work, though, as they developed in your artistic history?
HS: It usually revolves around – very loosely around a bit of narrative – and the figure. I go back to [it] all the time. The first time art really made sense to me was in a figure drawing class actually. Its something I tell students now – and it sounds very simple – but it’s the skeleton that you have to be aware of. I don’t know if you have been in any figure drawing classes or ...
LP: [snorts] ah….no, I haven’t.
HS: Well if you have a figure… its different than if you draw a bowl - you render it. you just shade it, you catch the light, and the rest of it. But with the figure you can have that outcome but you don’t – it doesn’t happen unless you understand that there is meat on bone. The skeleton has to be the undercurrent. That was the first time art made sense to me. This is the same way I look at all art. I could be looking at the most minimalist installation…a sound piece or something like that and I would be wondering …where is your skeleton? Are you just rendering? What is your core… and is that meaty?
LP: And does this bleed into the work that you’re doing now?
HS: It does, it does. I was saying that to say that I draw the figure quite often when I get stuck. I don’t always work with the figure but…when stuff gets really formal that thinking has always been beneficial and, by extension, the figure has always creeped in.
LP: To help your Artist’s block.
HS: Right. And also like, little narratives…like odd things.
LP: Tell me about the narratives.
HS: Umm… I don’t know, it’s odd things. It is never really big moments – I don’t remember the big moments. People say to me, [quoting] ‘remember that time we were on a roller coaster and there was an explosion and we all thought we were gonna die?’ and I actually don’t remember that at all. Like the painting on the invite of the family [holding hands, praying]… I remember being out to dinner – at The Poop Deck or something – and there was a family that just decided to say grace publicly…and it was such an odd thing, it made me smile because everyone – almost all of the restaurant – kind of, noticed and let them do them. I like that, that was nice. That was years ago and it just stuck in my brain and I thought it was important. So you know …little things. I think everybody’s the same.
LP: Well I think artists do that a lot. Artists…I think have to be a little bit obsessive…to really notice the minute ways people interact with each other and that would inform your work. When I was viewing your work, I found it to be very intimate, and the process of viewing seemed almost voyeuristic in a way…like I’m spying on something private.
HS: I could see that. Yeah, it’s just the little things. But I think they’re big things.
LP: Is that why you make them big?
HS: Maybe. [pauses] Um…good question actually. Is that number three?
LP: Well I think it is now. [laughs]
HS: [laughs] I do think there is something to be said for…again just like meat on bone. All those little things that define the way people move in the world. I find that quite interesting. Like the way you and I are sharing oxygen right now. There are lots of those moments and sometimes they’re very profound...but they’re few and far between. I think good things come out of smaller moments and I guess my philosophy is that…if you honor the smaller things, then good things will come out of the work, in life, in a way, in a big way. Lately it’s become quite specific in that regard…sometimes little moments can be really aggressive and you have to be responsible for how you portray them….and sometimes they can be really soft.
LP: Which is most of the show.
HS: I hope so, yeah.
LM: Okay one last thing: why the name?
HS: Same reasons I told you. “wait. I saw something…” I think that’s where the work is going right now. It’s just I saw…little moments…that just…stick.
‘wait. I saw something.’ Opens this Thursday on February 8th, 2018.
The D'Aguilar Art Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY, an exhibition featuring some of the most conversational pieces from our collection.
The selected works explore the new way artists speak about their political environments: now-highlighted issues of discrimination have inspired artists to react more combatively within their work. Thus, all pieces within this exhibition stem from the Artists’ response to the injustices they witness within the society they live in: themes of identity, race, and sexuality are all echoed throughout the show.
This exhibition confronts the ways in which these abuses affect one’s sense of self. This is especially done through the use of text: within all the work displayed, text is used to highlight a specific issue, thought, or to ask the question that inspires the piece. For instance, in Khia Poitier’s work, it acts as a subconscious remark, adding context to the images within the piece. ‘Hello Darling, What are You Wearing?’becomes a mantra that brings focus to the painful expressions of the subjects, and forces the viewer to confront the divisiveness of the question.
I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY’s relevance is more crucial now than ever. It highlights the importance of art and artists and presents them a catalysts for responding to injustice.
Participating artists include: Bernard Petit, John Cox, Maxwell Taylor, June Colle, David Smith, Helene Seligman, Antonius Roberts, Greg Pesik, Margot Bethel, Toby Lunn, Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Christina Darville, Kendal Hanna, Khia Poitier, and Sue Katz.
Exhibition to open for the christmastime.
The D’Aguilar Art Foundation is delighted to announce the opening of Diversions, an exhibition of photography by artists Melissa Alcena, Alessandro Sarno and Sofia Whitehead. Diversions features three series of works that explore the spaces outside the demands of daily life in The Bahamas.
Alcena, Sarno and Whitehead capture their subjects in different processes of diversion. We see people outside of schedules, putting down obligations and forgetting concerns, instead committing to relaxation and play. In a time when racial and political concerns are so tender and consuming, these images offer a glimpse into our methods of untethering and unwinding. We gravitated towards these particular photographs because it also gave us, as viewers, a way to escape.
Alcena and Whitehead, both Bahamians, pay witness to their experience of returning home, a passage and re-entrance that is both routine and complex for Islanders. Their photographs showcase the deeply familiar way they encounter their subjects and landscape; acting almost as document. Sarno, a native of Italy, is a tourist that has immersed himself in Bahamian life. His interest in travel and observing the lesser-known routines of Bahamian-life reveal the photographer’s own form of escapism.
'Diversions' brings together photographs that describe the candid joy of downtime.
Melissa Alcena (1988, The Bahamas) went to Canada in 2010 where she attended Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario and completed a 2 year Applied Photography course in 2012. Melissa’s approach to portraiture is environmental. Photographing her subjects in their surroundings, she highlights aspects of their lives and personalities. This will be her first public exhibition.
Alessandro Sarno (Italy), finds inspiration traveling around the Islands of The Bahamas; his photography focuses on the vernacular, on the indigenous expressions of people he encounters, on landscapes, wildlife. He is drawn to the intricacies of Bahamian life: worship services, concerts, funerals, civic activities and all the little details that emerge in between. He published two coffee tablebooks, Blue And Beyond, and Catch Da Cat, to portray life in The Bahamas. He held his first solo exhibition at the Ladder Gallery in Nassau in 2015.
Sofia Whitehead (1990, The Bahamas) received her bachelor in Business administration and marketing from the Universidad ORT Montevideo, Uruguay. Her love of photography led her to continue her studies in courses such as Black and White Photography at Foto Club Uruguay, and Photoschule in Vienna, Austria. In 2014, Sofia returned home and began photographing and interviewing women throughout The Bahamas for a project called ‘Project Bahama Mama’. Her research will be compiled in a book to be published in 2018. Sofia exhibited earlier this year in The Bahamian Project Exhibition Central Bank.
'The Art of Losing' is based on the poem of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Bishop.
The exhibition was part of Transforming Spaces art tour 2017, an annual art experience which includes all the leading galleries in Nassau.
'The Art of Losing' is inspired by Bishop's poetry, marrying the literary imagery of ther poem with visual moments in Bahamian Art. The selection of pieces contemplates the loss of time, material possessions, desire and loved ones. The viewer is encouraged to examine their perspective on how loss shapes our life experience, and also find catharsis in the fact that loss is ever present, by seeing it plainly and discussing it candidly.