Getting into the practice of working towards and putting on their own shows, art graduates from the College of the Bahamas explored a blossoming theme in a new exhibition at the Central Bank of the Bahamas.
With works ranging from paintings, to installation pieces, photography and mixed media pieces, the show featured an all-female lineup of artists that included Ivanna Gaitor, Jalan Harris, Piaget Moss, Rosie Petit and Jordanna Kelly.
In an interview with Tribune Arts and Entertainment at the show, Jalan, who also served as co-curator and organiser, said they all of the graduates tried to produce at least six pieces each to fill the spacious Central Bank gallery.
“We tried to use as much space as we could to explore our nich�s and practices we learned while in college. So “Bloom” is mainly about artists coming into their own. We initially wanted to do a floral theme, but we realised that it would have gotten pretty boring, so we got some advice from one of our lecturers to just do what we felt like doing and are comfortable with. Some of us tried to incorporate something floral that relates to bloom, but this is all about putting our practices into work,” said Jalan.
As a mixed media artist, Jalan said it is hard for her to stick to just one theme, therefore she incorporated collages and the use of non-traditional objects to create a composition in her work.
“A lot of the detail with my piece is exploratory and it is just me responding to a material or whatever I am working on, which (is a wide) range. Moreover, being graduates, we decided to start this show to hopefully start a tradition of exhibits like this one for people that may come after us.”
Going forward, Jalan said she is looking into working in the field of occupational therapy where she can deal with rehabilitative processes in terms of visual and creative arts. Jalan said she is also interested in curatorial studies, hanging shows and maybe later opening her very own gallery.
For Piaget, working from a very personal perspective was important.
“This is not about us giving each other a theme and then working from that theme; we sort of take our own sensitivities to our work and we just put it on display. My body of work in general is not necessarily about a specific theme, it is just my responses to what has been going on in my life having recently graduated COB,” she said.
“My work typically is very material oriented and that is usually what I use to present images. I quite often get the question asking, ‘What does it mean?’ or ‘What is it about?’, which is fine because I actually like when my audience question the work, and that is really all that I am looking for,” said Piaget.
The COB graduate said she definitely wants to become a force to be reckoned with both on the local art scene and abroad. As a Grand Bahama native, Piaget said she has learned a great deal from working alongside artists in Nassau.
“The art scene in Grand Bahama is not nearly as present as it is here in Nassau, so coming here was a very great surprise, to come to this world where art is thriving, and I just want to take my culture and sensitivities and get out there and further my practice,” said Piaget.
With five colourful pieces on display, Rosie said she chose to shine light on a flower she loves, the lily.
“I always liked lilies, and even though I knew so much about it, I still had to go back and do some research on it, I found out that they represent the female principle, femininity. I did five different colours and each colour has meaning behind it, representing something that the lily symbolises,” said Rosie.
Describing the pieces, she said she decided to create a pink lily with drippings because it represents unconditional love. She said the colours all easily came together for her because they are beautiful.
“For instance, the yellow piece here represents happy and exciting. It is all acrylic on canvas. I prefer to work with acrylic because it gives you a fast dry and I just like the whole texture. With the other pieces we have the orange piece called ‘Mercy’; this one is a lot of people’s favourite. Then there is the white one that represents kindness, and the last one, the peach one, it represents passion,” said Rosie.
Sharing her thoughts about the Bahamas art scene, Rosie said she enjoys it, but feels as if women do not get as many opportunities to shine as their male counterparts.
“We have a lot of female artists, but they are not recognised or given as much value as a lot of the male artists. You have a lot of people, where if you ask them to name some Bahamian female artists, they would have to think a bit to give you that few. Whereas if you ask a person to name a few male artists, the names are so well-known that they can name more than a few. It is not like the female artists do not produce the work, it is just that the recognition of them compared to the males is not up to par. This is something I hope would one day change,” said Rosie.
She said art is something she loves creating and she is going to take it as far as she possibly can.
By Alesha Cadet