Tilting Axis: Shifting Perspective to Caribbean Art

By Lisa Howie, Director, Bermuda National Gallery

Recently I attended an art conference in Miami called Tilting Axis 2: Caribbean Strategies, which focused on collaboration and visibility in the region. The experience has me wondering how many visitors to Bermuda come wanting to know more about the Bermuda art scene. We know that our pink sand beaches and golf greens with seaside views lend to annual bookings, but what about the art? Can visual art experiences attract visitors and encourage repeat visits?

From my perspective, I think the answer is Yes, the visual arts can bring people to Bermuda and the Caribbean region. In coming days, I will be traveling to Bahamas (for the second year in a row) for an art event called Transforming Spaces. Exploring art in unusual locations and experiencing unique curatorial slants to temporary exhibitions make this an interesting reason to visit another Island. I also want to learn more about the art movement in Bahamas, gather ideas on how we can work together, and rally some interest in what we do here.

In June we open the 12th iteration of the Bermuda Biennial. This exhibition series serves as the Island’s contemporary art nexus, from which innovative artistic expression is encouraged and observed. In stride with global biennials, of which there are now hundreds, Bermuda’s exhibition will be specific and relevant to the location while addressing more universal ideas and interests. The exhibition can involve performance, temporary installations, digital media, or more traditional forms such as wood block printing. While the exhibition is often difficult to pin down in few words, it is most definitely a challenge to what has become the dominant Island expression: beautiful landscape scenes often painted in watercolour. Biennial exhibitions held in Jamaica and Martinique also challenge this norm.

As the global art market continues to rise to new levels, exploring and exposing new regional sites of creativity, attention will soon be placed on the market value of the Caribbean region. Perhaps it will be this economic interest that will turn heads toward the Bermuda Biennial and our Island’s art movement. Or perhaps it will be readers like yourself who journey into the museum, explore art across the Island, send out images on your Facebook and Instagram pages, and assist in the global message that the visual art movement in Bermuda- and the wider Caribbean region- is thriving.

I encourage you to enjoy the beach, the golf, the diving and much more, and to take time to explore the variety of visual art experiences on Island. Please visit us soon in City Hall, Hamilton.

For more information: www.bng.bm or call (441) 295-9428. 

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