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Artists are creators

By Ulrich Voges – Founder of Volta Art Fair,New York.

Get Up Stand UpWhether they arrange chords and notes and acoustically paint the rain purple, or whether they take elements of the visual world and combine and re-arrange, every time an artwork is created, the world becomes a bit richer.

Art makes things visible we have not seen or heard before, it asks questions we might not know the answers yet and it ads an aura to our life we previously were not aware of.

Good art is surprising, daring & inspiring. It leaves us—the spectator—in awe, sometimes puzzled but always more accomplished. Walking through the 2016 art pavilions' selection this observation of accomplishment is tangible in both the exhibited artwork as well as in the viewers’ reception.

Across a variety of media this group of Bahamian artists proved again that the quality within the Bahamian artists scene is on a par with international levels and can easily compete with much larger communities.

Other events like Transforming Spaces, the annual National Exhibition or shows at permanent institutions like the D’Aguilar Art Foundation, Popop studios, the NAGB, the Central Bank or here at Hillside House, among others confirms the steadiness and prosperity of our visual culture.

More Bahamian artists are invited to hone their artistic practice at academies in Canada, the US, Europe, and as far as China. But it is the local support and this hotbed of creativity here in their own country which makes them come back and add even more to this fertile soil.

As art is a vehicle to transport ideas, visions and hopes, I was instantly drawn toward Chantal Bethel’s piece because it touches a very sensitive nerve in our society. Gender Equality should be an integral part of our thinking and our respect for each other but obviously we still have a long way to go.

Chantal Bethel’s painting is therefore even more meaningful and reflects questions of our times and provides a visual platform to tackle these challenges. The execution and variety of textures within the piece itself, mirrors the multi-layered aspect of this complex topic.

Edrin Symonette object evokes questions about the past, identities and memories by using an unfiltered, powerful visual language. Like his installation at Transforming Spaces his works are daring, vulnerable and sometimes appear almost brutal, but always filled with love and respect. The choice of material like driftwood, roots and raw paint pigment reconnects his imagery to all our senses, including touch and smell and to our very territory.

Ovid’s METAMORPHOSIS is one of the best books to understand art. To take one thing and turn and change it into something else (and unseen) is one of the particular wonders of the visual arts.

But Candice Marshall does not stop there in using old tires and found objects, she is furthermore using her artistic practice to engage the community, changes perceptions and instill social change and connects to the practice of social sculpture. The transformation of used objects and daily-life materials intrigues the untrained eye as much as the professional observer and she wanders virtuously the delicate line between free sculpture, design and social activism.

This short list only reflects obviously one way to look at this year’s TAP—The Arts Pavilion—exhibition and even this list could be much easily longer.

It is a joy and constant source of energy to see the creation of such accomplished art works on such a broad basis. Culture is what defines a society and connects the past, present and future.

Art helps us to understand who we are and where we are going. Or in the words of Marcus Garvey: A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

Nassau, The Bahamas