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Arts & Culture Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Bahamian Students Exhibit Artwork in Japan
By Felicity Ingraham
Mar 7, 2014 - 9:38:27 AM

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Nassau, Bahamas - In continuation with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s art theme, “The Journey Continues” for the country’s 40 years of Bahamian Independence, the exhibition has continued in a foreign venue. The inaugural exhibition opened at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas on October 21st, 2013, in collaboration with the Education Department at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

The exhibition was an overwhelming success, promoting the nation’s youth creative expression regarding the theme and pointed clearly to the rich prospects of greater works to come from the country’s young artistic community. There were eighteen artworks exhibited on the opening night from Bahamian youth ranging from ages eight to twenty-one. The youth also represented the following schools: Mt. Carmel Preparatory Academy, Renaissance Academy, St. Francis and Joseph Primary School, St. Anne’s, and Xavier’s Lower School.

Prior to the Inaugural exhibition, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas was extremely impressed by the works that Education Officer, Jordia Benjamin, decided that these works should be exhibited in other forums. Several galleries locally and internationally were contacted and one museum was thrilled to select a few pieces into an upcoming exhibition. The Hamada Children’s Museum of Art of Japan 17th Independent Exhibition which opened on January 18th, 2014 was particularly interested in the artworks created by Bahamian students between the ages of eight and thirteen. They asked that the works from the Bahamas be a part of their annual children’s exhibition. The Hamada Museum opened in 1996 with a primary focus on children and their art hoping to nurture children’s innate sensitivities and imaginations. The Museum encourages children to visit the museum, so they can revel in the experience of seeing works of children their age and hopefully inspire them to create.

“It was an honor for our children’s work to be invited to an international exhibition, especially an environment that has a similar mission in encouraging children to create art. The National Art Gallery’s Education Department also shares the same objective, says Jordia Benjamin. Art belongs to all and should be enjoyed by all”.

The Bahamas is the only Caribbean country represented in this exhibition, as children’s artwork from Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, German, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Korea, Bhutan, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia were displayed. The Hamada Children’s Museum was so impressed that they made the Bahamian youth artworks a part of their museum’s permanent collection, upon the closing date of the exhibition on the 16th of February. The Bahamian works of: Eashna Agarwal, Kayla Bain, Jernae Darville, Alexis Godet, Aysha Lockhart, Lex Fountain, Nick Fountain, Santana McKenzie and Camari Richardson were selected to the museum’s permanent collection.

“To be apart of any museum’s permanent collection is in itself a great accomplishment and for our youth to be included in an international museum’s collection expresses that we as an artistic nation can stand among and alongside other countries that produce respectable works. I hope this achievement encourages our Bahamian youth to continue to create, study this field and pursue it as a profession. This encouragement I’ve consistently shared with our youth whenever I’ve had the opportunity to do so; whether at their schools or here at the Gallery whenever they visit” said Education Officer of the NAGB, Ms. Benjamin.

“I am most thankful for the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to be the influential, encouraging element in supporting the arts the way they have done; for if it was not for their involvement in the Inaugural Exhibition, this vehicle for this type of international exposure would not have been possible” explained, Ms. Benjamin.

Director of Youth, Darron Turnquest, stated that “I am delighted and look forward to building a lasting relationship with The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in creating more avenues for our youth to display their talents”.

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