National Art Gallery of The Bahamas Community Outreach Officer Abby Smith traveled to Grand Bahama to adjudicate the stunningly creative artwork submitted by student participants in the 2016/2017 E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
Enduring a series of challenges that included Hurricane Matthew, Smith noted she was most impressed by the artistic ingenuity of the students, who produced authentically Bahamian artwork by utilizing recyclable materials to create amazing doll houses, place mats, portraits and crocheted textile statement pieces, which are all on display at the C. A. Smith Government Complex.
“The National Art Gallery has been selected to adjudicate the artwork submissions for the 2016/2017 E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival.
“During the adjudication we (National Art Gallery) had hoped to garner an idea of the creative span of artisans throughout the Bahama Islands; however, we realized that the talents and interests in artistry are so vast not one island could be singled out for a particular style that outshined another.
“Every island is unique and coming to Grand Bahama which suffered serious losses as a result of Hurricane Matthew, I can certainly say that I am impressed by the number of submissions that have been produced.
“Of course this definitely speaks to the talent and resilient nature of the people, who in spite of it all chose to triumph.
“Oftentimes, particularly in Nassau, New Providence we take for granted the fact we have (unlimited) access to various materials and supplies, however when you visit the Family Islands, you gain a better appreciation of authentically produced artwork that derives from natural resources.
“The Primary School Division students on Grand Bahama have really outdone themselves by producing stunning artwork from the bare minimum, which is absolutely refreshing to witness given all they have gone through in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew this past October.
“The ingenuity of the students on Grand Bahama and throughout the Family Islands are second to none and all submissions are very clean which not only speaks to the hard work of the students but also their teachers, who are oftentimes taken for granted,” said Smith.
Commending teachers for always putting their best foot forward and inspiring their students to work diligently expressing who they are and hope to become through the artwork, Smith noted that many of the students can earn a lucrative living from their designs.
She encouraged all art teachers to persevere as they are essentially grooming the next great John Cox, Amos Ferguson, Antonius Roberts, John Beadle, Jackson Burnside, Kendal Hanna, Del Foxton, Alisa Streather-Robinson, Jessica Colebrooke, Tamar Russell, Harl Taylor and Jamal Rolle of The Bahamas; additionally, Smith also noted that the old adage “Practice makes perfect,” must be imbued into art students whose perfected, intricate designs could land them squarely in the limelight of the world.
“Choosing a creative field as a desired career can be very intimidating and discouraging at times, however I encourage students to pursue their passions, become “deaf” to the naysayers and never compare yourself to another as only you can uniquely produce your very best.
“Yes, there will be trying times but nothing in life that is worth pursuing comes without trials; it is up to you to persevere and overcome them all to discover your greatness.
“Your artwork will speak for itself, you can make a career and set the Bahamas on the world stage through your commitment to it so please allow who you are as an artist or artisan to shine through the work you produce by practicing and honing your skills to become the very best.
“These pieces of artwork demonstrate that you certainly can do it and achieve great success,” declared Smith.
Monique Leary, Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture Cultural Affairs Officer completely agreed with the sentiments expressed by Smith and noted she too is very proud of the creative genius of students, who represent both public and private schools throughout Grand Bahama.
Furthermore, Leary said she is elated to have the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas Community Outreach Officer travel for the first time to Grand Bahama to conduct the adjudication and is confident all students in the Primary Division as well as persons throughout the community who have submitted their artwork in the 2016/2017 E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival will do extremely well.