Bermuda Biennial explores conflicts in island life


This article by Sarah Lagan appeared in Bermuda’s Sun. Follow the link below for the original report. Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Rock fever is a well-known — albeit temorary — affliction in Bermuda yet islanders often speak of how they live on the edge of paradise.

The Bermuda National Gallery’s upcoming Biennial addresses the many conflicting perceptions of island life and allows them to inform the artwork displayed.

This is the first time in its 11-year history that the biennial has taken on a theme and it is titled A View From The Edge.

Hence the work, created by Bermudians and residents has a sense of island vernacular through mediums as diverse as paint and photography to installation and video.

BNG director Lisa Howie told the Bermuda Sun: “We are asking artists certain questions — if sense of identity has been informed by their geography, if they found the notion of an island or being an islander was one that was either limiting or limitless and if there was any paradox of this feeling or idea of say whether they felt trapped or liberated. It really was a question of both simultaneous identity and perspective.”

In another first for the show, it will be spread across two galleries this year — BNG East opening on June 15 and BNG City Hall opening on June 20. The artists were encouraged to take their own risks in the creation of their work.

Jurors this year are Isolde Brielmaier — an NYU visiting professor and Amanda Coulson — director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Former juror Franklin Sirmans to the island to do a talk on June 20.

Biennial info

BNG east

  • June 15 — The Bermuda National Gallery East hosts its Biennial — an extention of the main Bermuda National 
Gallery show at City Hall. Monday — Friday: 10am — 4pm; Saturday: 10am — 2pm.


  • June 20 — Opening of the Bermuda Biennial at the Bermuda National Gallery at City Hall from 11am to 4pm. If you have any questions, contact or call 295-9428.

An overview of the Biennial artists and their work is based on their initial concepts:

  • Thesesa Airey — Habitat Bubbles (digital art on metal): Airey comments on the preservation of our eco-system, protecting our little bubble.
  • Meredith Andrews — (Resin print): Known for portraiture series which BNG exposed recently by exhibiting with her Mother and Father series, Andrews is now working with young people looking at the interpretation of them on the edge of either adulthood or decisions within their personal growth.
  • Will Collieson — (Still life): Collieson continues with his reinterpretation of objects. In his installation, he is creating a new architecture of time that is completely abstract. “It is like a moving time capsule — the idea of objects in memory and taking you on a journey”, said BNG director Lisa Howie.
  • Signe Constable — (Digital photography): An emerging photographer, Constable’s piece looks at her personal experience about loneliness in Tokyo juxtaposed with some of the experiences she describes as being profound.
  • James Cooper — (Digital print): Cooper addresses photography and its potential shift into sculpture — his photographs have been intersected into.
  • Russell de Moura — Nary the Twain Shall Meet (photo manipulation): de Moura has self-defined boundaries where he limited himself in terms of what work he could draw from in order to create his photo manipulations. He looks at old snap shots and hand painted transparencies and is building back up a new picture.
  • Vaughan Evans — View From The Edge of Abbott’s Cliff (relief print on Chinese paper): Known for his wood relief and block prints, Evans has taken a very colourful landscape and rendered it in black and white.
  • John Gardner — Triangle (projection and sound). In collaboration with Anna Clifford (dance), and Tiffany Paynter (spoken word): With architecture as Gardner’s background, generally speaking his objects seem to have a real build-in or construction element to them. He has a triangle shape framed in steel with water and is looking at the idea of the Bermuda triangle itself.

When you get into the language of the poem it is about getting to the very edge of our existence historically, geographically…

  • Charlie Godet Thomas — (video Blues Poem and photography print on satin paper): Godet Thomas offers a monologue of an imaginary character who experiences despair and isolation.

He teases the existential quality of existence on an island. He is interested in process.

  • Antoine Hunt — Islet (time lapse video), and Juniperus (installation): Hunt addresses the historical value of the cedar tree and where it is placed in the heart of the culture.
  • Christina Hutchings, Horizon Line Room (painted wood): Hutchings is interested in reconstructing space and speaks of the island’s unique geographical isolation and that having an influence on the constricts.
  • Teresa Kirby Smith — Prime Abstracts, Blue Light (archival inkjet print): Viewed as a night photographer Kirby Smith is now looking at playing light through various objects to arrive at these abstract pieces.
  • Catherine Lapsley — My Life In Number series (acrylic on canvas): Lapsley’s pieces demand some time for interpretations. They speak on self-imposed restrictions living in Bermuda.
  • Peter Lapsley — Deconstructure (24k gold leaf and glass): Lapsley references the moment when sunlight breaks through dense clouds and illuminates a spot in the ocean. Deconstructed images in architecture he render with gold leaf and glass.
  • Jon Legere — Machiman; Villains; Untitled (acrylic, oil and paper on wood as well as mixed media): Legere’s work comments on the information age and how we are completely overloaded with information. The ‘fabrics’ are all elements and layering of the computer age.

He says his work is: “A glimpse at our anxious culture”.

  • Dany Pen — Grooming Goods (new media): Pen talks on commodity and how it creates obsessions in Bermuda but also she looks at cotton in particular and its historical value in the development of Bermuda and entire Atlantic trade.
  • Alan C Smith — Ruptured Rapture, Sky is a Mirror (photographic inkjet print with archival inks on matte cotton paper): Smith talks about the process in terms of what he is doing to make his pictures. The series is a version of portraiture.
  • Edwin ME Smith — Culture of Entitlement series (mixed media): Smith looks at how Bermudians take land and identify space as ‘mine’ with ropes and canvas when preparing to follow the Bermuda Day parade and how that reflects our culture.
  • Michael J Walsh — Nothing is Sacred (mixed media): An installation image — Walsh’s structure represents the hangman’s gallows.

He will have traditional bermuda kites hanging from a tree for a period of time until their state of decay forces the object to be removed.

He is interested in the idea of where does our past go — does it remain ungrounded or do we bring it to the fore?

  • Ami Zanders — When the Bow Breaks (mixed media): Zanders addresses how our children are affected by violence and abuse. A very different perspective on A View From The Edge.

For the original report go to—Entertainment/Article/Biennial-explores-conflicts-in-island-life/9/908/78276

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