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Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

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By Susan Mackay
Dec 11, 2006 - 3:34:40 PM

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I feel deliciously gorged on art this weekend. Festival Noel was a feast of art and craft, ranging from the sublime technical brilliance of the Minnis family to incredible innovative craftwork of rag wreaths to sand bead necklaces. The diversity and quality of the work was stunning.     It was marvelous to witness such a selection of talent on this island.     I am only sad that this event is only held once a year.


It is December - how fast the year has gone!   I have been living in my little duplex for a year, and it seems incredible that twelve months have passed since the kids and I left Scotland to move back ‘home’ to Grand Bahama Island.     We had been away from here for almost two years, in our time away we discovered that we did NOT like the cold and dark of Scotland and while exploring different countries we learned so much about ourselves and the diversity of the world.


On our travels I was certainly fed by the many varied sculptures, exhibitions, architecture and public art that we witnessed.     In Argentina it seemed we were constantly stumbling on ferias, were everything from seed pods, forks, and any number of miscellaneous objects were transformed into beautiful crafts.  Galleries in London , New York , Scotland , New York , Scotland or Brazil were bursting with original and exciting contemporary art, and public art was on every corner we came to, particularly in Bogota , Colombia , Colombia .


I think for such a small island we are very lucky to have so many artists and crafts people as seen at Festival Noel.     In between events in Freeport , to keep abreast of what is happening out there can be a challenge.     Information about art on the other Bahamian islands or even the Caribbean is not readily or easily accessible.     I have such a hunger for art that I am always slightly disappointed that art is not recognised in Grand Bahama as the heart of community as it is in other countries and cities.       


My passion for art and my passion for this island melded last year and upon returning with the children I met with Grand Bahama artists Claudette Dean and Chantal Bethel. We had a beautiful inspired lunch, where I shared a vision for Grand Bahama to become a place steeped in Art – believing that art has the uncommon property of being unprejudiced in its positive effects throughout communities and society as a whole.   With much zest and excitement we decided to work together and promote Contemporary Art in Grand Bahama. We were delighted when Laurie Tuchel (Freeport Film Society, Bahamas Babies and The Grand Bahama Museum) also joined the team


Our organisation is called ST ARTS:     (literally START ART)


Our goals are to:

ST ART creating – Community Art Projects and Public Art Schemes.

ST ART talking – Community lecture series, talks to organisations and News articles,

ST ART sharing – Exhibitions, forums and events.


STARTS official launch will be early next year when the acclaimed Grand Bahamian Artist, Janine Antoni will attend. We are endorsed by the National Gallery of the Bahamas and after receiving a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts, we purchased 15 fantastic contemporary art books. On Tuesday, the 15th of December we will be presenting these books along with catalogues and books from the NAGB.     Representing The Endowment for Arts at this event will be Bahamian Artist, Antonius Roberts, who is internationally recognised for his stunning ‘Sacred Space’.


The books are beautiful and the world that they contain is truly International and absolutely cutting edge.  Whatever idea you may have in your head about contemporary art, come to the library and lose yourself in a realm that spans the world and addresses every imaginable idea. We have every contemporary discipline represented, we most likely have every country represented, and with the kind donation from the NAGB we certainly have our neighbours in Nassau represented.  

Until we have art events every week and on every street corner and a vibrant art identity for Grand Bahama, take a trip to the library and learn about, be inspired by and provoked by the amazing world of Contemporary Art.




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