Centered on themes like class, privilege, the economy and race, the organizers behind the Seventh National Exhibition (NE7) are serious about stirring up a constructive dialogue among the public. Demonstrating their commitment to addressing these issues, NE7 curators Holly Bynoe and Michael Edwards and National Art Gallery of The Bahamas Director Amanda Coulson are kicking off the five-month discussion with a series of programming events, including a performance and panel talks, all of which are open to the public and free of charge.
The exhibition, titled “Antillean: an Ecology”, will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 11, and its curatorial team welcomes the public to the launch. Along with unveiling works by 52 visual and literary artists, a collaborative performance led by College of The Bahamas Assistant Professor of Francophone and Cultural Studies Keithley Woolward and photographer Jay Isaacs will be one of the evening’s highlights. Titled “Haitianize”, the multifaceted work is composed of an installation and interactive and participatory performance. According to Woolward and Isaacs, it “considers how the markers of race and class are manifested in the Caribbean/Bahamian ecological space in non-traditional ways”.
Those wanting to immerse themselves or find out more about the NE7 themes are invited to return the following night for a panel discussion with College of The Bahamas Dean of Liberal and Fine Arts Dr. Ian Bethell Bennett, award-winning poet and acclaimed artist Arnold Kemp and award-winning film director Kareem Mortimer. Titled “Idio-scapes”, the talk will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, December 12 and will focus on artistic practices and concerns around ideas of national and diasporic identity and the intersection of public and private interests.
Sunday, December 14 will offer a double whammy. From 3-5 p.m., visitors will be invited to a discussion led by College of The Bahamas Professor of English Dr. Craig Smith and Keithley Woolward, who will be addressing one of the nation’s most contentious topics – that of immigration. Titled “Citizenship and Immigration Policies Within Art Practices”, the roundtable discussion will be moderated by Joey Gaskins.
Later in the day, from 5:30-7 p.m., the public is welcome to attend an artists’ talk, during which artists April Bey, Holly Parotti, Heino Schmid and Tessa Whitehead will address new visualities and subjectivities within contemporary art practices.
Reflecting the NE7’s heavy emphasis on race and its significance in The Bahamas, a roundtable on whiteness, privilege and invisibility in The Bahamas will be led by anthropologist and College of The Bahamas Professor Dr. Nicolette Bethel, entrepreneur and Adjunct Professor at the College of The Bahamas Joey Gaskins, Poinciana Paper Press Founder Sonia Farmer and fine artist Leanne Russell. Amanda Coulson will moderate the discussion, which will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16. Friday Dec 19.
The final panel discussion of the series will be held on Friday, December 19 from 6-8 p.m. The NE7 Artists’ Talk: Nu // Voices will feature artists Dominique Knowles, Anina Major, Jeffrey Meris, Jodi Minnis and Piaget Moss. NE7 Co-curator Michael Edwards and artist and activist Dr. Angelique V. Nixon will moderate the discussion centered on emerging art practices and how young artists are braving new creative environs to inform the development of their work and social practices.
Those pressed for time during the holiday season need not worry. A series of events will continue on a monthly basis through May 2015.
For more information, contact the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas at (242)328-5800/1
Top: DAVE SMITH PROFILE: “Profile” by Dave Smith. (Photo: Jackson Petit)
Bottom: SUE BENNETT WILLIAMS: “Do You Have Any White Friends?” by Sue Bennett-Williams. (Photo: Sue Bennett-Williams)