‘Living on the Hallelujah Side: A Tribute to Joseph Spence’ opens OCTOBER 12 at Doongalik

Doongalik Studios is pleased to announce the opening of the second solo exhibition of multi-media artist, Dwight Laadan Ferguson, on Thursday, October 12 from 6-9pm in a tribute to the late, great Bahamian musician, Joseph Spence (1910-1984).

Ferguson debued his multimedia sculptures and paintings at Doongalik in June 2016 in a group show entitled “The Road” which was followed by his participation in Transforming Spaces at Doongalik in April of this year. This Exhibition, however, has led him on a new journey of creativity incorporating paintings along with 2-D and 3-D sculptures, which he considers therapeutic and inspiring.

Ferguson stated that his fascination with Joseph Spence’s music began over 20 years ago when he purchased a Smithsonian CD of Spence’s music from Cody’s Record Store. The music resonated with him in a powerful way – so much so that he would sing the songs as a lullaby to his new born child. “Although it may be considered raw and crude to the untrained ear, I find the flow of Spence’s guitar playing melodic, and his grunts and groans heavenly,” stated the artist.

As a trained, practicing pastor and a self-taught artist, Ferguson’s journey into the world of art has been one where Spence’s music has been ever constant in his life. It has stimulated him to enter into an artistic zone where he finds the connection between the musical and the visual a natural progression. He was therefore led in this exhibition, to pay homage to one of the greatest Bahamian icons whose music has become the background for his creations.

Spence, although heralded as a genius all around the world, is sadly little known in his home. Ferguson’s quest is to correct this travesty. As an advocate and an activist for Joseph Spence, he takes every opportunity to expose anyone he comes into contact with to the genius of this simple, unassuming man who changed the way the world looked at guitar music.

Ferguson’s objective is to promote and celebrate Spence, to create an artistic experience for the viewer, and to give them love and hope. “You can’t separate the dance from the dancer, nor the pastor from his art – I can put into my art what I cannot say in words,” stated the artist.  “Art has a therapeutic value - to bring joy, unity and a love of life. We are continually surrounded by despair – what I refer to as ‘a black hole’ – the challenge is to have the strength to look beyond that darkness, and towards the light of hope which is always there, if only you can allow yourself to find it.”

The Exhibition will be on display until November 25. 

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Doongalik Studios is pleased to announce the second Ceramics Exhibition of Bahamian artist, Alistair Stevenson, which opens on Tuesday, August 29 from 6-9pm, preceded by an Artist’s Talk on Sunday August 27 from 3-5pm.

Stevenson was the recipient of a Chinese scholarship to study ceramics in Jingdezhen, China – a city which is world famous for its porcelain ware. Jingdezhen is also a City of Crafts and Folk Arts in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, as is the City of Nassau.

Home for the summer holidays, after visiting Denmark where he worked in studio with wood-fired kilns, Stevenson is eager to share his growth of knowledge during the upcoming events. This exhibition will reflect his experiences over the past year, with proceeds from the sales aiding his studies.

Stevenson explained the theme of this year’s exhibition in this artist’s statement: “The work for this series will address emotional fragility. The use of ceramics as the primary medium for the objects emphasizes the delicacy of human emotion, supporting the idea of sensitivity and tenderness.

“Fragility for me is one aspect of our everyday life that drives our physical and emotional responses based on any given situation. It is actually a very sensitive way of being in that regardless of how secure we believe life is, we are always emotionally subject to the effects of our surroundings and distant environments. The slightest of words, smallest of issues, and seemingly irrelevant occurrences, can affect our emotional state and completely disrupt our way of thinking. That is not to say that there are not those individuals who are rarely disturbed by such experiences - however, I do believe that most of us are indeed very temperamental creatures, both spiritually and emotionally.

“The creation of art typically will always address fragility in both direct and indirect forms. Take for example Grayson Perry’s skillfully coiled and decorated ceramic surfaces which express challenges of contemporary British society; the wrath and phobia shown in the extremely delicate ceramic insects carefully carved by Mary O’Malley; or even the stimulation fabricated as a result of Ai Weiwei’s Dropping of a Han Dynasty Urn. These artists’ mental, spiritual and physical abilities can definitely arouse the sensitivities of any audience. Fragility here is simply the fragility of human emotion itself which can be easily disrupted via the use of tactile objects, concepts and so on.

“The inspiration for the designs of the work for All of My Emotions comes from a combination of the structures of stones, wood, deteriorating leaves, water flow, and the textures of natural sponges and corals. The objects are created from both stoneware and porcelain clay that was fired in electric, gas and wood fired kilns.

“These objects are also combined with other materials that assist in manifesting the idea of emotional fragility. They were created in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China and Skaelskor, Denmark and have been brought to The Bahamas for display as a way to agitate the emotional conditions of the local and foreign witnesses of art in the contemporary Bahamian context.

“The fragile nature of art itself is that it is indeed constantly vulnerable to judgment, discrimination and appreciation. There is rarely any art piece created that solely embodies the exact opinion of the creator alone. What makes art beautiful is the fact that it affects any viewer at any place and time, regardless of one’s educational background or social status. The result: Art will always have the ability to trigger the fragile emotional state of any audience.”