Uncovering the Bahamas Contemporary Art Scene

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

The Bahamas showcases its rich culture and unique heritage through a contemporary art scene now thriving across the galleries and studios of Nassau along with the art-filled interiors of its most prominent resorts. Here, arts institutions and initiatives are connecting visitors to the Bahamas with this side of the island nation, which is perhaps known first for its white-sand shores that meet vivid turquoise waters.

Why the Bahamas' contemporary art scene is burgeoning

Each island nation in the Caribbean has its own unique landscape, culture and heritage. In the Bahamas, the distinct cultural identity is now being showcased through the island nation’s burgeoning contemporary art scene. Through the efforts of leading local curators and standout Bahamian artists, the nation’s creativity is being brought to an international audience. The capital, Nassau, is at the centre of this contemporary art movement. As well as holding UNESCO status as a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts, Nassau, on the island of New Providence, is home to a number of galleries and art studios, including what are perhaps the most prominent art sites in the Bahamas. Thanks to the efforts of institutions like these, more Bahamian artists are gaining greater prominence locally as well as in the international art world.

Which museums and galleries to visit in Nassau

Whilst in Nassau, pay a visit to the prestigious National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, which promises a look at the history and culture of this archipelago through the art of its people. Permanent and temporary exhibitions here span both historic and contemporary work. TERN Gallery also stands out for its contemporary art showcases along with its focus on providing a platform for emerging and mid-career artists from the Bahamas and wider Caribbean, overall helping to grow the local art market. The D’Aguilar Art Foundation proves significant to the growth of the local art scene, too, as the culmination of prominent collector Vincent D’Aguilar’s vision for Bahamian art – the site’s collection offers a historical representation of the development of contemporary Bahamian art over the past few decades. 

The resort that is also playing a part

Nassau’s sprawling Baha Mar resort complex, a 1,000-acre retreat encompassing a wealth of leisure facilities, is helping to develop the local art scene and connect visitors with the nation’s culture through the art programmes of its onsite Current Art Gallery as well as the 2022-launched Eccho Art Museum. Led by the artist, curator and executive director of arts and culture at Baha Mar resort, John Cox, the resort’s arts initiatives range from filling the resort complex with the work of Bahamian artists to hosting exhibitions at the resort’s two contemporary art galleries and introducing visitors to the work through curator-led art tours. Current Art Gallery offers a series of workshops, like printmaking, that anyone can sign up for and talks bring creatives together for more insight and inspiration. These art experiences enhance visitors’ stay in the Bahamas as they provide a greater understanding of the islands’ heritage and contemporary culture – naturally, artists’ work is also available to buy from here.

Places to stay across the islands

Baha Mar spans an idyllic stretch of beachfront on the island of New Providence in Nassau. This coastal hub encompassing an abundant of amenities across leisure, retail and dining is home to both Rosewood Baha Mar and Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. Each offering an entirely different hotel experience. Rosewood hotel hosts guests in serene rooms, suites and villas, boasts four dining venues, a library, boutique and luxury spa, all set around tropical gardens and cabana-lined pools with architecture and art-filled interiors that are designed to give the feeling of being on a Bahamian Island estate. The much bigger Grand Hyatt hotel brings 1,800 modern rooms and suites together with a vast offering of restaurants and bars. Guests have access to Baha Mar’s ESPA spa, several pools, a waterpark and the Baha Mar Casino

Elsewhere in the Bahamas, you can opt to stay at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort for a chic getaway amid acres of Versailles-inspired gardens on the white-sand shores of Paradise Island. Featured in films like Casino Royale, this luxury retreat pairs ocean- and garden-view accommodation with a Balinese-style spa, three pools and oceanside dining spots including DUNE by the acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well as the Ocean Club Golf Course. 

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