The Bahamas is ripe with artistic talent, and, whilst its art scene still needs time to reach maturity, a number of forward-thinking galleries and institutions are going to great lengths to support its art and cultural identity. Find out where to enjoy the best of Bahamian modern and contemporary art in our guide to the top art galleries within the capital, Nassau, and across the archipelago.
Popop Studios is situated in two acres of land in Nassau’s historical district of Chippingham, with the main building surrounded by tall palms and lush vegetation. Reflecting the tropical, laid-back vibe of The Bahamas, over the years many local artists have gravitated to the colorful Popop Studios to form a lively artistic community that is much more inclusive than the traditional ‘white cube’ ambiance of international galleries. Popop Studios was founded by painter John Cox, a Nassau native and one of the best artists of his generation, and it represents a small group of select painters, sculptors and photographers of both local and international origins.
Popop Studios, Dunmore Ave, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 322 7834
From the 1970s onward businessman Vincent D’Aguilar contributed largely to the economic development of The Bahamas with multiple successful enterprises. In doing so, D’Aguilar learned to appreciate local art and acquired fine examples, which visitors can now view at the D’Aguilar Foundation. The Bahamian collection, one of the largest privately-held collections of Bahamian art, contains 1200 works (mostly paintings) and provides a unique look at the advancements of Bahamian contemporary art over the last five decades. In addition, the foundation exhibits a smaller but no less captivating selection of international pieces by artists from all around the world, but with an emphasis on African art, and sculpture in particular.
D’Aguilar Foundation, Virginia St, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 322 2323
The only downside to Liquid Courage Gallery is that visitors will have to ask for directions to the gentlemen selling alcoholic beverages downstairs. This gallery was established at the end of 2012 by the team of Liquid Courage Limited, a retailer and wholesaler of premium beer, wine and spirits based in central Nassau, out of the belief that “wine and art go well together”. Don’t be fooled though: despite its unusual genesis, Liquid Courage is a cutting-edge gallery which offers its space to local and international artists as a platform for them to present their (curated) exhibitions to a discerning audience.
Liquid Courage, 19 Patton St, Nassau, The Bahamas, +1 242 322 2202
A wood and marble sculptor, Antonius Roberts recently relocated from his old studio and gallery to Hillside House, a 19th century mansion down Cumberland Street, an area dotted with period buildings in downtown Nassau. Roberts is one of the leading artists of the contemporary art scene in The Bahamas, and an important figure in the promotion of the arts across the country. Ten years ago, he was in the group of art professionals, which included Doongalik’s founder Jackson Burnside and Popop Studios’ founder John Cox, that conceived of Transforming Spaces, an annual, original event which takes visitors on a guided tour through the local art galleries in order to introduce them to the Bahamian art scene.
The Hummingbird Cottage Art Centre might be one of the most remote art galleries in the world. The center is found in Hope Town, a district with roughly 500 inhabitants which is part of the Great Abaco archipelago in the northern Bahamas. Despite the challenging geographical location, Hummingbird represents a group of talented painters, however small, whose work is strongly inspired by the distinctive natural and urban landscape: the picturesque colonial houses, the leafy palms, the lush, colorful flowers. Hope Town’s art center is situated inside two lovely, quirky wooden cottages with pink walls, specifically constructed to host the center, and is engaged in a program of art classes and workshops geared towards the local community.
Hummingbird Cottage Art Centre, Hope Town, The Bahamas, +1 242 366 0272