Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas


Jaqueline Bishop (for the Huffington Post’s Arts and Culture section) turns the spotlight on Amanda Coulson, director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, her trajectory, and her contributions to the art scene in the Bahamas. Here are just a few excerpts; see the full article in the link below:

“The thing that is always tripping us up in the Caribbean is nationalism. We need to start thinking regionally, because in fact we share a similar history, a similar legacy and a common culture. We share more in common than not, and we can learn so much from each other by pooling closer together.” So maintains Amanda Coulson, who is Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. She continues, “The mandate of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, founded in 2003, is to preserve and promote Bahamian art. But increasingly I am finding that the term Bahamian art is quite elastic. I find myself asking questions like: What about people who have lived and worked in the country for many years but are not Bahamian citizens? What if you are married to a Bahamian and have children here and lived most of your life here? Isn’t there a place for you at the table too? How can I wrap regional artists into the mix of what is Bahamian art? These are some of the thoughts that I am preoccupied with these days.”

It is a forward-thinking and breathtaking proposition for someone who is the head of a national art gallery.

But perhaps this is no surprise coming from a woman who has always been traversing boundaries. Amanda Coulson was born in the United States to an American mother and a Bahamian father. She would be raised between England and the Bahamas, and would go on to get bachelor’s degrees in European Cultural Studies and Art History in France. From France she would pursue a master’s degree in Art History at New York University. Following her master’s degree Coulson would follow a peripatetic route that would see her working in an auction house focused on old master works in New York, being a film producer in Los Angeles, working in art galleries in Europe, being a critic for several notable art publications, before she and her husband decided to form the now renowned Volta Art Fair, which is focused on new and emerging art and artists. [. . .]

In so many ways the development of an indigenous Bahamian art parallels the development of art in many parts of the Caribbean. There have been two successive waves of Bahamian art. One that started in the 1950s as a tie-in with the independence movement, and a more recent generation of artists led by the likes of Blue Curry who are the offspring, so to speak, of an older generation of “master” artists who set about building structures, including galleries and an art school, on the islands of the nation state. [. . .]

For full article, see

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