For many Bahamians, it is an easy and comforting thing to turn to the scriptures to make sense of the moments that we are witnessing as history in the making. A text familiar to most, whether a believer or nonbeliever, are the lines in the book of Ephesians 4:16, that read:
“From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (NKJV).
Through meditation, one can translate these words to simply mean that we are all in this together and shall conquer and rise above this seeming limitation set before us, through the powerful tool of love.
Unifying in love to uphold the body of our nation during these difficult times is the acute focus of the visual arts community. The upcoming art auction “Alleviate” will function as a charity event with the intent to support the ongoing relief efforts for the Grand Bahama and Abaco islands.
“Alleviate” is spearheaded by multidisciplinary artist Jodi Minnis and will take place on the grounds of your National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) tomorrow, Sunday, October 6, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will feature the works of over 20 artists. Artists were asked to donate their work with the full understanding that 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards the efforts of the organizations already leading the charge in storm alleviation. All are invited to attend.
Minnis, who has a personal connection to the island of Abaco since her maternal family originates from there, says it is almost essential that Bahamians with artistic abilities must do what they can to support the growth of the body for its edification and, in this case, rebirth.
“My maternal grandfather was born and raised in Abaco but moved to New Providence to attend Queen’s College after it was desegregated. Some of my family members still live there. The first exhibition that I ever participated in, outside of Nassau, was in Freeport. So, this really hits home for me; but aside from all that, as a Bahamian, I feel it’s only necessary to use whatever talents you have at this time to assist in rebuilding our islands,” she says.
The other participating artists would agree. In the lineup of works on display for Sunday evening are: Dede Brown, Blake Fox, Tamika Galanis, Jalan Harris, Kenechi, Montez Kerr, Thierry Lamare, Anina Major, Justin Moultrie, Dyah Neilson, Kya Nyugen, Carissa Rho, Philece Roberts, Leanne Russell, Nowé Harris Smith, Katrina Toothe, Trevor Tucker, Deime Ubani, Natascha Vazquez, Tessa Whitehead and Durelle Williams.
In alignment with the nature of the exhibition, artist Dyah Neilson pens from her Instagram platform about her donated work: “This piece was emotional to paint. I wanted to commemorate those whose lives were lost during the storm. It is not easy to look at or think about, but it’s something we are all processing in our own ways. We must grieve individually and as a country, and find a better way to rebuild.
“As I painted it, I didn’t only think about hurricane Dorian. I thought of the Haitian people who try to come to us or Florida because their country has been ravaged by colonialism and hurricanes over the years. They cross huge expanses of the sea to find a new life and instead they lose theirs. Our countries are all under threat and the sea doesn’t care who it claims. We are all one in this fight. Let their lives be a lesson in how we move forward.”
Many may share in these sentiments when considering the depth of this national crisis – the Haitian migrants unfound, Bahamians and Bahamian residents unaccounted for and those who are dead. It has moved artists not only near, but far as well, as international artists – namely Rahiem Milton and Lucious Smith – will have their works displayed on the live website during the time of the auction.
The artworks will range in prices starting at $250 to $2,500.
If you are unable to donate funds to this event through the purchasing of works, food and beverages will be on sale via the following vendors: Society Rosé, Berry Sweet Treats, What Ve’Gan Eat and Papa’s Taqueria. Proceeds from these sales will also go towards hurricane relief efforts.
On her Instagram platform, Minnis reshares the promotional flyer along with the charge: “This is happening on Sunday and we’ve been working really hard to ensure that we create a long-lasting platform for hurricane relief. It’s not just about raising funds on Sunday; it’s about constantly raising money because we’re living in a time where frequent natural disasters are inevitable.”