Posted tagged ‘Grand Bahama Island’

YIN Art Exhibit at Hillside House Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas

November 8, 2018

YIN.exhibit.logo.signatureDelighted to be part of this group exhibit with five Grand Bahama artists—Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, Laurie Tuchel, Del Foxton, and me, Paula Boyd Farrington—celebrating feminine energy and spirit, opening November 9, 2018, from 6 to 9 pm, at Hillside House Gallery, #25 Cumberland Street, Nassau, Bahamas. Bring a friend and enjoy our new art, live music from Shelley Carey-Moxey, and handcrafted Bootleg Chocolates flown in from Grand Bahama’s chocolatier. An Artist Walkabout with the artists on hand for an open house to talk about their work as you browse through the gallery, will be on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm.

Our thanks to artist Ilene Sova, Hon BFA, MFA, Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting, Ontario College of Art and Design University, for her writing about the work.

Yin Calls Forth a New World of Feminine Transformation

I’ve always said the fact that all women aren’t stark raving mad is a complete miracle because to live in a world where basically every bad thing that happens to you, you’ve somehow brought on yourself by being female … it’s just like, come on, man! It’s like … to the least of us, whatever is going on, it’s happening to all of us.”

Callie Khouri, screenwriter of “Thelma & Louise”

The past two years have been extraordinarily difficult on the psyches of women around the globe. Newsfeeds are full of disturbing stories of sexual assault, the falls from grace of several male celebrities and cultural icons, and the pulling back of dark curtains revealing immense pain and abuses of power in all sectors of our society. Social commentary abounds on how the enormity of this abuse was allowed to go on for such long periods of time. Women from all levels of society began to speak out in large numbers, bringing what was hidden behind closed doors, out into public view. Secrets of violence whispered to each other in back channels were suddenly being blasted loudly on cable news; relentlessly dissected, cast with doubt, and denied by powerful men. How does this onslaught affect our consciousness? How does bearing witness to these damaging stories change the way we view ourselves and the women around us? How will these revelations and their ubiquity change how we interact with one another? What does the future hold for the human relationships we hold the dearest? These questions and versions of them are swimming about in the public consciousness.  Although it is much too soon to know the answers, what seems clear is that if we are to have a way forward; we need a hand in the design of what we want our future to look like. We will need to be creative, manifest new ways of being with one another, and imagine possibilities that bring us back into a healthy balance. 

In this exhibition Yin, Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, Laurie Tuchel, Del Foxton, and Paula Boyd Farrington work towards this seemingly impossible intention. Through a visual journey into a return to balance, these women begin to show us, through art, a time of harmony, a return to respecting the sacred feminine and the healing it has to offer the world. Upon examining these works, one can imagine these women in their studios working past the misogynist upheaval through the vehicle of their artistic practices. Around them, as they move in and out of creation, the mass media amplifies stories of environmental disaster, men overpowering women, reactionary politics, and sanctioned state violence. However, in this sacred space, they create as artists, a new visual language that calls forth a beautiful world where humanity can return to harmony. A world that manifests celebrating women echoed in organic shapes, sacred patterns and communal collectivity. As one moves through the space of this exhibition, forgotten is the angled hard world that values the impersonal, and the individual. The world that protects the abuser and defames the storyteller is banished. The hard angles and the rough edges of a society that value power, and worships what is keeping us off balance, fades into the distance. It is instead replaced by a new warm, beautiful future where the Goddess reigns supreme. 

Is it possible to manifest a new world through the creation of art? In her book Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, bell hooks states that  “The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is—it’s to imagine what is possible” (hooks 281).  These women compose this declaration clearly, stating that their work is a celebration of “each a half of the harmony of the Universe, balancing sun and moon, light and dark… homages to the empowerment of women as vessels of love, healing, and transformation” (Yin Artist Statement). In Tuchel’s naturalistic portraits of senior women, we see a homage to the faces that are relegated to the sidelines in our patriarchal worship of the young and nubile. Her larger group painting brings women back together in a dancing collective that become one with each other through colour, gesture and texture. In Del Foxton’s sculpture of women from across the globe, they stand in a group sharing their compelling stories on a path to healing. Their shoulders hunched in a communal discussion. As viewers, we can imagine these women walking away upright with the strength of their stories straightening their backs and empowering their way forward.  A coming together of collectivity is echoed in the figures of her doll-like cutouts that hold hands, dancing across the recycled paper that, in its very existence, shows us a new way into a future of environmental sustainability. Small cut out daughters held in their bodies travel with the figures along with a new path in the community. As we move onto Chantal Bethel’s work, this concept is reflected in her sculptural and painted vessels that call forth rebirth, reincarnation and the new life that we yearn for. The lotus flowers, water symbolism, birth and rebirth that exude from each piece immerses us in a return to nature which provides us with the answers of how to begin again. Bethel calls forth in three dimensions women’s power and a human kinship with the natural world that once lost can be found again. Claudette Dean carries this narrative through her work as we see the divine feminine, head down and meditating. We can feel her protagonist magically imagining and drawing forth a new world. The vaginal openings in her tree focused paintings centre the viewer on the cycles of the earth and the blossoms that represent the rebirth that spring will bring through a universal womb. As we work through her paintings, this rebirth she tells us will have women as the metaphorical gatekeepers; enormous and powerful in stature, branches reaching up to the heavens. In Paula Farrington’s work, we see the manifestation of a new world in the visual form. She illustrates through vibrant colours, glittering shapes and reflective surfaces, the universe bringing forth a new way of being. A new world in which the Earth Goddess is returned to her rightful place of the sacred. We feel the movement of our positive thoughts through splashes of colour that move in and out of one another. The beauty of her saturated colours stand in direct resistance to the oppression and darkness of what is being revealed in the movements of Me Too and Times Up. Organic shapes, complex colour symbology, groupings of symbols and subjects, intricate patterns that live alongside free intuitive ones, metaphoric vessels and literal vessels, water, land, earth and sky all communicate with one another between these artworks. Yin takes us on a journey to the answers to our burning questions. It asks us to remember the power and value of women; to bring our lives back into balance by protecting and respecting the land and water. It tells us that the answers are all around us and inside our humanity.

In the book, When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone writes that ancient goddess worshipers believed their deity was “creator and law-maker of the universe, prophetess, provider of human destinies, inventor, healer, hunter and valiant leader in battle” (Stone 11). Out of the studio and into the gallery, the artists of Yin bring forth a deity that battles oppression with visual expression. A prophetess that tells us a story of a new way of living and being that is coming in our future. A healer that literally and figuratively births a new harmonious way of being that is balanced and respects the environment that we inhabit. She is a hunter that goes out on a journey and brings back the qualities of love for oneself and love for others through intention and imagination, collectivity and collaboration. Magical in its optimism, the Goddess that Yin manifests will provide the viewer with a new space of transformation. She provides us with a space that shows us what is possible when we come together in community to honour women and the communities that they bring forth. 

Ilene Sova, Hon BFA, MFA

Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting

Ontario College of Art and Design University 

Work cited:        . hooks, bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. Routledge, 2008.
                           . Stone, Merlin. When God Was a Woman. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

 

The exhibit continues through early December. Our thanks to Antonius Roberts and Paula Roberts of Hillside House Gallery, The Charitable Arts Foundation of The Bahamas, and our husbands, families, friends, and YIN sisters everywhere for their support.

Picture Postcard Kind of Day

January 25, 2015
Banana.Bay.1.25.2015

© paula boyd farrington 2015

 

Enjoying the afternoon at Banana Bay … a true Grand Bahama paradise kind of day … straight out of a picture postcard. The combination of brilliant and soft-blended blues, an intensely-gentle warming sun, a just-enough breeze, and low humidity all came together today in one stellar “Ahhhhh ….” that begs both simple enjoyment and a cyber-singing of its praises.

It is after all High Gratitude season here.  When I first moved here, people told me this idyllic time of year was sometimes referred to as “gloating season”—that is not my intent here. And we year-round island residents have waded through our share of summer heat and high humidity to get to these glorious days of dewy-free revelry. These slice-of-heaven days may already be well-enough celebrated in the tourism brochures, but those images don’t capture all the little moments of day-to-day warm winter bliss …  the long rays of dawn glinting off the cat’s fur …

cat.w.sun.glinting

… the delight of finding that the avocado tree in the back garden is offering up yet one more late-ripening gift of green goodness …

late.ripening.avocado.1.2015the silhouette of a shorebird wading in late afternoon liquid gold glimmers …

silhouettes.shorebirdsAhhhh indeed.  Perhaps today is received with extra gratitude and thanks because it was blustery and somewhat gray yesterday—a grand day in its own way with the palm fronds applauding madly in gusts, as if cheering wildly for the cool front to get here—sweeping a path clear for silky sun and cyan sky kisses that take your breath away. And give you pause to take an extra-deep breath and offer up a quiet hallelujah for natural wonders—and absolutely exquisite island days.  Here’s to the sunshine of the heart, wherever your paradise …

 

Crepe Paper & Cardboard, Costumes & Creativity — Junior Junkanoo 2013

March 5, 2013
Jr.Junkanoo.5.2013

photos by Paula Boyd Farrington

Junkanoo—that distinctly Bahamian combination of colorful handmade costumes, cow bells, horns, and rhythmic goat-skin drums pounding out a steady island beat were proudly on display at last month’s Junior Junkanoo Parade, February 2nd, 2013. Parents, teachers, children, and community volunteers dedicated countless hours through the year crafting costumes of hand-cut and finely fringed crepe paper, carefully pasted in layers onto cardboard forms sized to fit student performers—the next generation—who are learning first-hand about the history, design, and production of this unique cultural art form. The detailed costumes, dance routines, and fun themes chosen by participating schools are a delight to see, and a true celebration of island creativity. Here are a few photos from this year’s event:

Jr.Junkanoo.1.2013Jr.Junkanoo.2.2013

 

Jr.Junkanoo.8.2013Jr.Junkanoo.10.2013

Jr.Junkanoo.7.2013

Jr.Junkanoo.3.2013Jr.Junkanoo.4.2013Jr.Junkanoo.9.2013Junkanoo.Horn.Player2013Junkanoo.Jr.2013Congratulations to all the Junior Junkanoo participants, parents, teachers, coordinators, designers, artists, dancers, musicians, parade officials, volunteers, sponsors, food vendors, and support teams who made this lovely and lively Grand Bahama event possible.

Ka-lik, Ka-lik, Ka-lik. Hear that? That’s the sound the metal clanger in the cow bell makes when it rings—and it’s calling you to come see next year’s Parade. The Junior Junkanoo Parade is usually held in late January or early February each year, and the full scale holiday Junkanoo Parade in Grand Bahama is held in the evening on New Year’s Day. The Junkanoo Summer Festival is scheduled here for July 4 – 25, 2013.

Move to the rhythm. Move to the beat. Dance along. It’s a heartwarming treat!

 

From My Grand Bahama Garden: Tomato Bounty

March 11, 2012

I posted about my Warm Winter Garden just a few weeks ago when everything was still green and ripening. Just had to post a pic of this platter of lusciousness now that we’re harvesting ripe red tomatoes and having a good time adding these beauties into omelets, sandwiches, and of course, salads, but mostly just enjoying their bright freshness simple and plain with a hint of salt and pepper. And some of the green ones might get turned into Fried Green Tomatoes. (I do love that movie. And especially the book.)

Nothing like a homegrown tomato for ramping up your appreciation of how va-va-voom life is. There’s something about their vibrant red-ness that acts like a natural can’t-miss-it 4-way Stop sign for pausing and noticing all the wonder that abounds when you look for it. What gladness is growing is your paradise? Whatever and wherever it is — enjoy!

Glimpses of A Warm Winter Garden

February 20, 2012

a soon-to-be red plum tomato ripening in the sun. photos by paula boyd farrington

There is green goodness on the vine in my Grand Bahama garden. The strong summer sun is sometimes too intense for growing these beauties, but it is just right just now in our warm winter. Fresh basil flourishes in a small patch …

… and Italian flat-leaf parsley basks alongside the full broccoli …

Along the fence, the pods of pigeon peas begin (and will be used in the traditional Bahamian dish of peas ‘n rice … the pea is similar to a black-eyed pea).

Elsewhere in the garden, it looks more like a traditional northern fall … the almond tree loses its leaves this time of year …

… and the Royal Poinciana tree that will bloom flame-red in May or June is in full winter … leafless … and busy growing its long slender seed pods …

The sunny faces of the impatiens that wilt in the bold summers smile in the shade of a tree …

… while avocados still hang heavy and heavenly on the tree …

Such a bounty of warm winter blessings. What abundance blooms in the appreciative eyes and happy heart of your paradise right now? Enjoy, enjoy ….

Grand Bahama’s Junior Junkanoo Parade

January 22, 2012

Playing the Cowbells. photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

I love a parade. Especially Junkanoo Parades—those uniquely Bahamian celebrations of sound and bold colors and creativity—pulsed to the steady heartbeat rhythms of goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles, horns, and dancing feet.  The Junior Junkanoo Parade is one of my all time favorites. Students, dedicated teachers, parents, and a host of volunteers from all over the island work countless hours creating meticulously-crafted, handmade costumes, and rehearsing lively music and dance routines to parade through the downtown streets of Grand Bahama. This year’s parade was held Saturday evening, January 14th, 2012, with a big crowd of friends and well wishers lining the streets to cheer the students of all ages on.

Junkanoo is loud. It’s proud. And totally adorable. Here’s a peek at some of the fun … congrats to all who participated and made it possible!

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington
photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

Goldilocks Season

November 4, 2011

We entering into Goldilocks Season on Grand Bahama. The weather is not too hot, not too cold … it’s juuuuust right. It’s the kind of weather that makes you say “aaaahh” and draws your eye extra-much to every bright yellow bit of tropical bliss … … from cerasee bush medicine growing along the garden wall … … to fresh guava in the kitchen … … to more yellow elder (the national flower of The Bahamas) …

… to the way the sun bathes the palm fronds in warmth while a woodpecker taps his tat-a-tat-tat tune …… a soft light glowing on everything … ripening the sea grapes

  

photo by Caitlin Farrington

… renewed gratitude alighting in our hearts, and reminding us of so many golden days … giving thanks for the not-too-hot, hot-too-cold glories of November in The Bahamas! (And to how marvelous it is when the weather matches your mood … here’s to the glow of your internal paradise keeping you warm if you’re bouncing back from that too-cold-too-soon snow storm up north, or still waiting for a touch of fall—like we’ve been doing during the high humidity the past couple of months! Here’s to paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts of season and keeping a weathered eye on the blessings that abound everywhere.) Tra-la.


%d bloggers like this: