Artist “hurt” that no one consulted him before removing his work
“We cannot cling to the notion of ‘foreign is better’ and pass it down through our culture”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Bahamian artist on Grand Bahama said his mural was taken down without his knowledge because it was deemed “racist”.
The mural, entitled “Mismanaged Culture”, is part of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ (NAGB) onePULSE exhibition, which features artwork by Bahamian muralists as the central pulse of Bahamian society.
The murals were being featured at the gallery and have now moved into communities throughout The Bahamas.
Grand Bahama-based artist Benjamin Ferguson said he was shocked when, days after putting up his mural at Taino Beach, it was removed without his consultation.
In a video circulated on social media, Ferguson said he received permission to put the mural up but was later told by officials that there were complaints about the piece.
“All I wanted was to have a conversation before they take it down,” he said.
“It wasn’t a correct racial piece, but it was about trying to get us as Bahamians to realize that we cannot cling to the notion of ‘foreign is better’ and pass it down through our culture.”
He claimed he spoke to a representative from the Freeport City Council to have a virtual conversation, along with representatives from the NAGB and those who were reportedly complaining about the work.
“They just wanted to tear it down,” Ferguson added.
“Everybody formed their own opinions and this is what it is. It’s gone. They did not contact me. No one said: ‘Your work is down. Can you please come to collect it?’
“My painting, my work, my contribution to The Bahamas is not here. It has been torn down.”
Ferguson noted that while he was hurt by the way the issue was handled, he did not expect that officials would not speak to him.
“No one had a conversation with me. It’s done. I’m just a regular Bahamian dred.”
Other artists in the onePULSE exhibition include Amaani Hepburn, June Collie, Jodi Minnis, Lemero Wright, Matthew Rahming and Alisa Streather-Robinson.