ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT | SASKIA D'AGUILAR
Welcome back to Cacique’s Artist In The Spotlight series - a journey into a thriving Bahamian art scene and a look at some of our most exciting artists, pushing boundaries on island and around the world. In this episode, we sit down with Saskia D’Aguilar, the visionary director of The D'Aguilar Art Foundation (DAF) to talk about the inspiration behind the foundation and its role in shaping the new wave of Bahamian art.
Let me begin with a short introduction. For those of you who may have not had the pleasure of meeting Saskia D'aguilar in or around the inspiring landscape of the Bahamian art scene; she is the daughter-in law-of Vincent D’Aguilar - one of the first & greatest patrons of Bahamian art. It was her father-in-law's appreciation for Bahamian art that led her to developing the D'Aguilar art foundation (DAF) into the perfect catalyst for Bahamian art that it is today.
Cacique. What is your goal as director of the DAF?
Saskia. My main mission is to help advocate, catalogue, and promote Bahamian art throughout the world. Exposure of abstract Bahamian artists both locally and internationally is key to increasing the level of appreciation for Bahamian art. The preservation of Bahamian art is pivotal in building the nation as a leading cultural mecca in the Caribbean region. So much beauty lies in these lands, it would be a shame if it wasn't safeguarded! I'm honoured to be at the forefront of a progressive creative culture - it brings me joy.
C. How do you ENvision Bahamian art developing so that IT bECOMES A HEADLINER ON THE INTERNATIONAL MAIN STAGE?
S. The more we invest in developing diverse art that goes beyond tradition; the more we will begin opening doors to new international art stages. Once there is a profound appreciation for all styles of Bahamian art - not just “pretty landscapes”, we will begin to attract international acclaim. Progress has already been made to diversify the art scene, and we are steadily moving away from the traditional stereotypes of Bahamian art. I imagine local art expanding into more contemporary platforms, genres and mediums as we continue to expand creative boundaries.
C.HOW ARE BAHAMIAN ARTISTS HONING THEIR RESPECTIVE CRAFTS? Who ARE SOME OF THE BAHAMIANs ARTIST LEADING THE CREATIVE REVOLUTION?
S. There are many artists who are studying and working abroad to develop their respective crafts and this is helping to broaden their artistic palettes. Just a few of the artists who are spear-heading the creative revolution are John Cox (creative director of The Current), Allan Wallace, Tessa Whitehead, and Lynn Parotti to name a few. Lynn Parottis’ is just one of the Bahamian artist who has work on display now at The Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, June 1 – September 23, 2018.
C. HOW DO YOU IMAGINE BAHAMIAN ART BECOMING MORE APPRECIATED IN OUR CULTURE?
S. Art is personal and you can’t shove it down someone’s throat. That’s why incorporating it into Bahamian interiors is so important—people can view it and appreciate it more. Exhibitions are so integral in promoting Bahamian art; they act as a cultural incubators for connections to be made and for growth in the creative community.
C. What is the biggest HURDLE you face while trying to spread the awareness of the value of Bahamian art?
K. The share size of the market isn’t big enough in The Bahamas and there are a limited amount of buyers. Finding ways to expose Bahamian artists to international markets are limited and their appreciation for Bahamian art needs developing. This is one of the aims of the DAF, although we run into road bumps along the way. Educating people on the value and history of art and its practices is so important for Bahamian art's longevity and value.
C. WhERE CAN COLLECTORS AND PATRONS OF THE ARTS GO TO EXPLORE BAHAMIAN ARTIST?
S. The DAF website has a comprehensive list of Bahamian artist, examples of their work and their contact information if anyone wishes to contact them individually. All of the artists cataloged on our website are prominent Bahamian artist that have works in our collection of approximately 1,600+ pieces of artwork. You can view our catalogue here. For local culture vultures; Dionne Benjamin Smith's monthly newsletter is an excellent resource on all things creative, so sign up to stay in the know.
At Cacique, we love to showcase our colourful Bahamian art scene and the characters that create its distinct flair. For more information on the D'Aguilar Art Foundation, our featured artists, or to find out about curating a unique look and sound for your event, feel free to contact us.
Looking forward to the next chat! SMS:)