Matthew Wildgoose’s ‘It Is What It Is’ Art Gallery will be holding its first exhibition opening on Thursday, July 11 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Port Lucaya Marketplace.
The Art Gallery will display Bahamian artistry from different islands, musical artists and various communities, which correlate with Bahamian independence.
In an interview with Wildgoose at the gallery on Saturday, July 6 where he revealed his craving for exploiting artistry is essential for the country’s tourism development, he admitted The Bahamas may be a small island, but the talent should not go unnoticed.
“I think every small country goes through a small process of developing, and we are a pretty young country, compared to all the other countries in the world.
“We wrestle with being so close to the U.S. and the different cultures that it is so easy to latch on to. We are so close in proximity and geographically and because we would travel consistently, keeping our culture and appreciating what we have makes it more difficult.
“I think we have to push our art so much more than the other countries, because we are small and because we are close to the U.S. which is a world power. It is hard for us not to take on the way of life that the U.S. have,” said Wildgoose.
“In The Bahamas we build our own by having a gallery that facilitates artists and their art shows.
“In the gallery you can have your work noticed by people in the U.S. and you can also put on shows like open mic night so that people can share their talent,” he explained.
“With Port Lucaya being the hub, I think that this is the ideal spot for our artisans to show and express their talents, because you have tourists that come here and you have locals that come here and they can have a taste of our culture.”
The artist, who has been painting since he was 13 years old noted that he went on to college to improve his skills.
“I did art in school, and I graduated from Jack Hayward High School, then I went to College of The Bahamas in 2004. I did the Associates of Arts in Fine Arts and while I was in Nassau I worked jobs and painted, but it wasn’t until 2013 when I decided to go into art full time.
“I used to work all over the place, I used to work at hotels, I was an actor, but in 2013 was when I decided to do my first solo show at the Balmoral Club and after that year, I did an art exhibition every year since.”
Recently exhibiting young artist, Denzel Lightbourne, the gallery owner began an initiative of platforming other artists in his gallery, giving them exposure.
“I think being an artist and having a gallery is just natural and professional, but I didn’t just want a gallery where I display all my work, I want to see and display others’ work.
“Back in the day, I didn’t have that opportunity as an artist. I would’ve tried to get in the big galleries and for some reason I wasn’t able to get in, but I didn’t let it stop me. But seeing that I wasn’t able to get my work into those galleries, my other option was to open up my own,” Wildgoose said.
Questioned about the name of the gallery, ‘It Is What It Is,’ Wildgoose explained that because it is something that everyone can relate to and art is something that is open to interpretation.
“We have been open up for a month, and Denzal Lightbourne was the first artist shown at the gallery. We look forward to other artists coming on board,” he noted.
Wildgoose noted that Lightbourne heard about the gallery online and reached out, sending all his information and pictures of his work. “I thought he had nice work and here we are.
“Hopefully, other artists come and rise to the same standard of beginning to display their work, but I think Denzel has become motivated by this idea and would show his paintings other places.
“We want artists to know their work is so good, it can stand on the world stage. This gallery should not be their last stop, but their stepping-stone.”
Although people may not understand some of the portraits and paintings, he noted, there are different styles of art and the communication behind it.
“Art to me is expression in its simplest form. Expression in media, whether on paper, how you communicate is linked to culture. I also think the way we treat each other is tangled in it.
“When art comes out on canvas, it is communication in its rawest form. The pieces that are in the gallery, for example this canvas of a lighter running away. It is very simple, but it is something that we all have experienced. If you usually have lighters in your house, most of the time they go missing and it is something that we can relate to and we all can speak the same language.
“That is why language is important. God said to the other deities if they were able to work together, then nothing would be impossible for them to do. So, when you speak one language, there would be nothing impossible for us to do. This is why we have different artists,” said Wildgoose.
“We have different artists that have different styles and possess different styles.
“That’s the thing with art; you may not like a painting, but that doesn’t mean the next person doesn’t like that painting. Different paintings evoke conversation and when you begin to talk and communicate, you then understand why a person may not like this painting or that painting, and then we all understand each other and get along.
“Art brings people together,” he added. “I think it also produces confidence, unmatched by any other thing in this world, and that is why we need art more than any other thing in this world.”
Hoping to see more engagements from the Art Association in The Bahamas, Wildgoose expressed their existence should be shown in more paintings and murals.
“I think it lacks the artists in the association doing more stuff. They need to make their presence felt.
“We need to see more murals; we need to see a putting in of more artists in this association, so we can get what they want to say or what they want to do and they get to change the mindset of people in The Bahamas.
“I think we also need work on how we do things, how we treat each other and I think art exploring art and expressing art, is a step in the right direction.”
‘It Is What It Is’ Art Gallery will begin paint and sip art classes with information found at the store or online, on the business Facebook page.
Wildgoose informed, “We are also going to start an open mic July 18 and it will be held every first and third Thursday every month.”