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City Hall art galleries celebrate 100 years of art tomorrow

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Gherdai Hassell and her “I Am Because You Are’ exhibit at the Bermuda National Gallery (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery will come together tomorrow afternoon to mark their 30th and 70th birthdays with a series of events around their home of City Hall.

A number of local artists have also explained how the two galleries have helped them through their combined 100 years of supporting art in Bermuda.

The City Art Fest will feature gallery tours, workshops and live performances spanning art, poetry and music from 12p, to 3.30pm.

A statement said admission is free and there will be activities for families, curated selections of arts and craft vendors and local artisan food and drink stands.

“With the Bermuda National Gallery named Best Museum and the Bermuda Society of Arts named Best Gallery in the 2022 Best of Bermuda Awards, there is no better time to visit,” the spokesman said.

Bermuda artists have also said why the galleries matter to them:

Gherdai Hassell

BSoA was the first organisation to give me a platform ever. This was the place I debuted my work in a gallery on-island. It really is the people’s gallery. Whilst BSoA opened the door, BNG held it open and allowed me to walk in and further develop as an artist. BNG has been a gateway to the world stage for me. Thank you.

Corrina Rego

The BNG and BSoA allow working artists a significant opportunity to showcase their work, educating Bermuda on Art and opening our perspectives up as an Island.

Teresa Kirby Smith

I’ve been a participating artist in BNG biennials and group exhibitions for a number of years. While it’s gratifying to have my photographs on display and seen by our wider community, I’ve observed something of greater importance going on here. There are more artists in Bermuda today, literally than there were only ten years ago, and this despite the slow shrinking of our general population.

The BNG, BSOA, and Masterworks too are in some part responsible for this development. More artists means more competition, and more competition means having to work that much harder in order to be seen and heard. The art that’s produced in our community, as a whole, continues to improve qualitatively. Art is lifting us up.

John Gardner

The BNG matters to me because the Visual Arts have an essential role in a healthy society and in my opinion the BNG is the most socially inclusive and intellectually progressive Visual Arts institution in Bermuda.

Julia Cox, BNG Intern

The Bermuda National Gallery (BNG) impacted me significantly as a young student growing up, field trips to the gallery or spending time there with visiting relatives provided me with a space to reflect. I’ve had a sincere love and appreciation for the arts my entire life and to be able to enter a space that provided an outlet for local artists to put their work on display and in turn inspire others, it evoked such emotion in me every time. With hindsight, as a young adult, I can say the gallery matters to me because of the educational opportunities it provides for people on the island to learn about our culture and our people, but I’ve also learned it’s amazing for making new connections and just getting inspired.

I appreciate being able to work in this space, whenever I enter the gallery, I’m reminded of the times I would get so excited to walk into city hall and go to the gallery as a kid. This space seemed giant to me, magical almost because of how different it felt to other buildings I had spent time in. It prompted a feeling of being able to create anything I wanted to.

Dr Charles Zuill

Believe it or not, when I was a kid, my twin brother and I used to play museum. Even then we recognised the importance of preserving aspects of our past, or some other aspect of our community, which was then our small world of Smith’s Parish. When we travelled, the memorable thing about that event to me was visiting museums. The museum, especially the local museums and art societies, are for me a place of wonder, a place that preserved memories and stories. They are magical places, places of beauty, of joy ... Think what it was like here before we had art societies or art and historical museums.

Nancy Ann Miller

Bermuda formed me as a poet. My work is visually driven because of the vivid and complex environs I grew up in on land and within the ocean. The unusual spectacles I encountered not only influenced my seeing but also taught me to take risks in my work as I learned the world was wondrously strange. Hence, it is meaningful to share work in the biennial with Bermudians rooted in the same experience.

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Published December 10, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated December 10, 2022 at 7:57 am)

City Hall art galleries celebrate 100 years of art tomorrow

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