A Bahamian discussion about buildings, memory and identity

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A post by Peter Jordens.

Identity & Memory: Losing Our Traditional Structures, Losing Ourselves?

Artists’ Talk and panel discussion with Nicolette Bethel, Margot Bethel and Anthony Jervis

Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 6:30 pm

National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Corner of West Street and West Hill Street

Nassau, The Bahamas

As part of the platform of the Seventh National Exhibition (NE7) Antillean: an Ecology – an exhibition that asked artists to think about Bahamian identity through the lens of race, privilege, economy and class – the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is hosting an Artists’ Talk and panel discussion with cousins Nicolette and Margot Bethel and architect Anthony Jervis on April 21. The conversation, ‘Identity & Memory’, moderated by Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal and Fine Arts at the College of the Bahamas (COB), will take as its starting point the collaborative work ‘If’ by the Bethel cousins currently on display in the PS room of the NAGB. A re-membering of their grandmother’s house on East Bay Street which was (accidentally?) bulldozed, the installation acts as a repository of memory and history and ventures into territories of class and race, Bahamian architecture and landscape and identity. The panel discussion will ask: Who are we and where is our history if our historic buildings are torn down?

The Bethel cousins spent much of their childhood on the East Bay property where both their fathers grew up. After their grandmother’s death, they began the process of renovation, only to suddenly find it demolished inexplicably and without permission in 2005. To this day, they have no idea who was responsible for the demolition. “I like the idea that the three panelists can bring different yet complementary perspectives to a very layered social, political or personal drama,” explained Margot Bethel. “I hope we are successful in conveying that. And I also hope that some unexpected discussion is generated. I am looking forward to hearing what Tony has to say about this from the perspective of his field as an architect whose practice is concerned with restoration.”

Dr. Nicolette Bethel is a teacher, writer and anthropologist. She was the Director of Culture in The Bahamas and is now an associate professor in the Social Sciences at the COB. Margot Bethel is an artist and designer with an active interest in the environmental movement. Anthony Jervis is an architect, responsible for the restoration of the NAGB.

Sources: https://www.facebook.com/TheNAGB (April 15, 2015 post) and http://www.thenassauguardian.com/lifestyles/arts-and-culture/55465-whats-on-at-the-nagb

For more about ‘If’, go to http://www.thenassauguardian.com/lifestyles/arts-and-culture/54617-re-membering-the-past.

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