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Writing’s on the wall at BNG biennial

The Bermuda National Gallery (File photograph)

When the Bermuda National Gallery’s 2022 Bermuda Biennial opens next June there will be something different on the walls – writing.

For the first time in the exhibition’s 15-year history, the BNG will be accepting poetry and other written submissions alongside the normal visual arts.

The theme will be A New Vocabulary: Past. Present. Future.

Peter Lapsley, the BNG executive director, said the move to include poetry was inspired by their current exhibition by Gherdai Hassell, I Am Because You Are.

He added: “As part of that, she dealt a lot with poetry. The work has both a visual and written component, and it really enhanced it.

“Including the written word was something we thought about prior to that, but seeing this in action, we thought this is really impactful.”

Mr Lapsley said: “Bermuda has a really rich literary community here. There are a lot of people writing about things in various formats, whether it be prose or poetry.

“We thought this would be an exciting way to expand that field, and get more people in.”

Words can be submitted in document form, or included in a as part of a visual artwork.

Mr Lapsley said: “The hope is that we can use these written pieces in concert with the visual works in a way that is really interesting.

“We might find people incorporating text into their visual art piece.

“It may be we have some individuals who are just submitting a written piece, that we will then engage, or we will work to display in ways that are interesting and exciting that enhance the exhibition.”

Mr Lapsley said the number of jurors had been increased from two to three to help evaluate written submissions.

He declined to reveal the names of the 2022 jurors.

But he said: “I think that having someone who is functioning in both these roles visual and written, will be an exciting change.

“We want to keep it interesting, fresh and engaging. We have been doing poetry responses to exhibitions we have had, and we have had written components to pieces, but never brought it all together before.”

Mr Lapsley took on the role of executive director at the BNG in 2018.

He earlier entered his own artwork into the Bermuda Biennial on several occasions, with some accepted and some rejected.

Mr Lapsley said: “It is exciting. I think it is a national platform for our local artists.”

He added the 2022 exhibition would be particularly significant because it fell on the BNG’s 30th anniversary.

Mr Lapsley said anyone could submit their work to be considered for inclusion in the exhibition.

He added: “It is an opportunity to have your work looked at by an international jury and you just never know what will resonate with them.

“The goal is to have a well curated and cohesive exhibition of works, towards the theme.”

The deadline to enter the 2022 Bermuda Biennial is January 15 next year.

The BNG will announce the successful artists in late February.

For information on submitting work, click here.

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Published September 13, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated September 13, 2021 at 1:51 pm)

Writing’s on the wall at BNG biennial

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