Dame Marguerite Recognizes Women Artists

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Caption: Nassau, Bahamas – Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling gave remarks at the Opening of the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Exhibition, “INSTINCT,” September 18, featuring the work of nine female artists of The Bahamas: Chantal Bethel, Sue Bennett-Williams, Jessica Colebrooke, Claudette Dean, Lisa Codella, Holly Parotti, Susan Katz-Lightbourn, Ana-Lisa Wells, and Nadine Seymour-Munroe. The work of the artists caught the mind and spirit through the female experience. (BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Celebrating the accomplishments of women artists, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General, opened the Central Bank of The Bahamas art exhibition, “INSTINCT” – the new artwork of nine dynamic painters and sculptors on September 18.

Dame Marguerite said the display showed a labour of love and in some cases a glimpse of their innermost thoughts, fears, joys, and perhaps a piece of their soul, all for our enjoyment and edification.

“These women have taken on art as a life-long passionate cause and pursued its development and evolution with dogged tenacity alongside the pursuit of more traditional careers, as they loved and nurtured their families,” she noted.

“The Central Bank of The Bahamas has hosted many art exhibitions over the years and has been instrumental in giving exposure to many Bahamian artists.  As locals and foreigners alike walk through these doors on a daily basis to conduct business, they would see that these walls are routinely covered with the self-expressions of the various artists among us,” said Dame Marguerite.

“This evening marks yet another chapter in that important legacy and I extend my appreciation to the management of this national institution for the role it continues to play in this nation’s cultural development even as it leads and regulates the development of our financial services sector.  Who said that high finance and art could not co-exist?”

Dame Marguerite singled out Mrs. Sue Bennett-Williams, one of the featured artists, who commenced an art program at her home studio in 1993.

She said Mrs. Bennett-Williams has assisted children as young as five years old in developing an appreciation for the universal language of art through the establishment of a comprehensive art program.

She also said it is reported via the Central Bank website that every June for the past decade or so, the Central Bank of the Bahamas has hosted the children from the After-School Music and Art Classes or ASMAC, with their year-end art exhibition.

“Mrs. Bennett-Williams is not alone though.  I am advised that represented among this illustrious group of women are high school teachers, college professors, curators, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and yes, wives and mothers, representing The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States,” said Dame Marguerite.

Looking at the broader perspective, Dame Marguerite continued: “Art and culture are viewed as so essential to a country’s national development and identity that the United Nations has developed several conventions that highlight the importance of heritage and cultural diversity as critical components of national identity,” she said.

“The pieces on display at the INSTINCT exhibition here represent the personal identity of the individual artists, but the principle remains unchanged.  The Bahamas having signed onto the following UNESCO Conventions: the 1972 World Heritage Convention, the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention, and the Diversity in Cultural Expression Convention, is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to art and cultural development as being intrinsic to overall national development.”

Dame Marguerite said that The Bahamas Government has declared 2014 as the year of culture and has recognized 41 Bahamians as Culture Warriors for their life-long commitment to the development of Bahamian art and culture – and she fully expected to see some of the artists present to be recognized in the years ahead.

“The Bahamas having signed onto the following UNESCO Conventions: the 1972 World Heritage Convention, the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention, and the Diversity in Cultural Expression Convention, is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to art and cultural development as being intrinsic to overall national development.”

“This national declaration gives this exhibition greater meaning and added significance.  It is my hope that this recognition at the highest level of government inspires you and strengthens your resolve to continue with your important, but sometimes misunderstood work,” said Dame Marguerite.

Her Excellency highlighted the words of Claudette Dean, who described her art as “expressing the inexpressible through colour, form, and word.”

“Your many contributions to the development of culture at home and abroad are invaluable because art is universal in its language and defies time in its relevance to the human experience and the development of nations,” said Dame Marguerite.

The Governor General also thanked the artists whose works were on display in the central Bank’s foyer and said they were all Culture Warriors in their own rights.

The exhibition featured nine Bahamian artists: Sue Bennett-Williams, Chantal Bethel, Lisa Codella, Jessica Maycock-Colebrook, Claudette Dean, Sue Katz, Holly Parotti, Nadine Seymour-Munroe, and Ana-Lisa Wells.

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Caption: Dame Marguerite thanked the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the D’Aguilar Art Foundation for their continued commitment and support in the encouragement and promotion of the visual arts and artists of The Bahamas, before declaring the INSTINCT art exhibition officially open.  (BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

________________________________________________________

REMARKS
BY
HER EXCELLENCY
DAME MARGUERITE PINDLING DCMG
GOVERNOR-GENERAL
COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
ON
THE OCCASION OF
CENTRAL BANK OF THE BAHAMAS
INSTINCT ART EXHIBITION

18TH SEPTEMBER 2014

Thank you madam moderator for your kind words of introduction.

Madam Governor
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boys and Girls:
Good Evening.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas has hosted many art exhibitions over the years and has been instrumental in giving exposure to many Bahamian artists. As locals and foreigners alike walk through these doors on a daily basis to conduct business, they would see that these walls are routinely covered with the self expressions of the various artists among us. This evening marks yet another chapter in that important legacy and I extend my appreciation to the management of this national institution for the role it continues to play in this nation’s cultural development even as it leads and regulates the development of our financial services sector. Who said that high finance and art could not co-exist?

I wish to single out one of the participants for her work with our nation’s youth through a fruitful partnership with the Central Bank.  It is reported via the Central Bank website that every June for the past decade or so, the Central Bank of The Bahamas has hosted the children from the After-School Music and Art Classes or ASMAC, with their year-end art exhibition.

Mrs. Sue Bennett-Williams, one of the featured artists here today commenced an art program at her home studio reportedly in 1993.  An artist and art educator, Mrs. Bennet-Williams has assisted children as young as five years old in developing an appreciation for the universal language of art through the establishment of a comprehensive art program.

Mrs. Bennet-Williams is not alone though. I am advised that represented among this illustrious group of women are high school teachers, college professors, curators, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and yes wives and mothers representing The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States. These women have taken on art as a life- long passionate cause and pursued its development and evolution with dogged tenacity alongside the pursuit of more traditional careers as they loved and nurtured their families.

Tonight, we see here on display their labour of love and in some cases a glimpse of their inner most thoughts, fears, joys and perhaps a piece of their soul – all for our enjoyment and edification.

Art and culture are viewed as so essential to a country’s national development and identity that the United Nations has developed several conventions that highlight the importance of heritage and cultural diversity as critical components of national identity. The pieces on display at the INSTINCT exhibition here represent the personal identity of the individual artists, but the principle remains unchanged. The Bahamas, having signed onto the following UNESCO Conventions:

(i)  1972 World Heritage Convention
(ii)  2003 Intangible Heritage Convention
(iii) Diversity in Cultural Expression Convention

is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to art and cultural development as being intrinsic to overall national development.

Many of you may be aware that the Bahamas government has declared 2014 as the year of culture and has recognized forty-one Bahamians as Culture Warriors for their life-long commitment to the development of Bahamian art and culture. This national declaration gives this exhibition greater meaning and added significance.  It is my hope that this recognition at the highest level of government inspires you and strengthens your resolve to continue with your important, but sometimes misunderstood work. I fully expect to see some of you recognized in the years ahead.

In closing I thank the artists whose works are on display in this foyer, all nine of you are, in fact, Culture Warriors in your own rights. Your uncommon ability for self expression by combining ones heritage, history and contemporary living through the non-verbal platform of art in its many forms serve to embellish our local culture, to educate our people and our visitors.

Claudette Dean summed it up perfectly when she described her art as “expressing the inexpressible through colour, form and word.”

Your many contributions to the development of culture at home and abroad are invaluable because art is universal in its language and defies time in its relevance to the human experience and the development of nations.

For these reasons among others, I encourage each of you to remain focused, strong and uncompromised – ever true to your art. Continue your education campaign of our youth and remain resolute in your advocacy for the promotion of art and artists in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada, the United States and wherever your purposeful work takes you.

I thank the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the D’Aguilar Art Foundation for their continued commitment and support in the encouragement and promotion of the visual arts and artists of The Bahamas.

It is now my pleasure to declare the INSTINCTSart exhibition officially open.

Thank you and good evening.