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Exhibitions

Exhibition Opening

A Bermuda Interlude: Paintings by Owen Merton

Thank you to everyone who braved the rain to join us for the Members’ Preview of A Bermuda Interlude: Paintings by Owen Merton. The exhibition, which is now on display in the Ondaatje Wing, presents a striking series of watercolours painted by New Zealand artist Owen Merton (1887-1931) in the year he spent living in Bermuda in 1922.

This is the first time that his paintings have been shown in Bermuda.

A Bermuda Interlude: Paintings by Owen Merton is on display in the Ondaatje Wing through to August 2024Exhibition curated by Dr Charles Zuill. Exhibition made possible by the loan of artworks from the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY. Sponsored by Sir Christopher Ondaatje, with support from Mari Harpur and Robert Steinhoff.

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Exhibitions

A Sense of Belonging

Connection and Community in Bermuda Art

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the opening of A Sense of Belonging: Connection and Community in Bermuda Art, curated by Dr. Edwin M.E. Smith. It was a fantastic evening. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, make sure to stop by!

The exhibition brings together works by artists of Bermudian heritage, drawn from both from the Bermuda National Gallery’s permanent collection and community loans, which collectively tell a story of connectedness.

Featured artists include Robert Bassett, Norman Lewis, Bill Ming and Graham Foster

Pictured above from left to right: Robert Bassett, Barbara Dillas, Dr. Edwin M.E. Smith, Graham Foster, and Sharon Muhammad.
From left to right: Dr. Edwin M.E. Smith, U.S. Consul General Karen Grissette, Minister Owen Darrell, and BNG Director Jennifer L. Phillips.

Exhibition curated by Dr Edwin M.E. Smith. With support from Bermuda Arts Council. A Sense of Belonging: Connection and Community in Bermuda Art is on display in the Humann, Young and Upper Mezzanine Galleries from November 21 through to March 2024.

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Exhibitions

Bermuda Wonderland

Step into Elizabeth Mulderig’s World

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the opening of Bermuda Wonderland by Elizabeth Mulderig. It was a fantastic evening. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, make sure to stop by and see Bermuda as you’ve never seen it before

Bermuda’s best-selling children’s author and illustrator depicts each of the island’s nine parishes through the lens of Alice in Wonderland in a series of large-scale paintings in which characters from Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book intermingle with Bermuda flora and fauna

There is a purpose-built children’s education space to take young visitors through Elizabeth’s process and an interactive game, designed in collaboration with virtual experience company Hi From the Future which brings the paintings to life. Click here to play along at home

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Exhibitions

Exhibition Opening

The Ocean They Inhabit

Thank you to everyone who joined us for last week for the opening of The Ocean They Inhabit. The photographs in the exhibition, which were taken by Andrew Stevenson over a two-day encounter with the same pair of whales, capture the majestic grace of the humpbacks in the wild.

Andrew Stevenson was feet away from the whales when capturing these photographs. Shot in black and white, the striking images allow us to see the humpbacks, who have monochromatic vision, to see the world as they see it around them, reminding us of our shared existence.

The accompanying film, captured utilising drone technology, follows a second pair of whales as they approach Bermuda’s shallow reefs at sunset where they exfoliate in the sand holes.  Its meditative quality is emphasised by the immersive experience of the arial footage.

It was a wonderful evening and we would like to thank Butterfield for their sponsorship of the exhibition, plus a special thank you to colourlab Bermuda and Frameworks, and to Goslings who provided the bar. 

Photographs by Brandon Morrison

The Ocean They Inhabit: Photographs by Andrew Stevenson is on display at BNG through to September 23. The exhibition is sponsored by Butterfield.

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Exhibitions

1,200 Students Visit BNG

Simplicity of Form

With the generous support of the Green family and the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, almost 1,200 students and over 100 teachers have visited the Bermuda National Gallery to see Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction since the exhibition opened at the end of January.

Bringing together an unparalleled selection of works by artists such as Frank Stella, Kenneth Noland, Bridget Riley and David Hockney, from the Green family’s private collection, the exhibition examines the development of abstract art and its seismic impact on contemporary Western Art.

We would like to extend a big thank you to the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club for the loan of their minibus, which has brought in students from schools the length and breadth of the island, including BCCL, Berkeley Institute, Bermuda Institute, BHS, Clara Muhammad School, Cedarbridge, Dalton E. Tucker, Eliot Primary School, Gilbert Institute, Paget Primary, Port Royal Primary, Prospect Primary, Purvis Primary, Saltus, St George’s Prep, Warwick Academy, West End Primary and West Pembroke Primary.

We would also like to thank Shanon Rose Robinson of the Ministry of Education for helping to coordinate the programme, which has seen class visits twice a day, every day, for the past ten weeks; alongside our many volunteers who made this possible, including Liliana Simmons who led many of the tours. 

Tours for classes and camps can be arranged throughout the coming months. Please contact Education Officer Rehana Packwood for more information at education@bng.bm

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction runs through to September 2023.

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Exhibitions

International Women’s Day

Balancing the Narrative

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction examines the development of abstract art and its seismic impact on contemporary Western Art. Of the 17 artists featured, only three are women. This is unsurprising given that at the time that this history was being written, it was from a Western and predominantly male perspective and so the most recognizable artworks associated with these movements reflect that.

It is, however, a canon which is being re-examined today in light of contemporary understanding, challenged by globalisation and inequalities in representation of both race and gender. This is illustrated by the belated recognition of overlooked female artists such as Hilma af Klint (Swedish, 1862-1944), whose large-scale abstract paintings pre-date Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872- 1944) by a decade yet have only been widely exhibited in recent years. She is now considered to be one of the first abstract artists.

The re-balancing of art history is underscored by the opening of the ground-breaking exhibition Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian at Tate Modern, London this spring, which will move to the Kunstmuseum in The Hague in the fall.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, we shine a spotlight on Bridget Riley, one of Britain’s greatest living artists, who has three artworks displayed in Simplicity of Form, illustrating both the length and breadth of her distinguished career.


Bridget Riley (British, b. 1931)

Untitled (La Lune en Rodage – Carlo Belloli)

Screenprint

1965

Synonymous with the Op Art movement, British artist Bridget Riley uses dynamic patterns to make the two-dimensional picture plane vibrate, disorientating the viewer. She says, “My paintings are, of course, concerned with generating visual sensations, but certainly not to the exclusion of emotion. One of my aims is that these two responses shall be experienced as one and the same.”

In 1964, Riley was included in New Generation at the Whitechapel Gallery, London alongside David Hockney, and in the seminal exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, New York the following year.


Bridget Riley (British, b. 1931)

Entice I

Acrylic on linen

1974

Originally only painting in black and white, in 1967 Riley began exploring the relationship between colour and light which she translates into geometric forms that undulate across the canvas. “I couldn’t get near what I wanted through seeing, recognizing and recreating,” she says, “so I stood the problem on its head. I started studying squares, rectangles, triangles and the sensations they give rise to.”

The following year, Riley represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, where she won the prestigious International Painting Prize. She continues to experiment, and major retrospectives of her work have been held on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years, including the Hayward Gallery in London (2019) and the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut (2022).


Bridget Riley (British, b. 1931)

Composition with Circles 1

Silkscreen

2001

With a focus on the ultimate reduction of form, in the early 1960s, artists such as Bridget Riley challenged the dynamism of the post-war Abstract Expressionists that had come before them. Experimenting into her eighth decade, Composition with Circles 1 (2001) marks a return to the black and white that Riley first began painting in and illustrates her fascination with precision, repetition and rhythm.


Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction is on display at BNG through to September. This exhibition is made possible thanks to the loan of artwork from the Green family.

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Exhibitions

Black History Month

Photographs by Richard Saunders

As Black History Month comes to a close, explore the work of Bermudian photographer Richard Clive Saunders (1922-1987) in A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders on display in the Ondaatje Wing.

Born into segregation, the realities of institutional racism in Bermuda propelled him to leave the island and shaped the direction of his photographic career. “What matters to me are people and their feelings,” said the photographer, aware of the power of his images – which were published in Ebony, Time, National Geographic, Life and the New York Times – to bring about social change.

“Above all it is the dignity of man, of whatever colour, creed or persuasion, that must come through in my photographs.”

Click here to read more

Top: Women Building Lesotho Track, Lesotho by Richard Saunders (Bermudian, 1922-1981), silver print, 1971; and Malcolm X with Elijah Mohammed and Muslim Dignitaries by Richard Saunders, silver print, 1950s. Collection of the Bermuda National Gallery. Above: Topic Magazines and Archival Materials. On Display at BNG in A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders
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Exhibitions

Members’ Opening

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the members’ opening of Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction. The exhibition is produced in partnership with the Green family and we would like to extend a sincere thank you to them for the generous loan of these artworks. 

This exhibition represents the third in a series that we have had held showcasing the Green family’s private collection. The first, Rebel with A Cause: Shepard Fairey, was held in 2017; followed by What’s Poppin’: Pop Art and Its Influence, held in 2019.   

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction, curated by Eve Godet Thomas, expands on this series both in terms of the time frame of the works but also the scale and scope of the works on display, including a move from the Hereward T. Watlington Room to the Humann, Young and Upper Mezzanine Galleries, allowing us to accommodate the works in a more expansive way.

The exhibition brings together a world-class selection of artists and artworks, examples of which are found in the most significant art museums across the globe, and we are thrilled to be able to present this in Bermuda.

As with all BNG exhibitions, there is robust educational programming and we have once again partnered with the Hamilton Princess, who have generously provided a minibus that will bring in primary, middle and senior school students from across the island. School tours have already begun and will continue to come in twice a day, five days a week, for the next ten weeks.  

If you have school age children, please let their teachers and PTAs know. Tours are free of charge and open to all schools, both public and private. For the previous Pop Art exhibition, we brought in over 3,000 students and 111 teachers, which had an incredible impact on our community’s young people.

For further information please contact Education Officer Rehana Packwood at education@bng.bm

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction runs through to September 2023.

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Exhibitions

BNG Wins Best Museum

As Bermuda Biennial Opens

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that in this, Bermuda National Gallery’s 30th Anniversary year, we have been awarded Best Museum in the 2022 Best of Bermuda Awards by The Bermudian magazine.

This is such an honour, and it is a reflection of the dedication and effort that the team here at BNG have put into our exhibitions, programmes and events. A big thank you to our artists, members and supporters for being engaged and involved, it makes a difference and it makes it all worthwhile, and thank you to the community for seeing the value in what BNG does.

With that in mind, I would encourage you to come out and see our exhibitions currently on display. The 2022 Bermuda Biennial recently opened to a crowd of over 200 people with the great support and sponsorship of Bacardi Limited. The exhibition is very strong and we have some familiar faces in artists such as Charles Zuill and Jonah Jones, but also some artists new to BNG such as Sabriyya Harvey and Jahbarri Wilson.

There is a tremendous range of work, and with the inclusion of poetry this year it has a depth of artistic exploration that epitomizes what the Biennial is all about. This year there are also two public works, one by Jacqueline Alma, and the other by Antoine Hunt. Jacqueline’s work is currently installed on the east lawn of City Hall & Arts Centre and Antoine’s artwork will begin installation soon! I really encourage you get out and have a look.

Accompanying the Biennial we also have the Henry Ward exhibition, From Darkness to Light: Portraits by Henry Ward and opening to the public on June 24th in the Ondaatje Gallery, A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders. This is an exhibition of 18 works from the Bermuda National Gallery’s permanent collection curated by Eve Godet Thomas and offers an engaging look at Richard Saunders‘ international works.

Kind regards,

Peter Lapsley MFA
Executive Director

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Exhibitions

Final Weeks

The African Collection

The African Collection: Our People, Our Places, Our Stories closes on May 28. The striking exhibition showcases the Bermuda National Gallery’s permanent collection of African art, which consists of 37 works, representing 22 peoples from 12 countries in sub-Saharan west Africa, which range from ritual sculpture to masks, functional objects and textiles.

On display alongside the collection is a series of works by French documentary photographer and film director Catherine de Clippel which illustrate several of the masks on display being used in ritual ceremonies and capture the distinctive mud architecture of Djenné and M’Pessoba that serve as the backdrop for many of the customs. 

We recently welcomed P2 students from Bermuda High School (pictured below) and P3 students from West Pembroke for class tours of the exhibition. If you would like to arrange a class field trip please email our Education Officer Rehana Packwood at education@bng.bm.

Click here for more information. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀