Gombeys in the Hood

Robert Bassett

Bermudian (b. 1951)

Acrylic on canvas

1999

Kindly loaned by the Government of Bermuda

First displayed at the Bermuda National Gallery in the 2000
Bermuda Biennial, this painting, together with Here Come the
Gombeys (opposite), for many years hung in Bermuda’s L.F.
Wade International Airport. The impetus for this exhibition was
to reintroduce the paintings to the public.
Dr Edwin M.E. Smith remarks: “Both paintings prominently
feature dancing Gombeys, but the strong presence of the
peripheral figures suggests that the intended emphasis of the
artwork goes beyond the immediate spectacle of the dancers.
The paintings convey the existence of an engaged community
whose reaction centres on the Gombeys; sometimes, they
seem to match the energy of the dance troupe, and at other
times, they appear mesmerised. What remains consistent is the
sense of togetherness.
“People in the paintings are seen imitating and their presence
is supporting. This suggests a deeper connection, a sense of
shared experience, and hints at the idea of connectivity. The
exploration of the artworks’ portrayal of cultural citizenship
leads to broader considerations of relationships. In this context,
the large Bassett paintings serve as an anchor, and the central
theme throughout the exhibition is the concept of ‘belonging’.”

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