E X H I B I T I O N: Double Dutch: Frorup + Ramos – The Colour and the Shape
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
From the Gallery’s website . . .
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ Double Dutch series brings together artists from the region and diaspora to produce provocative bodies of work through collaboration and exchange. The project works against ideas of nationalism and the insularity of our creative environs by creating an experimental hub to explore regional and diasporic culture, our creative acumen and sensibilities.
The newest Double Dutch installment, The Colour and the Shape, will investigate the correlations between Bahamian artist Kendra Frorup and US-based, Puerto Rican artist Gabriel Ramos’ understanding and representation of cultural identity and its connection to childhood and growing up in the tropics.
The centrepiece of this collaboration focuses on Frorup’s and Ramos’ idea of drawing on signifiers from childhood. The immateriality and ephemerality of their collective experiences are constructed, deconstructed and then finally presented through the reconstruction of a space that seeks to elicit some kind of familiarity and intimacy. Within this exchange, the creative process and aesthetics are analysed to trigger memories from the past and of the past.
This experiential installation references nostalgia, childhood and the harmonies that exist within visual compositions that recall the failure and or the limitations of memory and how memories are recorded. The ephemeral nature of memory is exploited through the use of materials that harken back to island living including the ubiquitous breeze-block; an iconic marker knitting homes of the region together.
As nations moved from under the guidance of colonialism, the ventilation block became the icon associated with this freedom. Whether Hispanic, Anglophone, Francophone or Dutch, architecturally homes are physical and very intimate spaces of living outfitted with motifs that allow for ventilation in an often-confined space. The use of these blocks creating a porous quality letting elements like light, breath, sounds and mood in and out.
As the middle class boomed, matters of security became more entrenched and evident within the public consciousness. The fragility of young communities, the tenuous fluctuations of the middle class along with the rise of suburbia further transformed and reformed boundaries.
Frorup and Ramos’ exploitation of the tropical landscape, everyday objects and their renderings of surreal and imaginative imagery provides us with representations revealing something familiar and uncanny; something deeply dormant within our psyches.
The fractures that exist within the construction of memory are interrogated: How are memories ordered and arranged? How are large and small markers recalled in the present? How does sentiment work to provoke a kind of freedom, sorrow or ambiguity? How do patterns in our lives affect how memories are recalled? What triggers and points of familiarity can connect us to other moments in our lives, prompting moments that are not entirely referential but relational?
Attached to the element of memory and are points of pondering that reveal the shared importance of witnessing; leading to the moment where one can consider how acts of remembering and forgetting create a cyclical loop where the minutia and significant are all at once in a tumble.
Kendra Frorup was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas and uses her memories of this time in her art. After a childhood in The Bahamas, she welcomed the opportunity to study in the United States and began to create representational images that showed a commonality with her culture. Frorup earned her BFA in Sculpture at the University of Tampa and her MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University. She is currently Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of Tampa. Her work in Major International Collections includes The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, The Venice Biennale – Exposició Art Camp 2012, col·lecció FEDA, International through Andorra and Unesco. Recent selected exhibitions Include The Sixth National Exhibition, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas “The Global Caribbean: Focus on Caribbean Landscape,” Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Art Basel Venue, Miami, Florida and Musée International des Arts Modestes in Sète, France and Solo exhibition, “The Inner Temple Project,” National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas.
Gabriel Ramos was born 1987 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and currently lives and works in Florida. He obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of South Florida in 2011 and is currently an MFA candidate at Cornell University. His work has been featured in many local and international publications and has been shown nationally and internationally. Some of his noted achievements include participation in the recent exhibition “Digital” at the National Gallery of Jamaica, The Fotofest 2014 Biennial and The Gasparilla International Film Festival in 2012. His current artwork is mainly photography, but it has expanded into sculpture, installation, and video.
Double Dutch supporters argue that the concept of bringing local, regional and diasporic based artists together to work with a group of ideas personal, political and otherwise is crucial to the development of a contemporary Bahamian identity. These artists are often divided linguistically and geographically but united by common historical, economic or practice-based conditions. For this reason, the project attempts to create and maintain ties throughout the Caribbean, the wider diaspora, with the NAGB as pilot and conduit.
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas is committed to engaging the history of Bahamian art and visual culture and supporting contemporary movements and experimental art practice through programming and community development.