On April 2, 2019 the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ Inter-Island Travelling Exhibition (ITE) lands in Freeport, Grand Bahama, bringing with it an extensive community outreach agenda inclusive of our public mural programme, free workshops, a curator’s talk, school visits (primary and secondary) and donations of museum literature for art teachers, schools and public libraries. The NAGB was last in Grand Bahama in 2016 with “Max/Amos”, which was showcased at the Charles Hayward Library. Now in its fourth year, with a new exhibition, “Trans: A Migration of Identity”, the NAGB team is taking the travelling exhibition to our second city, where it will be on display at the Rand Nature Centre from April 5 – 26, 2019.
“Trans: A Migration of Identity” made its debut in Rock Sound, Eleuthera at the South Eleuthera Mission in March 2018, then journeyed to Fresh Creek, Andros, in October 2018, where the entire second floor of Brigadier’s Restaurant was converted into a temporary gallery space for five weeks. The success of the travelling exhibition programme is intrinsically tied to the support of partners and sponsors on each island who utilize their networks and resources to assist the NAGB in facilitating impactful experiences in their communities.
Providing access to our National Collection to an archipelagic nation like The Bahamas has proven to be difficult given its length and breadth. As a result, the NAGB’s Education Department, in collaboration with its Curatorial Department, created a travelling exhibition for our Family Islands that, beginning in 2017, expanded to include our Mural Programme. Each iteration of this initiative has been customized for each of the islands the exhibition has been taken to, as the infrastructure, economic development and culture of the islands continually present us with unique challenges and opportunities.
“Trans: A Migration of Identity” dissects national identity through the lens of visual artists, presenting works that question and respond to our collective reality – one that is shaped by the movement of peoples of many origins: Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. The most striking and impactful of these human migrations was the forceful transport of enslaved Africans and their descendants to our shores. These people, who arrived and settled in a place unknown to them, left a lasting impression on our cultural landscape. They managed this despite systemic opposition, which included both the institutions of slavery and colonialism. Drawing from the National Collection, this exhibition examines the transformative narrative of migration, arrival, assimilation and renewal.
Programming around the ITE begins with a mural sited in downtown Freeport, which will be painted by students and teachers from Jack Hayward High School and the mural design winner, the Bishop Michael Eldon School Art Club, between April 3 and 7. The winning design was chosen from several proposals submitted in response to a mural call that was sent out to schools, teachers and artists in Grand Bahama in December 2018 under the theme “Back to da Island”.
The packed schedule continues with an opening reception for the exhibition at the Rand Nature Centre on Friday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m.; and on April 6, a teacher’s professional development workshop, focusing on integrating art and history, at the Charles Hayward Library. The following week begins with art workshops for primary and secondary schools on April 8 and 9 at the Charles Hayward Library. On the evening of April 9 a curator’s talk, led by NAGB Assistant Curator Richardo Barrett, will be held at the Rand Nature Centre, giving attendees the opportunity to gain insight into the role of a curator in a museum and the process of curating “Trans: A Migration of Identity”.
Throughout the week, the NAGB team will be conducting in-school visits, donating our most recent exhibition catalogues to schools to supplement their existing resources on Bahamian art. Programming around the ITE ends with a fun, relaxed evening of creativity, conversation and a little wine at the Rand Nature Centre on Thursday, April 11 with a sip and paint workshop inspired by the work and practice of Bahamian master artist Maxwell Taylor.
All programming around the Inter-Island Travelling Exhibition is free and open to the public. To learn more about event scheduling and activities visit nagb.org.bs. Special thanks to our partners and sponsors: the Sir Charles Hayward Public Library, Rand Nature Centre (Bahamas National Trust), Five Star Shipping Company, Grand Bahama Port Authority, United Grand Council and Order of Eastern Stars, Alisa Robinson and Benjamin Ferguson.