Going On ‘Instinct’

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The strength and diversity of female fine artists in the Bahamas will be celebrated during the “Instinct” art show expected to open in two weeks time.

The exhibit, which is presented by the Central Bank of the Bahamas, will highlight nine prominent women who produce fine art and focus on their passions.

Over the years, these women have set the bar and pushed the boundaries with their artwork, oftentimes exploring thought-provoking subject matters.

The nine women include Sue Bennett-Williams, Chantal Bethel, Lisa Codella, Jessica Colebrooke, Claudette Dean, Susan Katz-Lightbourn, Holly Parotti, Ana-Lisa Wells and Nadine Seymour-Munroe.

Mrs Seymour-Munroe, who is also the organiser of the event, said the show features seasoned artists who have made a statement locally and internationally, using their art as “a tool of reformation”.

“Our focus is not just being female, but being great artists who are females. Many times we overlook individuals based on gender; we should look beyond that and into the spirits of these artists that have made immense contributions to cultural reform in the Bahamas,” she told Tribune Arts and Entertainment.

During the show people can expect to see nontraditional work that invites critical conversation of what the inner being has to offer through creative mediums.

Mrs Seymour-Munroe said that people can expect “energetic and abstract pieces that provoke your spiritual being to explore and think about the unseen.”

Here is what some of the other participating artists had to say about the upcoming exhibit “Instinct”:

Lisa Codella

A newcomer to the art scene, ceramic artist Lisa Codella said she was honoured to be asked to participate in a show with women who she has admired for some time.

“It is so encouraging to be considered to exhibit alongside women whose work and creative expression I have admired from a distance for a long time. Add to that the fact that the theme, ‘Instinct’, is truly intriguing to me. It has such depth and can be interpreted in so many ways. I am excited to see it from everyone else’s perspective,” she said.

For the show, she will exhibit several ceramic pieces that address what she perceives to be three the aspects of instinct: survival, procreation and protection.

“To me, they each have an indigenous, primal vibe that I hope speaks to people in a visceral way,” she said.

“Creating art is an opportunity to start a conversation with the viewer and an art show setting is one of the few occasions when that conversation can take place in ‘real time’. I find it energising and sometimes surprising to hear what people think of my creations, and am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts on where I stood creatively at the time of their inception.”

Susan Katz-Lightbourn

Sue Katz-Lightbourn is a veteran artist whose inspiration comes from the natural beauty of the islands and from the vibrancy of the Bahamian people.

For the “Instinct” exhibition she will show a variety of pieces ranging from collages to mono prints. She said her work uses strong colours, patterns and textures.

“I am happy to have the opportunity to showcase my work with so many other talented and vital artists here in the Bahamas. As individuals, we all work in different mediums and we all have various ideas as to what speaks to us creatively,” she said.

“I believe that once we come together, not as a group of ‘women artists’, but as a group of artists in our own right, that our work will generate excitement as well as provide a platform for discussion. Art speaks to everybody in different ways and as artists we follow our passion in order to nurture our creativity and satisfy our soul. ‘Instinct’ is a road for nine artists to do what is instinctual create.

“I would like people who come to the show to realise that there are many talented women living and working in the Bahamas. As women, we all have various responsibilities and commitments, but I can safely say that one of our greatest joys and happiness in life is to be able to make art and be creative. It is a gift. I believe that ‘Instinct’ will showcase this passion.”

Claudette Dean

Claudette Dean has been creating art for the past 20 years. Working primarily in oil, she has also dabbled in clay and mixed media. Her work has been described “as modern mystical, powerful yet tender with a vulnerable quality that reflects her intuitive understanding and sympathetic handling of the human condition.”

“I am excited to participate in this exhibition featuring the work of some amazing female artists. It is a very timely exhibition in light of the fact that equality for woman is in the spotlight right now in our nation,” she said.

“The four paintings that I will be showing depict four female archetypes, and together they represent the strength, stability, unity and wholeness that women bring not only to the family but to society in general. Although they were painted through process for another earlier exhibition, I discovered that I had instinctively painted them to represent each of the four elements, the four directions, the four seasons and all of the symbolism that accompanies them; a perfect example of how as women we do often act on instinct. My desire is simply to use my voice as an artist to inspire and to bring awareness, and in the process make a positive difference in the world that we live in,” she told Tribune Arts and Entertainment.

Lisa Wells

Instinct will see fine artist Lisa Wells exhibit digitally composited photographs that are part of an extensive ongoing series she has been developing to explore the connection between woman and nature.

“I have great respect for the other eight artists participating and did not want to miss an opportunity to display my work in such good company. I am also pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit work at the Central Bank Gallery, a notable venue, particularly under the curatorship of Antonius Roberts,” she said.

“The experience itself is an opportunity to display my images in a wonderful venue amidst the work of other well-respected artists.”

Chantal Bethel

Haitian-born Bahamian artist Chantal Bethel works from a place of deep emotion. She is excited to be participating in the show.

“It is an honour to be invited to exhibit with such a great group of women artists. I am also pleased that we may be able to help a young artist with part proceeds of the sales of works.

I will be exhibiting two pieces: ‘Milk. This painting is about maternal instinct, as it shows a flamingo feeding. ‘Charged’ – this painting is music and dance. I love to dance I have a deep connection to movement which I include in my work. It is a natural instinct for me to move when I hear music, I feel the music. I just dance,” she said.

In 2001, she was honoured by the Miami Children’s Hospital for her support of children’s issues through art, and in 2008 the Bureau of Women’s Affairs honoured her outstanding work and contributions in the realm of fine arts. In 2010, she received the Award of Excellence from the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC, for her work “Requiem for Haiti”.

Jeffarah Gibson
The Tribune
Published: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014