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Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay Last Updated: May 7, 2015 - 7:57:38 AM
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Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
“I” – A Curious Collaboration - Feb 14, 2014 - 10:48:07 AM

19 Artists & Makers - 6 Countries - 6 Weeks to Collaborate & Deliver

The idea for “I” came from a delightful Christmas present from Santa Claus! The Art of Not Making by Michael Petry, did not quite fit into my red Christmas stocking, but was welcome all the same!

The premise of the book is an in depth look into artists who use ‘makers’. In other words artist who sometimes find others to fabricate their exotic ideas. This is usually due to the technical requirements that the artist may have no experience with.  However, even if the artist never touches the work, it is usually the sole property and ownership of the artist – the maker is not acknowledged...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
The Meaning of Flowers - Jan 16, 2014 - 11:42:59 PM

I’ve been fighting shadows, in this case the shadow has a name, ‘Insurance Company’.

A little hidden clause in my contract means that although they will pay for water damage, they will not pay for wood that has rotted due to water damage. Apparently, I was supposed to telepathically know that there was water leaking behind the pristine white tiles, before it became ‘rotted wood’.  To placate me, the smooth-voiced man on the phone from the insurance company, apologises for not calling me back, and notes that he will—as a special request—send another inspector to the property to reassess their denial of my claim...
The Great Tapestry of Scotland - Nov 7, 2013 - 6:41:02 PM

I did not expect to be moved by a tapestry, but I should have known better…

Stitching has long fascinated me. Maybe due to the early influence of Maggie Lechie’s needlework pictures framed in my family home or the white linen table cloths with neat embroidery stitches done by my Mother when she was young. Either way stitching fascinates me.

Stitching, as a general term, encompasses anything from the practical – dressmaking, quilting and darning, to the aesthetic, for example embroidery – with a plethora of different types of stitches – yet there are fundamental similarities to all forms: There is a front and back; an element of male and female; there is a sense of continuity as the thread is pulled through...
Arts & Culture : National Art Gallery (NAGB)
Artwork defaced at National Art Gallery of The Bahamas - Mar 29, 2013 - 1:06:38 AM

Nassau, Bahamas - Late last week, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) issued an apology to to the public and to Grand Bahamian artist Susan Moir Mackay on the defacing of her multimedia piece entitled Conversation which hangs prominently in the NAGB's newest exhibition, SingleSex. SingleSex features imagery of women by Bahamian women artists and is a part of the Transforming Spaces 2013 Art Tour.

The piece Conversation depicts the female nude form with physical openings placed at the throat, the heart and the genitalia/reproductive areas of the body. On the left side of the form hangs a white stone tied to a piece of twine against a dark...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Roots of a Contemporary Alchemist - Mar 17, 2012 - 10:58:34 AM

Transforming Spaces opens next weekend – 24th and 25th March. The annual event that takes tour buses around art galleries in New Providence for a feast of art, has a twist this year.  The organisers sent out a call for proposals based on the theme “Fibre”, specifically a re-imagining of indigenous fibre.

It seems to me that with every piece of art I make, I hit a moment where I curse that I ever had the idea!  This moment hit me very clearly when standing in Port Lucaya on a cool dark winters evening, with my pink folder in hand, pen and a pair of scissors handy,  as I approached a young woman sitting on a step busily typing on her laptop.

She is surrounded by others who, like her, are taking advantage of free wifi... 
Arts & Culture
Local artist to present, "Introduction to Inspiration" as ARTiculate TALKS are launched - Sep 22, 2011 - 11:54:37 AM

Freeport, Bahamas -  Art Nucleus presents, "Introduction to Inspiration: One degree to Brilliance" with artist Susan Moir Mackay BA (hons) on Thursday 22nd September 2011 at L’Utopia from 8-9pm.
Looking at what it takes to create personal brilliance,  this short talk will show easy ways to inspire creativity,  push boundaries, and will follow the creative process
from brainstorming to finished project.  Open conversation at the conclusion.
Please join us and bring your friends!  Free to Artist, Patron of the Arts and Benefactor members;  non-members: $5.00 (minimum) donation towards ongoing art projects. Art Nucleus is located off East Sunrise Highway...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
The launch of Art Nucleus - Aug 9, 2011 - 12:14:29 PM

"Art Nucleus is situated in L'Utiopia, Les Fountains, E. Sunrise Highway Grand Bahamas, The Bahamas. We are a collective of fine artists; painters, sculptors, poets, writers, film makers, play writers, conceptual artists, photographers, who are committed to encouraging and supporting each other in our art process and work. We offer a place in the community to foster art and artists through space, equipment, mentoring, exhibitions, events, workshops, and talks”.

Jacki Boss and Susan Moir Mackay are professional artists living in Grand Bahama who have a common understanding that artists thrive when supported by each other and communities thrive when art is entrenched in the fabric of its society...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
(Streaming Audio) Into the Crimson Room - Truth or Taboo - Jun 20, 2011 - 6:00:41 PM

I find it inspiring, exciting and fascinating to read about women artists that are expressing themselves and their art in a surprisingly fresh way, even though many of the artists have been working since the 60’s.

The art work is diverse, ranging from installations to performance art, new media, painting, patchwork, photography, and ceramics.

What appeals to me is the raw energy and unflinching truths that are portrayed. There is a steady gaze of comprehension, comprehension of the artists self and comprehension of the context – society- in which the artist exists. Self – being the pivotal point of reference for a large amount of the work...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
A State of Brilliance - Jan 13, 2009 - 9:16:32 AM

My latest rant:  It was a windy day - I confess.  And the march up and down Midshipman had done little to quell my feverish mind.  So by the time my friend happened to bump into me on the last stretch before the corner to my house, I was still burning with words that had not managed to be tugged out of my head by the wind!

A patient woman - she stood and listened.

We ended with an agreement to make crowns for her upcoming birthday.

Sadly we didn't, some ideas need preparation to be born….but my topic that day has still been gestating in my mind...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Do you have everything that you need? - Dec 23, 2008 - 3:46:26 PM

My daughter, Fiona, has just finished a school project on space, studying the solar system. Fiona's best friend, Caitlin, and another friend and classmate, Bronique, are showing off their new found knowledge at the end of a playdate recently, gazing at the stars, and trying to point out the constellations, with great debate as to whether it is Venus or Mars or Jupiter that is appearing so close and bright as they stare heavenward.

The children's enthusiasm for the subject sparks a more grown up conversation later in the evening, when it becomes apparent that a passion for becoming more deeply acquainted with the names and locations of those twinkling nightly lights doesn't stop in grade school....
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Disparity Reality - Woman - Dec 16, 2008 - 1:34:25 PM

My godson wandered into my ‘creative’ bedroom last year.  His eyes widened, and he turns to me and says, “Aunty Susan you are not a real woman to have such an untidy room!”.

Far from being offended, I was fascinated by his perception that a ‘real woman’ is tidy.  Inspiration for art can come from the strangest places. 

His comment prompted me to think about being a woman – the typical image being her figure - elsewhere in western society the longed for frame of a woman is tall and thin to the point of emaciation - whereas the men in The Bahamas seem to have a deep-seated admiration for a more voluptuous form.  Which defines 'woman'?  The image of a woman that is seen in magazines, or the common reality of something slightly more curvaceous!?
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Summer and Tea - Sep 10, 2008 - 10:45:33 AM

Summer: heavy humid air, searing sun, sultry ocean, creating a weight of time.  Many people have left to escape the heat or to explore new places, to vacation, take a break from the familiar.

When friends start to return I am interested how alive they seem, as if the
perfume of their vacation has vivified their soul and they still wear the
fragrance.  A fresh perspective, a time out or an adventure into something new,
will create that energy.

This summer, I have not gone away.  I have stayed to work on projects and
explore the peculiar state of being a childless mother...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
All That Jazz - May 26, 2008 - 8:59:37 AM
My children and their friend, who share my ecclectic taste in music, are not impressed. I am playing an old Miles Davies cd in the car....our favourite place to have a 'car party'. The saxophone skips and dances over and around the sound of a deep throbbing cello. There seems to be a rhythm, then it falls over as a note slips down unexpectedly.

I am surprised how passionately the children dislike it. BUT today I cant face the hard core punk that is the only alternative I happen to have in the car. We have a lot of driving-well as much as one can do in Grand Bahama-and we listen to the CD a couple of times, between stopping in and out of shops...
Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
An interview with artist, Claudette Dean - May 3, 2008 - 5:26:08 PM

I have known the Grand Bahama artist, Claudette Dean for a few years now, and I am always struck by her quiet intelligence.  It seems this ability to observe humanity through her warm eyes translates well onto the canvas as her success as an artist has grown from strength to strength.  A piece of her work has been purchased by the National Gallery of the Bahamas and is now part of their permanent collection - impressive for the Canadian born, who is now a true true Bahamian.  Exhibiting since 1993, Dean has exhibited in the Bahamas, the U.S.A and Canada.

With her Art Show, "Lumiere" running presently at the Freeport Art Centre, from April 25th 2008 until May 17th 2008, I stole sometime to ask the artist a few questions to offer us a peek of her vision of the world.......art and otherwise.....

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
An interview with artist, Chantal Bethel - Feb 22, 2008 - 10:44:02 AM
Chantal Bethel is a woman whose bright spirit is immediately apparent in her eyes. Petite, well dressed and with a passion for earrings that betray her artistic passion, she is recognised as one of Grand Bahamas finest artists.

With a long and colourful resume she is well established in The Bahamas and has a well earned international reputation.

I went to her studio to have a sneak preview prior to her January 2008 show- “Paradise?”

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Winter Wonderland - Dec 24, 2007 - 12:48:24 AM

This cold front is a shock!   Yesterday was beautiful, an impossible fusion of cool air, warm sun and endless blue sky. But today with the grey I am reminded of my home land. The children and I will be returning to Scotland for Christmas.   I am not sure my sun supine body is ready for frigid cold and dark!


However, the anticipation of freezing weather reminds me about the artistic possibilities in a cold climate.


Ms Smilla’s Feeling for Snow By Pete Hoeg, is a beautiful book, in which it is explained that the eskimo language has innumerable words to describe the many different states and nuances of snow...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Freedom Call - Dec 17, 2007 - 2:13:49 PM
Slavery is an immense topic. As an artist, I was challenged to find a point of reference in my life to explore when asked to participate in an art show that had this theme. I have lived an incredibly privileged life, the only ‘slavery’ I can imagine experiencing is my own dark thoughts and self deprecation, and the seeming endless slavery to possessions, money, power, and image that is the unrecognised plight of Western society at the cost of our environment (and souls). However widespread and communal this “mental slavery” may be, here in the relative ease of a ‘free’ Bahamas, this is NOT in any way comparable to the horrors of the slave trade and slavery.

On Friday, November 9th 2007, over two hundred people attended the opening night of Freedom Call at the Glory Harris Banks Gallery at The Bahamas National Trust Rand Nature Centre . This art exhibition commemorated the 200th Anniversary of the British Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and it was an amazing event, with songs, dance, poetry and speeches - an event that will be recorded in the history of this island...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Art for Guerrillas - Nov 3, 2007 - 5:04:04 PM

I was no longer satisfied with a vicarious life. Instead of reading about Argentina I wanted to GO to Argentina. Instead of reading about a heroine- I wanted to BE the heroine in my own life. Instead of reading about other artists I wanted to BE an artist.
I wanted the conversation with God, not read someone elses!


Today feels like another moment like that. There is something so cerebral about reading and writing.   SO clinical and somewhat dry, not truly expressing the messy wetness of life, even with a weighty thesaurus or dictionary. In this column, I want to share my passion for art, but suddenly the words seem so very lacking...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
Drawing - as easy as 1,2,3. - Searching for a truthful line - Aug 22, 2007 - 12:04:51 PM

An ‘artist’ means many things to many people.   For me, though it has been a constant in my life, I have not always understood what I have been impelled to create or why.

Whilst working on the show ‘Into the Crimson Room’, I wrote this in my diary;


“.....comprehension at last.  

I am looking for the truth - The truth of a line or a structure.  

I am searching for the truth of an emotion or a passion.  

Just as I am in my life, looking for the truth of love and being”

When I tell people I meet that I am an artist, the usual response is...

Columns : Art Life - Susan Mackay
"Piss Flowers" - Searching for Self - Jul 15, 2007 - 11:21:46 PM

It’s that time of year, when my children have left for the summer, to spend time with their Dad in Canada
I confess I find it hard.  Not only do I miss them, but I realise that part of the ache and disorientation I feel is due to the shift from being ‘mum’ to Susan.  Being ‘Mum’ requires my constant attention; the day runs on a schedule punctuated by the needs of my two children. Without them, the world tips and I have to rediscover my sense of self.


I have a friend who likes to ask challenging questions. “Who are you?” is a favourite...

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