The Islands of the Bahamas host more than three million visitors each year, but only a small percentage of tourists venture off the beaten path to explore The Bahamas' vibrant art scene. The launch of the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibit at the Waterloo Centre for the Arts (WCA) in Iowa on October 14 not only elevates The Bahamas' profile in the international art world, but it also stimulates an ongoing exchange between artists from The Bahamas and the United States.
The comprehensive exhibit features more than 40 pieces of artwork by a diverse group of Bahamian artists, including the late Amos Ferguson, Brent Malone, and Jackson Burnside, as well as contemporary artists Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith, Eddie Minnis, John Beadle, John Cox, Kendal Hanna, Max Taylor, and Stan Burnside. The artists will also participate in a two-day symposium in Iowa that will explore the socio-political context of their work.
On October 6, U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Nicole A. Avant announced the launch of the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibit at a press conference at the National Gallery of Art in Nassau. Antonius Roberts, a sculptor whose work focuses on the spirituality found in the Bahamas' natural landscape, attended the press conference and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to share his source of inspiration with an international audience. Roberts, an alumnus of a U.S. Department of State exchange program, said he hopes the exhibit in the United States will inspire young Bahamian artists to embrace their gifts.
The Waterloo Centre for the Arts attracted more than 116,000 visitors last year and boasts one of the largest collections of Caribbean art in the United States.
Visitors to the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibit in Iowa will also be the first to view Match Me If You Can, a documentary on the life of Amos Ferguson, produced by American filmmakers Karen and Tom Neuwrith. Amos Ferguson is often referred to as the grandfather of Bahamian art and is the country's best-known intuitive artist. He used everyday items such as house paints, cardboard, and plywood to create paintings with spiritual themes, simple shapes, quirky subjects, and blocks of strong color.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is proud to sponsor the "Master Artists of The Bahamas” exhibit during the International Year for People of African Descent to bring greater recognition to the cultural contributions of African descendants. Through the U.S. Embassy's support, a Bahamian filmmaker will travel with the artists to Iowa to document the opening of the exhibit and capture the artists' dialogue for use by local schools to stimulate the creativity of youth and inspire The Bahamas' next generation of artists.
For further information on the "Master Artists of The Bahamas” exhibit, please visit the Waterloo Center of the Art's website.