“Fairwind,” a permanent exhibition exploring over 150 years of Bahamian art and culture, opens on Bahamas Independence Day—Tuesday, July 10—at the Convention Arts and Entertainment Center at Baha Mar in Nassau, The Bahamas. The Nassau Guardian reports:
[. . .] The exhibition documents the ideologies and beliefs of The Bahamas from the early culture of the 1800s to the contemporary practices of today. Designed and curated by The Current at Baha Mar, the exhibition is the largest collection of original Caribbean art at a resort anywhere in the world, as well as the single largest collection of Bahamian art ever exhibited. Curated as a themed compilation of paintings, sculpture and photography, “Fairwind” shines light on important Bahamian narratives, both past and present, providing viewers with an in-depth, native understanding of The Bahamas and its culture.
It highlights prominent artists whose works are also featured throughout the guest rooms, public spaces and casino at Baha Mar, including Brent Malone, Amos Ferguson, Maxwell Taylor, Kendal Hanna, Stan Burnside, Jackson Burnside, Sue Bennett Williams, Lynn Parotti, Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Antonius Robert and John Beadle. [. . .] “The Fairwind exhibition is inspired by the ideologies and artistic expressions of the early generations of Bahamian artists, as well as the exciting works of our contemporaries,” said John Cox, creative art director, Baha Mar. “We look forward to introducing this historical collection of works to both Baha Mar guests and local residents.”
The Fairwind exhibition experience begins with the genius wall, a rotating segment paying homage to one creative Bahamian artist at a time, highlighting key artists who have made significant impacts on Bahamian art. The exhibition will open by showcasing the works of Kendal Hanna, an influential painter and sculptor known as The Bahamas’ first abstract expressionist. Viewers will then move on to the intuitive wall, highlighting Bahamian artists known for working primarily on instinct, without formal training during their careers. Artists showcased on the intuitive wall include Amos Ferguson, Nettica Symonette, John Weaver, Wellington Bridgewater and Tony McKay.
The exhibition progresses through additional themes, including “the idealized landscape”, portraying The Bahamas as a sunny, tropical paradise, and “the Bahamian life”, which reveals the islands as a less idealized space and showcases the struggles and faith of the Bahamian people. The Junkanoo painting wall mirrors the vibrant Junkanoo parade, including the patterns that line each costume, the energy of the dancers and the noise of the streets. More celebration follows throughout the exhibition with the Women’s wall, a homage to matriarchy and the strength of Bahamian women; “the Bahamian Project” offers a series of portraits highlighting significant Bahamian individuals; the African and Eastern influence walls highlight the influence of the two major cultures on Bahamian art; and the spiritual wall, which highlights the balance of religion and spirituality in Bahamian culture, loops viewers nearly back to the beginning of the exhibition.
The Fairwind exhibition ends with the collaborations wall, a compilation of works by artists who have worked collectively on paintings, including Toby Lunn and Cox; the Burnside brothers and Beadle; and lastly a work by emerging artists Jessica Whittingham, NyaKrystien Greene and J’Aime Mitchell.
In bridging works by both seasoned and emerging artists, the exhibition demonstrates how techniques and ideas are passed down through generations, keeping alive the vibrancy and cultural significance of the art of collaboration.
[Above: A piece by John Cox that will be on display in “Fairwind.”]