Roberts, Antonius

ANTONIUS ROBERTS, OBE, was born in 1958. He graduated in 1981 from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania earning a BFA in Painting. He was born and grew up on Lewis Street in the heart of Nassau, Bahamas, a reference which informs his lifes work creatively and his connection to history and community.

In his early career he was a teacher and lecturer at Government High School and The College of The Bahamas (now University of The Bahamas) and coordinated a series of FINCO Summer Art Workshops mentoring a generation of young Bahamian artists. He also served as the Curator of The Central Bank of The BahamasArt Gallery until 2017, and was the architect and coordinator of their annual Competitions and Exhibitions until 2006.

In The Bahamas, as a sculptor, Roberts became known for his first Sacred Space project at the historic Clifton Heritage site, New Providence. This theme of enslavement was expanded on with a larger installation at the Blake Road Welcome Centre. Another group of Sacred Women travelled to Wiesbaden, Germany for their Funky Nassau Exhibition which were then exhibited at The Nassau Art Gallery of The Bahamas, with a similar installation now forming part of The Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation.

His career as an artist has taken him around the world to participate in various exhibitions. In 2005 Roberts spent one month in Pietrasanta, Italy working in marble and granite as part of the International Professional Artist Symposium and Exchange. In 2006 he was invited not only to exhibit in Changchun, China but to leave, as a permanent installation, his 12bronze sculpture. In 2011 he participated in the Master Artists of The Bahamas Exhibition at the Waterloo Centre for the Arts in Iowa.

Donning a different hat in 2009, as an Open Space Designer, Roberts designed and directed the creation of the seven acre park at Centreville House, a revitalization programme in downtown Nassau. His creative versatility was demonstrated in his creation of Bubbles, a collection of blown-glass bubbles installed at the newly renovated Lynden Pindling International Airport in 2013. Roberts became the first Artist in Residence at Schooner Bay, Abaco for several years and later in 2017 established a relationship with the Island School in Eleuthera.

His progress as an artist and conservationist since 2012, when he restored an historic building and it became Hillside House Studio & Gallery, has been notable. Ten productive years later, an organic progression has been the founding of Project I.C.E., an acronym for ‘Incubator for CreativeExpression’. In 2019 he leased a parcel of land and a dilapidated warehouse and proceeded, as expected, to conserve, preserve and restore the building as a useable space for emerging artists to be mentored and practice their craft. 2022 has seen an exchange Residency with The Ontario College of Art & Design, University of Toronto, their students, faculty and Indigenous leaders in residence at I.C.E. and I.C.E. students going to Toronto.

His spiritual connection, his desire to record and honour his Bahamian heritage, as well as his commitment to conservation, preservation and restoration throughout The Bahamas continues to be reflected in all his creative work and pedagogy.