An article by Kevin McGarry for The New York Times. Here are the photos of the Bahamas exhibit. Follow the link below for additional photos.
As the so-called Olympics of art, the Venice Biennale rallies contemporary artists from all corners of the world. Though only 28 countries have permanent homes inside the Giardini, another 60 have mounted temporary pavilions on the grounds of the Arsenale or in alternative spaces farther afield. This year, 10 countries are participating for the first time: Angola, Bahrain, Bahamas, the Holy See (home of the Vatican), Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, Paraguay and, last but not least, the tiny 10,000-person Polynesian island of Tuvalu. Here are the four to know:
Angola : The African republic is the breakout star of the 55th Biennale. It’s the surprise winner of the Golden Lion for best national pavilion, beating out powerhouses like France, Denmark, Japan, the United States and Germany, the 2011 honoree. The young artist Edson Chagas has placed stacks of posters on the floor of the Palazzo Cini, near Accademia Bridge, containing images of sun-bleached refuse and doorways from the streets of Luanda, Angola’s capital city — a stark juxtaposition with the Catholic adornments of the building that hosts the exhibition. The jury commended Chagas’s success in communicating the “irreconcilability and complexity of site.”
Bahamas : The Caribbean country also made a splash, but an unexpectedly cold one. Its pavilion offers a rumination by Tavares Strachan on the 1909 expedition by Robert Peary and Matthew Alexander Henson to the North Pole. It includes a pair of ice blocks under glass, one harvested from Strachan’s own journey to the North Pole, the other a chemically exact synthesized copy, poetically paralleling questions about which man — the one of European or African descent — was truly the first to reach the pole and plant the American flag.
Bahrain: This group presentation by Mariam Haji, Waheeda Malullah and Camille Zakharia from the tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf offers a remarkably free expression of local culture and identity. The best is a series of photographs by Malullah that follows a woman veiled in a head-to-toe black abaya, carrying a cluster of purple balloons through a modernizing but conflict-prone urban landscape, past bullet holes and along a coastline of half-completed high rises.
Tuvalu: Located not in Venice but in the mainland city of Mestre about 45 minutes away, this pavilion features an allegory of climate change and transnational corporate interest by the Taiwanese artist Vincent J. F. Huang that is so ham-handed it borders on brilliance. The centerpiece is a hybrid oil pump-meets-guillotine, from which a slain likeness of the Wall Street bull hangs by its hind legs. Nearby are other sculptural “animal victims” of capitalism, to use the words of the artist, including a tortoise whose head is about to be cut off by the machine. Titled “Destiny Intertwined,” the installation is supposed to alert audiences to the rising water levels that threaten both Tuvalu and Venice. The first step in keeping Tuvalu from being wiped off the map is knowing that Tuvalu is on the map in the first place.
For the original report go to http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/on-view-the-venice-biennales-rookies-of-the-yea/