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(PHOTOS) "A Question of Faith: The Journey of Freetown," opens at Gloria Banks Galleria
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Nov 13, 2009 - 1:28:13 AM

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(Slide show photos by Lyndah Wells)

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas -
"A Question of Faith: The Journey of Freetown," an historical perspective told through fibre art and an exhibition held a gala opening on November 12th at the Gloria Banks Galleria at the Rand Nature Centre in Freeport. In attendance for the event was the Minister of State for Culture the Hon Charles Maynard, and the Deputy Prime Minister's wife Mrs. Robin Symonette, among many other local and visiting guests, including Edis on Dames, Assistant Director of Culture and Percy 'Vola' Francism the 'King of Junkanoo'. The opening ceremony was led by Dr. Pamela Etuk and artist, Jackson Burnside gave remarks.

Curators for the exhibition are Chantal E.Y. Bethel, and Laurie N. Tuchel. Artistic advisor/curator, Antonius Roberts. Historical research, Darius Williams.

Participating artists in the exhibition are Lauren Austin, Chantal Bethel, Del Foxton, and Antonius Roberts. The Freetown participants in the quiltworks are: Rev Rufus Cooper, Romain Laing, Ahamal Lightbourn, Elizabeth Roberts, and Linda Robert s.

The exhibition gives the descendants of that old eastern settlement a quilt with enough warmth to cover their expansive histories as we journey from New Freetown, to Infantview Cemetery to Water Cay and on to Sweeting's Cay; where we spoke with healthy 104 years old resident, Firstina Baillou.

A project of the Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation, the exhibition is the result of a seven-month artistic process, historical documentation and cinematic recording of the history of the old Freetown by the inhabitants of new Freetown. Once located by the coast, all that is left of old Freetown is a cemetery called Infantview for its first inhabitant – a baby – and the ruins of an old house. The settlement was one of the first known communities of freed slaves on the island.

SLIDE SHOW Photos: Derek Carroll

Old Freetown is one of the oldest freed slaves settlements on Grand Bahama Island. After the Grand Bahama Port Authority restructured the area in the 1960's, the people of Old Freetown moved to New Freetown.  Old Freetown still holds remnants of the foundation stones of some of the earliest homes on Grand Bahama Island.

In 2007, in commemoration of  the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade act, The Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation presented an art Exhibition entitled Freedom Call . "As we were doing our research, we found it extremely difficult to obtain written information about Old Freetown , we then made the decision that we would begin our exploration and research in Old Freetown."

In this video you will see and/or hear from artist in resident, Lauren Austin; artist Chantal Bethel, Co-Chair of Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation; Laurie Tuchel, Co-Chair of Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation;  Mrs. Robin Symonette, wife of DPM Brent Symonette; Genius Cooper, and you will see locations such at Zion Baptist Church,  and Freetown Primary School.

Be sure to take in the EXHIBIT from November 13th through to the 28th at the Gloria Banks Gallery, Rand Nature Centre, Bahamas National Trust.

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