The visual arts community of The Bahamas functions as an ecosystem. Although this ecosystem continues to expand and to push boundaries; there are a few gaps that need to be filled. Furthermore, the gaze on organizations and institutions to supply every need for the community becomes taxing and overwhelming on those spaces. Therefore, this blog will serve as a safe space for information to be given and received. A safe space for concerns to be voiced and hopefully manifested into solutions. I hope that the dialogues produced on this forum will spill over tangibly and provide healing to the necessary areas of the community.
The ecosystem consists of artists, commercial art galleries, national galleries, privately owned gallery spaces, art students, educational spaces, art enthusiasts, collectors, patrons, and donors. Each party plays an integral role in the sustaining of this system. However, where one or a few parties lack, other entities support - too often, when we rely on certain spaces to keep on lending support until their initial purpose is lost. Moreover, the lack within the system is not seen as important, thus throwing off the equilibrium further. Pin-pointing a lack within a certain aspect of the system does not negate the work that has, is and will be done.
Realizing our shortcomings shows awareness of what is necessary and what we deem important. Moreover, within an industry whose participants thrive from critiques, we should not be afraid to critique the system that we exist in. With that being said, to critique is not synonymous with demonizing. To critique means, and is not isolated to, to identify what is working, what is not working, referencing how this thing has worked in other places or history and discussing how that they can come together to form cohesion.
The most valuable resource that the visual arts community of The Bahamas has is its artists. Artists are natural problem solvers. While providing solutions poses valuable, being readily available to carry out the solution is invaluable. Healthy exchanges are equal give and take. If we are prepared to take from this system, we have to be prepared to give. Whether it’s giving time, knowledge, a helping hand, advice, we are needed to sustain this system. Hopefully, the more we give and expand, the lesser our responsibilities become. Hopefully, the more information we disseminate, the more our needs are met. Hopefully, the more we share and investigate and the more gaps we notice, the more imbalance we see, the more we are motivated to work towards equilibrium.
As an artist, what is needed for your practice to thrive within The Bahamas. What are you prepared to do in order to make that happen? Would you be open to collaborating with others who may have similar concerns to provide and follow through with a solution?