Art and Film: “Amos Ferguson—Match Me if You Can”

One of the films that premiered at the T&T Film Festival was the 2011 documentary Amos Ferguson: Match Me if You Can, directed by Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth. After watching the directors’ wonderfully-crafted Artists of the Bahamas, I highly recommend this documentary.

This film pays tribute to the renowned Bahamian intuitive artist Amos Ferguson, known for his paintings of island ritual, flora and fauna, and biblical scenes. The film documents his life from the 1930s to his international “discovery” in the 1980s, right up to his death. This documentary won the First Look Best Feature Award from the Bahamas International Film Festival which took place in Nassau in December 2011.

Description: Amos Ferguson, Match Me if You Can pays tribute to this highly spiritual Bahamian intuitive artist. The documentary explores the life and work of the “Picasso of Bahamian Art,” from his meager beginnings in The Forest, Exuma, as one of seven surviving children who worked the family farm, to America as one of the original ‘contract’ workers picking fruit in the fields for American men away at War. Returning to Nassau, he began to paint in his 40’s, using shiny house paints to create simple shapes and quirky subjects with vibrant Caribbean colors. He painted the Bahamian stories following in the tradition of the ‘girot’ [sic; griot] or African storyteller, later to become the most significant and prolific Bahamian artist ever. [. . .] On camera interviews with Amos, friends and family, are interwoven with archival photographs and films, illustrated by his paintings on loan from collectors as well as from his own personal collection. “No man can teach me what God teach me,” Amos said about his art, “I paint by Faith, not by sight. Match me if you can.”

Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth have been a filmmaking partnership for the last 25 years. This creative team has worked together on numerous films, mini-series and dramas, which has brought them four Emmys, two Writers Guild Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Christopher Awards, three Humanitas Awards and one Cammie Award. Together they formed Island Films Ltd. for the purpose of making documentary features.

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