The unveiling of ‘One’
Bells whispering in the wind on a breezy afternoon make more than music when “One” is their source.
The 28-foot monument to unity aimed toward the heavens comes together in loops, arches and cylindrical bells on the grounds of New Providence Community Center to galvanize and to memorialize.
For at least one of the sculpture’s collaborators, the bells bear messages from the artist who first envisioned the piece.
“Every time the bells ring I think it’s reflective of his voice and his approval of what we’re doing,”said Clint Kemp, the founding pastor at NPCC, of the late renowned Bahamian artist Brent Malone.
Before his death in 2005, Malone had discussed creating the sculpture with a group of artists and members of NPCC. Kemp, along with pastor Christian McCabe, and artists Antonius Roberts and Tyrone Ferguson, were among collaborators who swapped ideas in the original conversation.
The NPCC community dedicated”One”to Malone’s memory in a special ceremony yesterday evening at the center, located on Blake Road. Attendees were also greeted in NPCC’s Ladder Gallery by a retrospective of the artist’s works, some of which had not before been seen.
“I think Brent would have wanted to dance out here today,”said Kemp, in an interview days before the ceremony.
“He embodied the spirit of oneness in his whole approach to life. He wanted people to live in harmony with one another, with the environment, and so these values that he shared are reflected in this[sculpture].”
Tyrone Ferguson, the co-collaborator and metal sculptor who fashioned the piece, called the process from conception to completion, one of growth.
“It’s really part of the process of growth and movement and journey, and I believe that God used Brent Malone, the sculpture, and all the persons around the sculpture to get me to NPCC,” said Ferguson, who got involved with the project through Malone and Antonius Roberts, and has been a member of the community for the past seven years.
Though “One” glistens in the sunlight, reflecting the rays and a sense of finality, Ferguson said that there was more to come. The sculptor called the piece the first in a series of surrounding crosses he planned to build the fulfillment of a request by Malone.
“The last time I saw Brent Malone he was walking around the property picking up pieces of sticks to make a cross. And then he asked me if I would help him to make some crosses from metals, and I said sure I would. But Brent Malone passed before I was able to assist him in making those crosses.
“But now, through divine revelation, I’m going to be making a whole series of crosses around here 14 of them to be exact. Brent Malone made the first cross for me that One sculpture is that first cross,” Ferguson said.
Malone’s daughter Marysa Malone said that she knew her father would have been happy to see his vision realized in “One.”
“I’m overwhelmed and I’m so very happy and proud,”she said.”Unfortunately I wish[my father]was here because I know he would be overjoyed. He had a big part of his heart in this whole NPCC Community Center and the basis that they had of art being beauty, beauty being nature, all the things that bring you closer to God. And it really struck a chord with him.”
Marysa lent a range of Malone’s works to the Ladder Gallery for the unveiling of”One.”The body includes self portraits, mixed media pieces and a collage. The exhibition is expected to remain up for a few weeks.
“It’s really just trying to capture the diversity of his work,” said Christian McCabe.
Malone, who will be further remembered in a documentary to be released in 2011, founded the Ladder Gallery shortly after joining the community.
“One day we were standing in the hallway and he looked around and said,’you know, we’re not standing in a hallway, we’re standing in a gallery,'” said McCabe.
“Brent had the vision to see that art is everywhere.”