NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Just in time for National Youth Month, Sandals Emerald Bay recently provided a platform for promising young artists to showcase their talent.
Exuma’s first-ever art show and competition, providing a platform featuring 35 artists, starting from primary to senior highschool students, who displayed 51 pieces of extravagant and colourful art.
Because the resort’s ballroom was transformed into the children’ private gallery, those in attendance were captivated by the abundant talent and fervour exhibited by the artists.
The inaugural event was the brainchild of well-known local artist and teacher Eddie Nixon who pitched the concept to the Sandals Emerald Bay team for a partnership.
“This event sends a robust message to our youths that their artistic interests are of value and there’s a spot for them within the Bahamian society and the world,” said resort General Manager Jeremy Mutton.
“The scholars can feel confident that they’re being seen, heard, and understood through platforms resembling these which permit them to present themselves in a protected, inclusive and welcoming environment.”
For Nixon, the success of the initiative despite minimal funding was encouraging. “Hopefully, the community gets involved by providing sponsors and more donations,” he said.
“Speaking as educators/artists, we’re operating on limited resources and receiving donations would greatly assist the colleges on the island. The primary annual art show and competition demonstrates our greatest efforts to pool our resources to create a greater Exuma for future generations”.
The participants, their audiences and judges contained in the transformed art gallery were also treated to a musical performance by saxophonist Pablo Smith, a student of the L N Coakley High School.
All students received certificates of participation and the highest three artists across nine categories were further awarded gift certificates and medals.
One such winner was Chelsea McLaughlin, grade five student at St. Andrews Anglican School who won first-place within the Primary School Category. She was elated, sharing: “I didn’t know I’d win but my mommy encouraged me. I like animals and my favorite was a cute drawing of a swimming pig. I feel very pleased with myself. I might be back next yr.”
Grade twelve student at L N Coakley Dazz McPhee took home the general Senior School Category top prize. He shared that art is his favorite thing to do at college. “I used to be very blissful to participate at Sandals and have my friends and fogeys with me and I actually won,” he said.
Meanwhile, seventh grader at St Andrews Valentino Newton lauded the display on the art show. “My pieces were inspired by Jean-Michael Basquiat, a world-renowned artist. I need to thank Mr Nixon for encouraging me to finish my submission,” Newton shared. He also left words of encouragement for his colleagues.
“For the scholars of Exuma with a love of art, I just need to say you can be a successful artist or an architect, we are usually not limited to any profession field.”