Written by 12:38 am Art

TORN DOWN: Local artist claims mural was removed since it was deemed “racist”

Artist “hurt” that nobody consulted him before removing his work

“We cannot cling to the notion of ‘foreign is healthier’ and pass it down through our culture”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Bahamian artist on Grand Bahama said his mural was taken down without his knowledge since it was deemed “racist”.

The mural, entitled “Mismanaged Culture”, is an element of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ (NAGB) onePULSE exhibition, which features artwork by Bahamian muralists because the central pulse of Bahamian society.

The murals were being featured on 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.

Benjamin Ferguson.

In a video circulated on social media, Ferguson said he received permission to place the mural up but was later told by officials that there have been complaints concerning the piece.

“All I wanted was to have a conversation before they take it down,” he said.

“It wasn’t an accurate racial piece, but it surely was about attempting to get us as Bahamians to comprehend that we cannot cling to the notion of ‘foreign is healthier’ and pass it down through our culture.”

He claimed he spoke to a representative from the Freeport City Council to have a virtual conversation, together with representatives from the NAGB and those that were reportedly complaining concerning the work.

“They only desired to tear it down,” Ferguson added.

“Everybody formed their very own opinions and that is what it’s. It’s gone. They didn’t contact me. Nobody said: ‘Your work is down. Are you able to please come to gather it?’

“My painting, my work, my contribution to The Bahamas will not be here. It has been torn down.”

Ferguson noted that while he was hurt by the way in which the problem was handled, he didn’t expect that officials wouldn’t speak to him.

“Nobody had a conversation with me. It’s done. I’m just a daily Bahamian dred.”

Other artists within the onePULSE exhibition include Amaani Hepburn, June Collie, Jodi Minnis, Lemero Wright, Matthew Rahming and Alisa Streather-Robinson.

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