This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Bermuda National Gallery and the 70th anniversary of the Bermuda Society of Arts! Join us to celebrate this combined 100 years of art on Sunday, December 11, at the City Art Fest!
Come for an afternoon of gallery tours, workshops and live performances spanning art, poetry and music. Free activities for the whole family and free admission. Curated selections of arts and craft vendors and local artisan food and drink stands promise to satisfy your tastebuds and offer unique gift options for the festive season.
With the Bermuda National Gallery namedBest Museumand the Bermuda Society of Arts namedBest Gallery in the 2022 Best of Bermuda Awards, there is no better time to visit!
Ocean Plastics Photographic Workshop: Inspired by images created for her Flotsam & Jetsam exhibition, Biennial artist Meredith Andrews will be teaching children to create collages from ocean plastics that she has collected along Bermuda’s shoreline. The works will then be photographed. Ages 8-14 (or possibly younger if accompanied an adult).
Interactive Mixed Media Art Workshop: Biennial artist and art educator Louisa Bermingham will be hosting an interactive art experience. Participants will help build a multi-media surface using recycled card, fabrics and oil pastels that will then serve as a canvas for participants to leave their own mark. All ages.
Silverpoint Drawing Workshop: Biennial artist and BNG Founding Trustee Dr Charles Zuill will be presenting the ages old technique of metal point drawing, which was first used by medieval scribes before the invention of pencils. Ages 15 to adult.
Charcoal Drawing Workshop: Artist and art educator Richard Sutton will be teaching a traditional approach to drawing with charcoal. Participants will focus on layering to create a realistic shaded effect. Ages 15 to adult.
Sea Plastics Art Workshop: Biennial artist and Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation teacher Corrina Rego will be teaching children to create uniquely beautiful works of art using sea plastics found on Bermuda’s beaches. Ages 5 and up (or possibly younger if accompanied by adult).
Collage Workshop: Biennial artist Abi Box will be leading a collage and drawing workshop exploring the possibilities of shapes and composition through cutting, sticking and tracing to create abstractions and unlock creativity. Ages 10 and up (or possibly younger if accompanied by an adult).
FREE ARTIST TALKS
John Gardner on Rapid Sketching: Biennial artist and architect John Gardner will be discussing his rapid art technique. The artist, who taught Advanced Architecture at RISD, first developed the technique to break up the monotony of air travel during a period of regular commute between Bermuda and Rhode Island.
Charlie Godet Thomas on Art and Language: Biennial artist Charlie Godet Thomas will be talking about both the use and influence of language in his multi-media work. The artist, who lives in Mexico City, will discussing how he incorporates poetry into his work and what it means to work in a country where your first language isn’t the dominant language and the implications of this on his practice.
Meet the Artist: Graham Foster: Seven-time Bermuda Biennial artist Graham Foster, best known today for his Hall of History mural, which covers 1,000 square feet of the Commissioner’s House at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard, will be on site to discuss his unique approach to painting.
Photographic Portraits by Amanda Temple and Jacqueline Alma: Participants are invited to have their photograph taken by Amanda Temple in The Birdcage, a 2022 Biennial artwork by Jacqueline Alma which stands on the front lawn of City Hall & Art Centre. People can photographed alone or in a group and are encouraged to bring props to express their own versions of Past, Present and Futurein response to the theme of this year’s exhibition. Please register in advance with Jacqueline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live Art with Dr Edwin Smith: Artist and educator Dr Edwin M.E. Smith will be creating an artwork entirely out of duct tape, inspired by Transience, a striking installation produced for the 2020 Bermuda Biennial. Watch the piece come together over a 2-hour period.
Live Painting with the Bermuda Plein Air Group: The Bermuda Plein Air artists, who meet each week to paint “en plein air” at locations across the island, will be painting live. Watch them capture various architectural aspects of the City Hall & Arts Centre in just two hours.
FREE GALLERY TOURS 2022 Bermuda Biennial | A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders | Masterpieces of the Renaissance: Selections from the National Collection | BSOA Winter Members Show
FREEPOETRY READINGS Tiffany Paynter | Andrea Ottley | Catherine Hay | Liana Nanang | Ajala Omodele | Yesha Townsend | Jessica Lightbourne | Venetia Furbert | Charlie Godet Thomas
FAMILY FUN 360 Photo Booth | Bouncy Castle | Free Face Painting
FOOD AND DRINK Vegan food by Alkaline Triangle | Wood fired pizzas by J&B’s | Coffee by Cafécito | Craft beer by Bermuda Craft Brewing | Hand crafted cocktails and mocktails by Mixyz Bda | Hot chocolate, cotton candy and popcorn by Jazzy Treats
POP UP SHOP Original artworks by Louisa Bermingham and John Gardner | Limited-edition prints by Graham Foster and Meredith Andrews | Curated selection of arts and craft vendors.
Join us on December 11 to celebrate 100 years of art!
The City Art Fest takes place at City Hall & Arts Centre, Church Street, Hamilton, on Sunday, December 11, from 12pm to 5pm. Free admission. Free parking at City Hall carpark.
Call for Volunteers
If you are keen to support the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts and are able to spare a couple of hours on Sunday, December 11 we’d love your help at the City Art Fest!
There are lots of opportunities, including:
Decorating City Hall & Arts Centre
Assisting with workshop activities
Supporting arts & craft vendors
Promoting the festival via marketing and flyer distribution
Are you planning a holiday party? Why not host it in the striking setting of the Bermuda National Gallery, situated in the heart of Hamilton, in City Hall & Arts Centre.
“We recently hosted a reception and dinner at the Bermuda National Gallery for a group of overseas clients. The BNG event space was stunning with impressive art and photography collections as the backdrop for an amazing 3-course meal. It was a first-class evening that showcased Bermuda at its absolute finest.”
Support the Gallery by renting the elegant rooms for your next cocktail reception, AGM, award ceremony or presentation. With a calendar of exhibitions, BNG provides an ever-changing roster of engaging backdrops to any occasion.
For the first time, in addition to evening events, private receptions can currently be held during the day on Mondays, giving people a chance to host a lunch in the refined setting of the gallery. Rental fees start at $1,000 for up to 3 hours. Discounted rates are available for Directors Circle Members and registered charities. Click here to view the BNG Rental Agreement.
For further information please contact Jennifer Phillips on (441) 295 9428 and at email@example.com.
The paintings in From Darkness to Light: Portraits by Henry Ward, on display at BNG through to October 29, capture key figures in Bermuda’s diverse community. One of the first artworks that greets visitors as they enter the Watlington Room is Humanitarian, a striking portrait of Ruth Thomas, MBE. A Founding Trustee of the Bermuda National Gallery, she is widely considered the leading steward of Bermudian culture.
Trained as an educator, Ruth Thomas helped to create the island’s first government preschools and was appointed the Education Officer responsible for Early Childhood Education in 1972. In 1988 she became the Government’s first Cultural Affairs Officer, which saw her take the helm of the newly formed Bermuda Department of Cultural Affairs, a position she held for over two decades.
Ruth Thomas served as Chair of the Bermuda Arts Council for 12 years and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, Founders Award and Patron Award from the Arts Council. An accomplished actress and singer, she has performed in the Bermuda Festival numerous times and has served on their Festival Programming Advisory Committee for many years. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 1994 for her service to education and to the arts.
We caught up with Ruth Thomas, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday, to discuss her involvement with the Bermuda National Gallery over the past three decades, her vision for the Department of Community Services and Cultural Affairs (now the Department of Culture), and a life dedicated to preserving the arts.
BNG: As a founding trustee you have been involved since the very inception of the Bermuda National Gallery. Could you please tell us about the early days and what it was like to be part of the team that opened the BNG?
RT: Meetings, meetings, meetings – nothing but committee meeting after committee meeting all with the same agenda, which was to establish a national gallery. The overall intent expressed in those meetings was that such a gallery would house exhibitions and collections of the visual arts that would facilitate an understanding of Bermuda’s cultural identity, extend knowledge of and respect for local and international artists and encourage and perhaps even ignite a significant level of interest by the locals in the visual arts. In addition, it was noted that the facility was to be seen as something for everybody and not just for the perceived elite.
Before all of this could be thrashed out, focus had to be placed on finding a physical plant suitable enough for a gallery, and on funding. Both tasks were massive – daunting enough to turn the project into a dream deferred. However, the committee was too devoted to the idea of a national gallery to let that happen. Members were all seriously involved, in one way or another, with the visual arts. They were Jay Bluck, Michael Darling, Paul Doughty, Desmond Fountain, John Gardner, Laura Gorham, Sheilagh Head, David Mitchell, Dennis Sherwin, Sylvia Shorto, Charles Zuill and me. Most stuck with the committee during its entire duration.
The first few meetings took place at the bottom of Flatts Hill in St. Mark’s Church Sunday School where Charles Zuill and Desmond Fountain had an arts studio. In fact Fountain, sculptor, and his wife lived in the building. They were kind enough to provide a meal for us at the meetings. This was appreciated because the meetings were during dinner time after a long, hard day’s work. When Fountain moved to Warwick, we met in that home. The last series of meetings took place at the Southampton home of Dennis Sherwin, art collector.
Meetings were intense but productive and congenial. One of the disappointing moments was when one site we thought was ideal for a gallery turned out to be a no. That was the cooperage warehouse in Dockyard. Fire damage rendered the building structurally unsound. Restructuring was going to cost a fortune, a prohibitive amount. Its location was alas far from Hamilton. The main thought was that the gallery, in order to attract visitors, should be centrally located. In fact, that idea was strongly expressed several years previously by Hereward Watlington. His generous gift of his collection of works by European artists to Bermuda was to be the content of the proposed gallery’s opening exhibition.
Hope was revived when John Gardner informed the committee about the availability of a suitable space for a gallery in City Hall above the mayor’s office. This seemed to answer the problem concerning the right location, but the matter of funding was still a mountain to climb. Jay Bluck was coerced to fundraise. He was successful. Refurbishment began as soon as plans were drawn and by 1992 the Bermuda National Gallery was established.
The opening ceremony was performed in the first level above the steps leading from the foyer, which was filled with guests. Louise Jackson did the opening. She was accompanied by her husband, Albert Jackson, and 8-year-old grandson, Scott Nearon. Scott’s presence was deliberate because a part of the BNG’s mission was linked to introducing young children to the arts.
The BNG owes a debt of thanks to the founding committee whose determination, vision, hours of discussion and belief in the value of the arts resulted in the fruition of this wonderful art facility, to the late Jay Bluck, who was the first chairman and to Laura Gorham, the first director, to Michael Darling, Charles Zuill, Hereward Watlington and Desmond Fountain, whose foresight and belief in the arts led to the passing of the 1982 Parliamentary Art Trust Act also deserve a round of applause. The governing body of the Bermuda National Gallery is the Bermuda Fine Art Trust.
Akira Kurosawa, Japanese filmmaker (1910-1998) said: “The role of the artist is to not look away.” BNG, please encourage artists accordingly. Such advice could be responsible for helping to keep the arts alive and well in Bermuda.
BNG: Could you please tell us about your involvement with BNG over the past three decades? What have been the most memorable moments?
RT: After the opening of the Bermuda National Gallery, the Bermuda Biennial became one of the first major projects, the first two (I think) of which were judged by locals. Eventually it was thought that judges should be from outside Bermuda, mainly to avoid any sense of nepotism and to increase opportunities for participants to learn from professionals through reviews of their work by world-class, experienced professionals. I was one of the judges – not world-class or experienced or professional – for the first two biennials.
One of the things I tried to do for the gallery was through attempts to fill it with visitors. For several years during lunch hours I, along with thespians Grace Rawlins and Gary Phillips, performed half hour to one-hour Mosaics, which are dramatic works I wrote based on Bermuda’s folklore, history and traditions. Attendees usually came with their brown bag lunches. Sometimes we performed full-length Mosaics in the evenings. These Mosaics brought large audiences into the gallery.
There are endless connecting links between all art forms. I ran a series of workshops linking creative writing and paintings of Bermuda. Through the Department of Cultural Affairs, for about five or six years, every Monday and Wednesday I gave talks on Bermuda’s history, culture and stories, one hour per time. This resulted in attracting tourists and new guest employees to the gallery. Every year we had many repeaters who came not just to hear the lectures but also to view new exhibitions. So many favorable comments were often made about the gallery. Visitors were amazed to see an institution of such a high standard on such a small island.
It was customary for BNG to conduct museum tours overseas. These were very rich learning experiences for locals. I found the tour of arts facilities in Chicago particularly fascinating, including architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings. Among the most memorable moments was BNG’s participation in the exhibition of Carib Art. This was a travelling exhibition of contemporary works of art by artists of the Dutch, English, French and Spanish Caribbean islands. It received the patronage of UNESCO and was proclaimed an activity of the United Nations World Decade for Cultural Development.
BNG was one of the facilities that mounted a huge segment of this travelling exhibition. In fact BNG joined forces with the Bermuda Society of Arts and the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard. David Mitchell of the BNG – he was curator – helped to oversee the entire project, which drew countless visitors. Carib Art was a Department of Cultural Affairs event in which BNG played a major role.
The exhibition of motorized cycles must not be forgotten, because it succeeded in bringing into BNG countless persons who perhaps had never given thought to darkening the doorway of an arts facility.
BNG: In 1988 you became the government’s first Cultural Affairs Officer and oversaw the Department of Cultural Affairs for over two decades. Why was the role created and what was your vision for the department?
RT: Many cultural activities were in place several years prior to the establishment of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The celebration of the island’s heritage every year during the month of May is an example. Government had under its umbrella the Department of Community Services, initially. Eventually that department became the Department of Community Services and Cultural Affairs. This department was of enormous value to various segments of the island. At the helm was a Bermudian gentleman who had spent many years working in communities in Ontario, Canada. His name was Loudru Robinson and he and another Bermudian, Reginald Ming, were phenomenal movers and shakers in terms of developing, remediating, and improving community needs.
Cultural affairs were made a separate department in order to increase the focus on culture. The general perception at the time was that “Bermuda has no culture.” In fact, this expression was used as a verbal whip when Government first announced the formation of the Department of Culture. Mind you, the name may sound grand, but all the Department had was a secretary, the part-time staff member and one full-time. The budget was less than meager.
The vision was first of all to disseminate Bermuda’s historical information. For so many, the local history as taught in schools started and ended with the 1609 arrival of Sir George Somers. Included in the vision was the intention to develop an understanding of and scope of culture. People disliked the use of the word initially, because they related it only to ballet, opera, classical music, Shakespeare and things for “them, those uppity people.” Support for the arts and knowledge of and respect for the people and our heritage were important matters also, that needed guidance by the new department.
Television was the media through which a tremendous amount of information was disseminated. Among the programmes that were developed for this purpose were Treasures, a once monthly, half-hour programme which outlined the contribution of seniors to the development of our culture; Bermudian Profiles, which ran for over ten years every Sunday evening, monthly half-hour programmes detailing our history, geology and arts; TheLearnalots, which was for children under twelve; periodically half-hour programmes based on themes for Heritage Month.
Included in this lineup was the Premier’s Concert, an annual event which featured outstanding youngsters between the ages of ten and twenty-one. The concerts were based on the performing and visual arts. They became a strong factor that motivated a push toward high standards in the arts. Mosaics, which were performed in churches mainly, were based on Bermuda’s history, folklore, traditions and many other aspects of the island’s culture. The main objective of the Mosaics was to increase audiences’ knowledge of our history while being entertained. Every Mosaic – about 90 in all – contains local material, and the stage performance of each one had a cast of only local actors (Grace Rawlins, Gary Phillips, Leo Mills and me), singers and dancers.
BNG: What role do the arts, in all mediums, play in Bermuda?
RT: “A well-told story, in whichever artistic medium it is delivered, can touch corners of the soul otherwise unreachable,” said the stupendous actor, Cicely Tyson. All forms of the arts when well presented, have this same power. This is only one of the tremendous roles the arts play. Another role is in the quotation: “The arts are the hallmark of a civilization.” This should remind Bermuda that now and years from now our island home may be assessed by its level, attitude toward and acceptance of the arts. Because of the variety of roles and the plethora of mediums, I doubt that we would be content to be referred to as a cultural desert.
Bermudians, as I see it, are richly talented in the arts. There isn’t always evidence of professional training but there is often proof of natural ability, especially in stage productions of plays. Performers often act, sing and dance at such a polished level that audiences are left wondering if they are overseas. The dramatic productions seem to reduce fear-intimidation. This is one role the arts play in Bermuda, it is liberation.
Bermuda is a small community that has experienced repression, racial segregation, classism, social unrest, and many other ills that have probably led to feelings of intimidation. It is often through the arts that victims of such ills, instead of shrinking, often shine. The arts take them outside themselves, extend their ability to create and enable them to communicate their thoughts, ideas, understanding in ways that cannot be expressed otherwise.
The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, other organizations involved in the arts, churches and schools through their invitations to overseas first-class professionals to bring their skills here, be that in the performing arts, literary or visual arts, give locals opportunities to be inspired and encouraged to go higher.
The role of the arts brings people together and entices them to explore new avenues. The experience liberates them. For example, in the BNG’s experimental writing workshop, participants were asked to select a painting from the Ondaatje Gallery and to use the painting as a springboard for a piece of creative or fictional writing. Many participants were very hesitant at first, but once after a series of “talks” they felt liberated and turned in interesting works.
It is my opinion that one of the major roles of the arts is like that of a mirror reflecting our identity. This is important in Bermuda. Because we are inundated constantly with persons from other cultures, either for business or pleasure, we have often subordinated our own taste to the criteria of others. This is cultural surrender through which we could be in danger of losing whatever identity we have, losing a trove of cultural customs, forgetting our traditions, changing our folklore, and neglecting the factors that provide guidance or direction, that give meaning to life and ensure a moral compass. When these things disappear so do the many factors that provide the framework within which we identity our priorities and goals.
So then where does this leave us? What must the role of the arts continue to be? How important is that role no matter what the medium is? It is my belief that the arts are useful tools that can unlock pent up inhibitions, facilitate critical thinking, expose inadequacies, praise, criticize positively, open our eyes, bring satisfaction, increase self-confidence and self-esteem and above all, liberate, liberate, liberate. All of this is for both artist and art on-looker. I firmly believe that the role is important because it can feed the soul. It can also keep us from chipping away the edifice of our culture so that we do not further weaken the timber of our existence.
BNG: You were chair of the Bermuda Arts Council for twelve years. Under your leadership, Richard Saunders, whose photographs are currently on display at BNG, was selected as the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Why did you select him and what is the significance of the award?
RT: According to the Royal Gazette, February 14, 2022, Richard Saunders is one of a few Bermudian photographers to have earned international acclaim and recognition for his work. Actually, Saunders was well known in his island home as a reputable artist long before he achieved prominence abroad. While here he worked with David Knudsen and Hilton Hill, both acclaimed photographers. He was a police photographer and he won several prizes for his work.
Saunders’ experiential background, though substantial, did not spare him rejection when he applied for a photographer’s job with the Trade Development Board. This, unfortunately, was at a time when Bermuda practiced, legally, racial discrimination. He was a man of color.
Saunders moved from Bermuda to the United States where his talent, devotion, artistic fortitude, attention to detail and ability to read people and understand their sphere brought him regular assignments from leading magazines such as Life, the New York Times, Ebony, Paris Match, Look, Fortune, Playboy and Ladies’ Home Journal. He also had a job as International Editor of Topic, the United States Information Agency magazine. His work was profound. He was not afraid to use the camera to reveal, rectify and record.
When the Bermuda Arts Council became aware, mainly through local photographer Graeme Outerbridge, of the extent, importance, significance, impact, inspirational nature, sociological value, and enlightenment captured through Saunders’ photography a plan was immediately made to proudly acknowledge, in a significant way, the achievements of this prestigious son of the soil. Hence, the Bermuda Arts Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award came into being. He was the first recipient. The Award was presented posthumously in 1987.
Emily Saunders, wife of the esteemed photographer, donated a collection of his works to the Bermuda National Gallery for its permanent collection. She has been thanked for this. The BNG also deserves thanks for exhibiting the collection.
Historically, Bermuda has been painfully slow, maybe even remiss to applaud, to express esteem or to acknowledge in any form local artists. It is the hope that the works of the BNG, other local galleries and the Bermuda Arts Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award are helping to remedy this oversight.
BNG: Why is it important to both preserve and promote the arts?
RT: Linguistics, sociology, anthropology, religion, and history are among the major facets of a culture. Of course, the human being has to be included in the list because it is his behavioral style, rituals, myths, belief systems, traditions and morals that help to form the culture. They keep the cultural reservoir from emptying.
What about the arts? This is something that so often is associated with visual, performing and literary matters. However, it is the arts, all segments of the arts, that provide the lens through which the culture may be interpreted, through which we derive an understanding of the past and present and perhaps even gain a glimpse of the future. The arts have the potential to portray life, sharpen our awareness, our intellect, imagination, aesthetic, judgement and enliven our creative sensibility.
The artist, because through his medium he can “tell it like it is,” he can help us to face reality, to see the difference between the sacred and the profane, between truth and untruth and lead us to experience life through all our senses.
Without the arts so much would be lost, unexplored or unknown. It is through the arts that history becomes familiar. Just think of the power of the griot – the storyteller. His stories explore, record and reveal. That’s part of the work of the arts. Really, the arts are beyond being phenomenal. We cannot dismiss its importance or devalue its necessity. With this in mind it becomes our duty to continue, to preserve and promote this remarkable, profound, versatile, enriching, educational, sometimes complex treasure – the arts.
BNG: Henry Ward painted your portrait for his exhibition From Darkness to Light, currently on display at the Bermuda National Gallery. Could you please tell us about this?
RT: Enter the Bermuda National Gallery. Turn left. Go through the doors – very heavy doors – that lead to the Watlington Gallery. Scan the room. The walls are covered with works by the same artist. Over there on the eastern wall is a painting of young dancers. Ballerinas. Degas, perhaps or maybe Matisse? No, silly. There are no European paintings in here. Take a close look. Note the profusion of darkness and light. The artist makes use of the two factors as “an existential expression of humanity within the darkness of the universe.” How profound! There is a portrait of a ship’s pilot who is in full light, but darkness is there too both beside and behind him, emitting a strong sense of the dramatic – and of reality – and hope.
There she is at the end of the southern wall. She is emerging into a light that is showing her puzzling, mystifying, challenging matters which could be either real or imagined. Her nuanced face reveals many reactions including ambiguity. As you look at her you want to know more about her. Where has she come from? Why is there an aura of mystery, and why the ambiguity in the eyes?
Just as these questions emerge, a primary school child who is looking at the portrait says, “the artist did a great job. He made the lady look serious and determined. He put a lot of silver (light) around her so you can see her. I like the portrait.” I like it, too – it’s me – Ruth Elaine Thomas. It says a lot about the me nobody knows. The artist has the incredible ability to capture the inner soul. How deeply talented!
The artist of this powerful exhibition, From Darkness to Light, is none other than Henry Liam Ward, an internationally acclaimed portraitist. It has been an honor for me to have been painted by him. Every now and then, or maybe just once in a lifetime, something totally unexpected, or utterly wonderful or simply stupendous or so touching it evokes tears of joy and gratitude happens. My portrait by Henry Liam Ward does all of these amazing things for me. It honors and humbles.
When I saw Mr. Ward on television presenting to HRH Queen Elizabeth II his portrait of her, he looked so humble, but what a powerful and memorable moment that must have been for him, especially as the Queen seemed so pleased and gracious. He, no doubt, was elated.
To have had my portrait painted by Mr. Ward is amazing, to have had that same portrait hanging in the Bermuda National Gallery is even more amazing. Thank you, Mr. Ward, and thank you BNG.
We recently launched our 30th Anniversary Annual Appealfundraising initiative. We have produced a digital magazine to share with you why donating to BNG’s ongoing mission to promote the arts and deliver world-class art and culture experiences in the heart of Hamilton is more important than ever.
Click here, or on the image below, to read our digital magazine. As we move forward, BNG continues to develop innovative exhibitions and programming for every member of your family. We are excited to see what the next 30 years brings, and encourage you to continue your support of BNG through making a donation today.
Registration is now openfor our fall art programmes. BNG education initiatives are designed to provide opportunities for creative and independent thinking through an exchange of ideas and art education. Students develop art appreciation, critical thinking skills and creative problem solving.
Spaces are limited. Secure your spot today to avoid disappointment.
DRAWING FOR ANIMATION
The Bermuda National Gallery’s after-school programme for high-school students ages 14-18, continues this year, with students meeting twice a week to learn to create their own short animations on iPad, building a foundation of the principles of drawing and animation.
The programme is a natural fit for teens looking to build their portfolio and deepen skills gained in the Art+Tech summer camp. Classes, which begin on October 4 and run through to November 17, take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 3.45-5.15pm.
This year, the Bermuda National Gallery will be running a Mid-Term Break camp fromOctober 24-28. The theme of this year’s camp, for ages 8-12, is Narrative Art.
Join us as we make comics, create flipbooks, illustrate poetry, and more! Our camp will be limited to fourteen students who will be based between the gallery and the BNG’s satellite education space in Washington Mall. Camp will run from 9am-3pm.
BNG Urban Sketch is a free monthly meetup for artistsof all ages to go out into the city and sketch together. Participants meet in the gallery on the first Saturday of each month from 11am – 1pm and visit different locations around Hamilton to sketch from life.
The programme is free and open to all to drop in. All you need is a sketchbook and pencil, but you can bring any supplies you would like to work with. Please note that BNG members receive a 10% discount on art supplies at the Stationery Store.
Reboot, refresh and restart as we head into fall with a new 6 week series of Yoga in the Gallery with Tiffany Paynter.
Tiffany, a three-time Bermuda Biennial artist, studied at the International Sivananda School. She recently launched SOHAM, a social enterprise dedicated to providing lifelong, practical mental health tools through yoga.
Classes, which are held in the striking setting of the gallery, run September 26 to October 31, and take place every Monday from 1-2pm. Spaces are limited and must be booked in advance. Individual classes are $20 for BNG members and $25 for non-members.
Standing proudly in the heart of Hamilton, the City Hall & Arts Centre is the epicentre of the arts in Bermuda. The building, which was built by Will Onions in the late 1950s, provides a sanctuary amidst the bustle of the island’s only city.
Housing both the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts, along with the Earl Cameron Theatre, the landmark celebrates the arts, in all its forms, under one roof.
With the Bermuda National Gallery recently named Best Museum and the Bermuda Society of Arts named Best Gallery in the 2022 Best of Bermuda Awards by The Bermudian Magazine, there is no better time to visit.
As BNG celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the BSOA celebrates its 70th anniversary, step in to explore 100 years of Bermuda Art.
City Hall & Arts Centre is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Closed on public holidays.
Best of Bermuda Awards: Best Museum
Situated on the first floor, the Bermuda National Gallery houses Bermuda’s national art collection and presents innovative exhibitions and programming for every member of your family. A dynamic institution with an energetic staff and volunteer team, the contemporary art museum delivers world-class art and culture experiences in the heart of Hamilton.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the gallery, whichgrew from a collective of artists who returned to the island in the 1970s after studying abroad; their shared workspace becoming a place of collaboration and discussion for young, visionary Bermudian artists.
There are three exhibitions currently on display: The 2022 Bermuda BiennialA New Vocabulary: Past. Present. Future., which showcases the best of Bermuda’s contemporary art (shown above); From Darkness to Light: Portraits by Henry Wardwhich captures key figures in Bermuda’s diverse communities and A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunderswhich showcases a selection of striking black and white photographs held in the gallery’s permanent collection.
Admission is $5 for adults, free for BNG members, seniors, students and NARM members.
Best of Bermuda Awards: Best Gallery
Established in 1952 and celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the Bermuda Society of Arts is the oldest arts establishment on the island. The gallery was originally housed in the Hamilton Hotel, which stood where the City Hall & Arts Centre carpark is situated today. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1955 and upon completion of the City Hall & Arts Centre in 1961, the gallery was granted a lifetime tenancy.
Affectionately known as The People’s Gallery, BSOA provides an essential space for emerging local artists to both showcase and sell their work. Many of Bermuda’s established artists showed their work for the first time at the gallery.
Situated on the top floor of City Hall & Arts Centre, the gallery works with both individual artists and community organisations. Launched in 1983, the Bermuda Society of Arts Scholarship Award provides financial assistance for Bermudians pursuing higher education in art and underlines the gallery’s mission to nurture the growth of visual art and artists in Bermuda.
Current exhibitions include The Journey to Emancipation: Summer Members Show and The Marine Art Prize. Shown above: The Annual Primary Schools Art Show 2022, photographed by Akil Simmons for The Royal Gazette.
Admission to the Bermuda Society of Arts is free.
City Art Tour
Launched 7 years ago, VIVID: The City of Hamilton Public Art Initiative, previously known as the City Arts Festival, brings artworks outside the four walls of the City Hall & Arts Centre building and into the streets of the city.
The City of Hamilton recently launched a city art tour map, allowing visitors to complete a self-guided art tour of the city. Taking in 19 works, mostly large-scale murals, such as Flourish Your Mind by Alshante Foggo (shown above), the tour includes two works produced in collaboration with the Bermuda National Gallery in support of the Peaceful Art Protest (shown below).
Art Tour Maps can be picked up from the City Hall & Arts Centre. Or click here to download a copy.
Join the Bermuda National Gallery team this summer! We are hiring both Junior Camp Counselors and Senior Camp Counselors for our Art+Tech Summer Camp Programme.
Senior Camp Counselors, age 18+, work full time from July – August under the supervision of Education Officer Rehana Packwood and are responsible for daily camp management and following the weekly schedule. A background in youth camps or education is preferred, as is knowledge of digital art.
Junior Camp Counselors, aged 16-18, work under the guidance of our Senior Counselors to provide general support for camp.
All Camp Counselors must be available for the entire duration of camp, from July 1st through August 29th. Work hours are 8:30-3:30, Monday through Friday excluding the week of Cup Match.
The doors to the gallery are temporarily closed as we work on the installation of the 2022 Bermuda Biennial. The exhibition, which is sponsored by Bacardi Limited, provides a platform for the best of contemporary Bermuda art and opens to the public on Saturday, June 11.
Invitations to the Members’ Opening have been sent out. If you have not received an invitation and would like to attend, your membership may have lapsed. Please click here to take out a 2022 Membership.
As part of the Biennial celebrations, Richard Georges, the juror for the poetry component of the Biennial, and the Department of Culture’s 2022 Writer in Residence, will be hosting a public reading of his work at the gallery on Tuesday, June 14. Tickets are free.
Volunteers are at the heart of the Bermuda National Gallery. As a non-profit (registered charity #288) with a small team of 5 staff, the gallery could not operate without the hard work and commitment of a dedicated group of volunteers.
From the board of trustees who steward the sound governance and fiduciary oversight of the organisation, to art lovers who dedicate their time to greeting and guiding visitors through the space and those who help to install artworks and prep the gallery for exhibitions, volunteers are the very backbone of BNG.
The roles are myriad, as are the ages and experiences of those who volunteer their time. Volunteering not only supports the gallery, it also benefits those who share their time. Students can gain a valuable insight into the running of a museum; those looking to build their resumes can develop new skills; retirees are able to build new networks and forge deeper connections with the community.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we took a moment to catch up with some of our volunteers to find out what volunteering at BNG means to them and what they have learnt from their time at the gallery.
Charlene Scott & François Bertrand
Since retiring a couple of years ago, Charlene Scott and her husband François Bertrand dedicate one alternating day a week as front desk volunteers, where they meet and greet visitors. We caught up with Charlene and François, who are both passionate art collectors, to discuss their roles and why, in their experience, BNG is about more than just art: it has the power to educate people about almost anything.
BNG:How did you start volunteering at BNG and how long have you been at the gallery?
CS: Less than four years ago, my husband and I were invited to a Friday evening cruise around the harbour on the Bermuda Sloop. We met with BNG Chairman Gary Phillips and his wife Tricia. It was Tricia who sparked my interest in doing some volunteer work. I had been thinking of doing something after retiring from a very busy job, so I took the bait, and the rest is history. Originally, I did every Wednesday afternoon and since Covid, I alternate my time at the Gallery with my husband, François.
FB: I started a few months after Charlene as a floater as I preferred a flexible schedule, then moved to alternating Wednesday afternoons to complement Charlene’s schedule. I am still filling in, from time to time, when there is a need.
BNG:What do you do in your capacity as volunteers?
CS: I’m on the Front Desk. I enjoy meeting people and informing them of what is current in the gallery. Collecting the entry fee from visitors or persuading them to give a donation is also part of the experience. Taking and delivering messages is also an important aspect of being on the Front Desk.
FB: As a Front Desk volunteer our foremost role is to greet the visitors, collect the applicable fee and give them a quick summary of the various exhibits showing now. We answer their questions about the Gallery, and sometimes any other question they may have about Bermuda. Then there are all the other little tasks like renewing membership, selling the BNG paraphernalia and answering the phone.
BNG: You are both art collectors and collect works by many local artists. Has your experience as collectors affected the way you experience the works and exhibitions in the gallery?
CS: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is said! The gallery showcases different expressions of art and I get to see that first-hand. Being there does not really affect or influence the way I see works and exhibitions. As will be the case, I like some exhibits more than others. Art is so very personal. Recently, we purchased prints from one of the local artists [Meredith Andrews’ limited-edition prints, accompanying Flotsam and Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living].
FS: It is always interesting to see new work from artists we already know, and in some cases have purchased pieces from before. It is also always interesting to discover work from artists we did not know.
BNG: Why is it important to support BNG?
CS: Art is a form of expression. Our society needs to appreciate not only academic achievements; it should also value the artistic endeavours of persons, whichever form they take.
FS: The quick and easy answer is that it provides a platform for Bermuda artists to exhibit their work. However, art is a lot more important to society. To answer the above question, one must first ask: Why is art important to Bermuda? If I were to summarize my thoughts into one phrase or concept, I would say that the BNG has the power to educate people about almost anything.
BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience?
CS: Observing and having brief conversations with the people who walk through the door…they come from all walks of life, different countries and have varied experiences!
FS: Stuffing envelopes…just kidding! Viewing and learning about new exhibits and interacting with foreign tourists are the most interesting part of the experience of a front desk volunteer.
Sophia Tessitore has been volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery for the past year. The recent Bermuda College graduate comes in once a fortnight to assist with a variety of different jobs, from prepping the gallery for new exhibitions and installing artworks to admin tasks. She credits her experience at the gallery with helping to open her eyes to a new career path and later this year plans to study online for a Bachelor’s of History from Royal Holloway, University of London, with the aim of pursuing a career in the museum sector.
BNG: How did you start volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery and how long have you been there?
ST: I began volunteering in March of 2021, after visiting the BNG for a gallery tour of the 2020 Bermuda Biennial with Governor Rena Lalgie and my art history professor at Bermuda College, Dr. Edwin Smith (who was participating in the exhibition). I initially got involved because I love art and thought it would be an interesting way to pass time; through volunteering, I discovered a new career path and set of skills.
BNG What do you do in your capacity as a volunteer?
ST: My first-time volunteering, I assisted with the installation of Gherdai Hassel’s first solo exhibitionI Am Because You Are. This was my first experience installing artwork, and was great as I got to learn more about the process of creating an art exhibition. Currently, I do reception and front desk duties, help with installation and occasionally assist with administrative tasks, such as organizing BNG’s email lists, transcribing interviews and proofreading press releases.
BNG: How can getting involved at BNG support the goals of young Bermudians interested in a career in the arts?
ST: I think volunteering is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in the arts. I’ve learned so much about the art scene in Bermuda along with the day-to-day work that often goes into operating an art gallery or museum, it’s incredibly fascinating and it’s an experience that will stick with me!
BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience?
ST: My favourite aspect would probably be getting to interact with those who visit, display their art or work in the gallery. Discussing art with them is so interesting and has been a great learning experience. Volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery is something that I would definitely recommend!
Stephanie Hardy recently began volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery once a week after school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme. The 14 year old student, who is currently in M4 at Somersfield Academy helps the team with a variety of tasks, from exhibition research to setting up the space for evening art classes. In order to attain the Bronze Award in the Duke of Edinburgh Programme, Stephanie needs to complete 12 weeks of community service, which her time at the BNG is helping her to achieve.
BNG: How did you start volunteering at BNG and how long have you been at the gallery?
SH: I started volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme. I started here in December of 2021, and I come and help out for about an hour each week.
BNG: What do you do as a volunteer?
SH: I usually help with current or ongoing projects in the gallery, from packing artwork to running errands. I also learn from those around me about what it takes to run a gallery. I have learned how BNG plans exhibitions and about hanging artworks in the gallery. I was also able to help with the art classes in the late afternoon, which was a great learning opportunity about the preparation involved.
BNG: Why is it important for young people to volunteer in their communities?
SH: I feel as though it’s important for young people to volunteer to help the community, especially if you’re volunteering in an area where you would be interested in pursuing a career path in in the future. It can create vital connections and friends within subsets of the wider community. It’s also improving the lives of those you help, and thus the community.
BNG: Would you recommend that other students complete their volunteer hours at BNG?
SH: Definitely. The team at the Bermuda National Gallery is very welcoming and willing to work with total beginners. It has a nice atmosphere, and it offers great in-roads to the art community in Bermuda. It’s also an interesting volunteer experience for those who are interested in how a gallery works.
BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience?
SH: Getting to go through older Bermuda Biennial artworks is one of my favourite things that I have done at BNG. It’s a great reflection of how art has changed, even in recent years. It acts as a time capsule for the art community in Bermuda, which is very interesting to look back on. Getting to know artists in the community, or those who have been in the community in the past, when flipping through the catalogues is intriguing.
If you possess a love for the arts and would like to get involved, please contact Volunteer and Operations Officer Lara Hetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for a new series of Yoga in the Gallery with Tiffany Paynter, starting Monday, April 18. What does physical, mental and emotional flexibility feel like in the mind and body? In this new 4-week series explore movement, breath and mindfulness to help improve your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
Tiffany is a two-time Bermuda Biennial artist, spoken word poet and yoga teacher. She studied at the International Sivananda School and is a co-founder of the Peace Within Prison Yoga Programme which teaches yoga to incarcerated men and women. She recently launched SOHAM, a social enterprise dedicated to providing lifelong, practical mental health tools to young people, parents, educators and youth service providers through yoga.
Take time out each Monday lunchtime for Yoga in the Gallery to feel better in your body and mind. The theme for this new 4-part series is Strength & Flexibility and classes take place on April 18, 25 and May 2, 9 from 1pm to 2pm.
Click here to register. Classes are $20 for BNG members and $25 for non members.