Solo Exhibition: Anina Major’s “Old Week Home”

Coming soon to Tern Gallery is internationally acclaimed Bahamian visual artist Anina Major’s first solo exhibition in The Bahamas. The exhibition will be on view from March 30 to May 13, 2023. [The gallery is located at Mahogany Hill, Western Road, in Nassau, The Bahamas.]

Description: TERN is proud to announce our upcoming exhibition, “Old Week Home,” a solo exhibition by Bahamian visual artist, Anina Major. The artist, who works primarily in ceramics and installation, investigates the relationships between self and place as a way of cultivating moments of reflection and a sense of belonging. “Old Week Home” Major’s first solo exhibition in her hometown Nassau, reflects upon childhood nostalgia, and celebrates the role of women in society, specifically those within the Bahamian straw industry.

The title of the exhibition takes its name from a festival originating in 19th-century New England, that served as a time for all former residents to return home and reconnect with their community. It is a jubilee that honors the past, present, and future. After relocating to the US in 1999, we welcome Major home to do just that with her latest body of work.

Through sculptural expression and video installation, Major pays reverence to the work of her grandmother, Saphora Newbold, a former straw vendor. By plaiting ceramic sculptures, she encourages the audience to appreciate the dexterity of clay, the delicateness of the weaving technique and the beauty of the craft tradition found in Bahamian straw wares. Whether informed from beach totes or stacked beach balls, Major’s artistic language is grounded in the cultural history of the women-led industry of straw weaving.

The work not only tells an autobiographical story, but it also serves as representation of a place and record of an experience that moves freely between cultural realms with no fixed position. Wooden shipping pallet walls and crushed conch shells that fabricate the supporting environment for this exhibition, sets the theme of migration as an undercurrent reminding us of those who live between, within and who long for the country. Majors’ series of ceramic straw dolls, the Bad Gyal Gang explore the socio-political and economic implications of souvenirs in relation to human connection. Adopting the raffia-sewn dolls often sold within the Straw Market to tourists and later exported as a symbol of cultural mobility, Major leverages the values of her own migration journey. It challenges the commoditizing of cultural values and the effects of globalization on traditional heritage from an anthropological perspective.

“Old Week Home” is a love letter to Bahamian culture, a homecoming, a celebration of Bahamians, the contributions of the myriad of people who influenced Major’s practice and an invitation to show appreciation.

Anina Major (she/her) is a visual artist from the Bahamas. Her decision to voluntarily establish a home contrary to the location in which she was born and raised motivates her to investigate the relationship between self and place as a site of negotiation. By utilizing the vernacular of craft to reclaim experiences and relocate displaced objects, her practice exists at the intersection of nostalgia, and identity. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship and serving as a mentor for the Saint Heron Ceramics Residency Program. Her work has been exhibited in The Bahamas, across the United States, and Europe and featured in permanent collections that include the National Gallery of The Bahamas, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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[Shown above: Anina Major’s “Ruby’s Easter Hat,” 2023, Glazed stoneware H16 x W12 x D20 inches.]

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