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New TERN art gallery opens; Amanda Coulson named founding director

Coulson to depart nine-year post as NAGB executive director to guide TERN in May 2021

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — TERN Gallery, a new gallery in Nassau aiming to bring Bahamian and Caribbean art to the international stage, has officially opened, with longtime National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) executive Amanda Coulson being named its founding director.

“Diving to This Depth for the First Time” (2020), Kendra Frorup + Mortimer’s Candy Kitchen. Various dimensions, candy and located object. (PHOTO: JACKSON PETIT)
“Daughter” series (2015), Anina Major. Stoneware, 6×12.

TERN opened on December 7, 2020 with an exhibition curated by Jodi Minnis entitled “Inherited Values”, featuring work by Kendra Frorup and Anina Major. The exhibition will run until February 8, 2021.

An announcement announcing the gallery’s opening said the “synergy between local specificity and worldly appeal” is embodied by the gallery’s name, which refers to a species of beach bird that’s native to The Bahamas but migrates worldwide.

The inaugural exhibition, “Inherited Values”, centers on two Bahamian artists whose practices draw on memory and cultural tradition to conjure a recent vision of economic possibility and ecological sustainability. Seeking to the straw industry and Mortimer’s Candy Kitchen — a Nassau landmark beloved for its confections and community impact alike — Frorup and Major propose an area of potential where local commerce, creatively framed, can guide the way in which towards a prosperous future for island nations’ micro-economies.

“The urgency of envisaging flourishing Caribbean futures has been highlighted because the COVID-19 pandemic unearthed global structural inequalities the world over, further emphasizing the timeliness of Major and Frorup’s work,” the statement read.

“The exhibition calls on viewers to conceptualize a future where ancestral economies and sustainable practices are honored as precarious nations collectively construct resilience while facing an uncertain future.

“Major and Frorup’s sculptures, installations and prints hold open an area of hope, proposing that problem-solving can begin with tending to the traditions which have endured. Taken as a complete, ‘Inherited Values’ responds to the ways through which commerce, heritage and vulnerability inform cultural values in the current, positioning memory as a type of documentation and vehicle for sustainability.”

Amanda Coulson. (PHOTO: BLAIR MEADOWS)

Coulson noted: “We saw that the time was ready for TERN for several reasons: we’ve an incredible community of remarkable artists who required an exhibition space for themselves — and other Caribbean artists — that might put their work in a highly skilled context that’s on par with international standards.

“We aim to create the support structure for artists to achieve beyond The Bahamas, to be represented truly globally. Our hope is that by representing our country and our artists on the international stage, we would finally be perceived as the real space we inhabit: sophisticated, mental and a site of excellence.”

Coulson brings to her new role at TERN expertise developed as NAGB’s executive director, a co-founder of VOLTA Art Fair and a longtime author and curator.

Recognizing the urgent need for an expert gallery showing Bahamian artists on the international level, Coulson hopes to make use of each her connections and strategic insight to set pathways for emerging artists from the Caribbean to rise to global prominence. Observing that such opportunities are sometimes structurally inaccessible to young Bahamians, Coulson intends to open a new space of possibility to uplift local thinkers and creators whose contributions have previously been under-recognized within the international art world.

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