Bermuda Arts Council Student Grant Awards
Bermuda National Gallery education initiatives are designed to provide opportunities for creative and independent thinking through an exchange of ideas and art education. Alongside technical skills, students develop art appreciation, critical thinking skills and creative problem solving.
Two former BNG education students were recently awarded Bermuda Arts Council Student Grant Awards. $10,000 went to Photini-Dawn Ingham, a former Berkeley Institute student now in the second year of a Diploma in Photography at Durham College of Applied Arts & Technology in Canada. She credits the Bermuda National Gallery Art + Tech programme as cementing her love of photography and opening her eyes to the possibilities of a career behind the camera.
Fellow BNG student Sabriyya Harvey, who was awarded $5,000 by the Bermuda Arts Council, recently returned to Canada to complete the final year of a BFA in Visual Arts at Mount Allison University. The mixed media artist, who achieved the Dean’s List in 2019, is a former Warwick Academy student and member of the Bermuda National Gallery Youth Arts Council.
We caught up with Photini-Dawn and Sabriyya as they return to their studies in Canada, to discuss what winning a Bermuda Arts Council Student Grant Award means to them and how the support of the BNG education programmes encouraged them both to pursue a career in the arts.
Student Grant Award: $10,000
Diploma Photography, Durham College of Applied Arts & Technology
BNG: Congratulations on winning the Bermuda Arts Council student grant award. What does it mean to you?
PDI: This bursary has given me the opportunity to go back to college and finish my studies. Without this grant I would have not been able to return to school this upcoming semester so this is a great blessing. With, this I am able to complete my studies and move forward in growing and moving on into fashion and portrait photography.
BNG: You are going into the final year of a Diploma in Photography. What do you hope to gain from the course?
PDI: Durham College has many opportunities for students to grow and to work on their business which prepares you for the working world in this competitive field. I look forward to gaining the knowledge and experience I need to become a successful photographer.
BNG: You told the Arts Council that you were given your first camera at the age of 4. Who gave it to you?
PDI: My uncle gave me my first camera and several other ones after that. He is a lover of photography. He was always wanting me to try new things and photography was one of those that stuck with me. I loved knowing that I could capture the beauty I saw with a click of a button.
BNG: What are your earliest memories of taking photographs?
PDI: My fondest and earliest memories are ones of me and my camera just venturing around my neighbourhood in my own world, capturing the world around me. With all the trees and water surrounding me, I was eager to capture it all.
BNG: You credit the Bermuda National Gallery’s Youth, Camera, Action programme (now the Art + Tech Summer Camp) as your first step into photography. What was your experience of it?
PDI: I loved the Bermuda National Gallery’s photography programme. It was my first step into diving deeper into photography and it gave me the courage to pursue it further. At first photography was simply something fun to do by myself but the feedback I received on the course made me realise that I could actually make something out of what I loved to do.
It gave me my first look into a side of photography that I had not touched yet. It gave me a broader view of the art world and photography. To have fellow photographers and creatives around me gave me a safe space to know that I could be successful in the arts.
BNG: You went on to intern with Nhuri Bashir, co-founder of Burnt House Productions, as well as Pink Sand Entertainment. How did this work experience help you to develop as a photographer?
PDI: Both of these gave me my first experience into the working world of photography. Nhuri taught me technical basics of photography that I built on with practice and later used when I joined Pink Sand Entertainment. Being responsible for capturing those priceless moments at events for Pink Sand developed my skills as a photographer and allowed me to put into practice all that I was learning with Nhuri.
BNG: What advice do you have for young people interested in pursuing photography?
PDI: I would tell young people to not stray away from your passion. A career in photography and the arts will not be the easiest path but push for your dream no matter what people may say. If you work hard enough you will make it. Trust your talents!
BNG: What is next?
PDI: After my diploma, I plan on taking a course in videography in England. I have enjoyed the semester I spent on videography and would like to expand my skill set. I love the idea of videography. It is essentially moving photographs. Being able to capture beauty in different ways has always fascinated me.
Student Grant Award: $5,000
BFA Visual Arts, Mount Allison University, Canada
BNG: Congratulations on winning the Bermuda Arts Council student grant award. What does the award mean to you?
SH: I am so thankful for the opportunity that the Bermuda Arts Council Grant has given me. Covid-19 has been an unpredictable obstacle in my education. The security of knowing that I have this support is something that I will forever be grateful for.
BNG: You are currently completing a BFA in Visual Arts at Mount Allison University. What do you hope to gain from the course?
SH: I am now in the final year of my BFA, which is structured to encourage the formation of my own practice. Most of this year will spent in our individual studios working through ideas. Currently, I am interested in exploring my identity through the deconstruction, abstraction, and reconstruction of African or traditional cultural methods of making in both Bermuda and the Caribbean.
I aim to create work about the dichotomy of my identity to attempt to understand it through the origin of culture, tradition, and language. Through my practice I hope to immortalise narratives and draw connections between our cultural past and present.
BNG: You told the Arts Council that art education is an important component in early childhood development. In what ways do you believe this to be true?
SH: I have come to understand through my work in education, both in Bermuda and Canada, how art can aid different areas of learning for all ages, especially young children.
For very young children, drawing helps with writing and the ability to tune fine motor skills in order to form the shapes for letters. Art education can be an essential interdisciplinary tool that can act as a way of reinforcing academics in other courses through visual learning; encourage creativity and excitement; allow for the opportunity to develop closer looking skills; improve language development and create spaces for cultural learning and understanding as well as public outreach.
BNG: Was this true for you in your own childhood?
SH: The most memorable moments of my early childhood are those times that I was encouraged to create. As I have grown older, I have come to realise that I am still a visual learner and I use this knowledge in my other academic classes.
BNG: You were a member of the 2014 Bermuda National Gallery Youth Arts Council. What was the experience like for you?
SH: It was a memorable experience for me. It was one of the first times where I felt like I had a voice and authority; where my ideas were considered and sometimes even implemented. The experience helped prepare me for leadership positions at Warwick Academy and was developmental in the way that I now consider the responsibility of teamwork.
BNG: Did your involvement in the Youth Arts Council programme encourage you to pursue a career in the arts? In what ways did it influence this decision?
SH: It allowed me to look at the gallery and its programming in a very different way. Being involved in the background of curating an event was an experience that has made me appreciate the hard work and hours behind all the shows that I visit. As a result, I applied to work as an educational assistant at the Owens Art Gallery in Sackville and I am considering a future in gallery education as an option.
It encouraged me to eventually hope to curate my own show as well as validate my art practice at a time when I was making decisions about my future career.
BNG: You intend to work as an art educator. In what ways did your experience both of art education at school and in the BNG Youth Arts Council programme encourage you to pursue this path?
SH: I have realized that my times in class were most enjoyable when I felt like I was learning about something that I was interested in. In the Youth Arts Council, this was manifested through brainstorming ideas with my peers who had similar interests as me. In class, this was through catering to my own creativity with each project. This realisation encouraged me to want to become an educator who caters to the children’s interests.
I consider art education as a way that I can incorporate interdisciplinary connections while keeping the foundations of form, subject and shape. The ways that I can take a class are endless and I’d like to think that I can leave some of those ideas and choices to the individual student so that they can enjoy the experience, whether they share the same interests or not.
BNG: You have worked as art specialist and camp councillor for the Bermuda government summer camp programme for several years. In what ways has this experience cemented your wish to work as an art educator?
Working with my mentors in the summer day camp programme has been a really affirming experience. The programme is a great opportunity for aspiring teachers to experience training in both lesson planning and delivering lessons, as well as the responsibility and difficulty of the profession. Over the past four years I have gained a lot of great friends and crucial experience. Most of all it has taught me how fun art education is.
BNG: What is next after your BFA?
SH: After I graduate in May, I plan to start my Bachelor of Education and remain in Canada. I don’t know exactly where that will take me at the moment and I’ve promised to keep myself open to all of the opportunities that are presented to me. However, I do know that I will continue my practice and further work in painting and sculpture.
The Bermuda National Gallery Youth Arts Council returns next month. This is a free programme aimed at students aged 13-17. Click here to register.