Meet the BNG Team
Get to know the team behind the 2022 Best of Bermuda Award. As a small but nimble team of five staff, we all wear many hats. Our membership has grown over the past year and with a relatively new team in place we thought that we would introduce ourselves to you. In celebration of being named Best Museum we will be profiling each of our staff members over the next few weeks. In the last newsletter we met Peter Lapsley and this week we meet Eve Godet Thomas.
Eve joined BNG two and a half years ago as Director of Programming and Engagement, having moved to Bermuda a year earlier following the death of her mother, the artist Molly Godet. Born in London, Eve studied modern languages before joining the MA Fashion (Journalism) programme at Central Saint Martins, leaving to work on the fashion desk on The Times newspaper, where she spent 6 years as a fashion writer and stylist.
Shortly after Net-a-Porter launched The Outnet, Eve joined the e-commerce company as Fashion Director where she spent 6 years developing the look and feel of the website’s imagery, grew the styling team and launched the company’s first in-house label. She then moved into marketing, working for British fashion and homeware brand Caramel.
In her role at the Bermuda National Gallery Eve works closely with Peter on exhibition development, the two having co-curated I Am Because You Are by Gherdai Hassell, The Shadow Land: Cape Dorset Prints from the Bacardi Collection, Flotsam & Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living by Meredith Andrews and Testing Boundaries: In the Studio with Nancy Valentine and Christina Hutchings. She oversees all BNG communications – from the newsletter to the website and social channels and is responsible for the gallery’s events programming.
We caught up with Eve to discuss what a typical day in the gallery looks like for her and why internships are the key to a career in the arts.
BNG: What does a typical day at the gallery look like for you?
EGT: It varies from day to day, which is part of what I enjoy about it. I could be working on an upcoming newsletter, scheduling content for the website or BNG’s Instagram and Facebook. I might be researching an upcoming exhibition or working with our designer on the graphics for the exhibition materials. My day often involves liaising with other team members to plan upcoming programmes and deal with the day-to-day operations needed to make those things happen. Every initiative truly is a team effort.
If I am writing for a newsletter or an exhibition catalogue, I tend to work from home as I find it hard to concentrate in the office. There is always a lot happening, both in the gallery and in the office. When I interviewed one of our trustees, Mitchell Klink, about the insights that he had gained into the running of BNG from curating Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape, he likened working at the gallery to working in a start-up and I often think back to how true that is. It’s exciting and you can be nimble, but you also wear lots of hats.
BNG: What part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?
EGT: There are two areas that I enjoy the most: coming up with ideas – whether that is for exhibitions, programmes, events or community collaborations – and writing, particularly interviewing local creatives for BNG’s fortnightly newsletter and for the exhibition catalogues.
Peter and I have co-curated a number of exhibitions over the past two years, which I have really enjoyed. I recently curated the Richard Saunders exhibition on my own and it’s something that I would like to do more of. When I look back at my career, I realise that it always comes back to storytelling – whether it is journalism, styling, branding or curating, it comes back to telling a story through different platforms.
BNG: What would people be most surprised to know about your role?
EGT: A lot of people are intrigued by my role in general and what exactly it is that I do. I think that is true with a lot of jobs in the arts. Unless you are working in the arena, you are not aware of what goes on behind the scenes and all the jobs that go into making it happen.
When I was growing up, I knew that I wanted to work in fashion, but I didn’t want to be a designer, so I chose to go into journalism as I loved magazines. It was only by working by in the industry that I discovered how many other jobs there are in fashion – buying, merchandising, operations, graphic design, art direction, PR. They say that you can’t be what you can’t see, and I think that’s very true. I got my foot in the door through an internship at The Times newspaper, which was an invaluable experience and ultimately led to a full-time role. I hope that we can do the same with the BNG Internship Programme when it comes to jobs in the arts.
There are so many roles besides being an artist or an art teacher – curator, art handler, studio assistant, technician, archivist, registrar to name a few – yet people are often not aware of this, particularly in Bermuda where the job market is very traditional. The arts are an amazing pathway into so many varied careers; we see that with stories of students who have been through BNG programmes.
BNG: What is something that most people don’t know about BNG?
EGT: The fact that always gets me is that the Watlington Room is set to the exact same temperature as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is because when Hereward T. Watlington left his collection of European masterpieces to the Bermuda National Gallery, it was on the condition that it be permanently housed in a state-of-the-art facility, with the exact same climate and light controls found in the Met.
Next time you open the doors to the Watlington from the main gallery you’ll notice how difficult it is to open the double doors. There is a slight difference in temperature which causes a vacuum. That is why.
BNG: What is your favourite piece in the BNG Collection?
EGT: My favourite piece in the collection is St George’s by Daniel Putnam Brindley. It was most recently displayed in A Source of Inspiration: St George’s as Seen Through the BNG Collection, which recently came down. It is a Bermuda landscape, of which there are many, but with an untraditional approach.
It is painted in cool blue tones, when most people tend to select warm colours to capture the light. The painting also has two figures in it, which you don’t often see in landscapes. The figures are flattened, as are the buildings, which are reduced to geometric outlines that contrast with the softness of the trees and clouds.
The thing that intrigues me the most is that the top right-hand corner is left unpainted – whether intentionally, or unintentionally, we don’t know. I find the transition from the strict geometric approach of the painting to the raw brushstrokes in the corner fascinating. I could stare at it for hours.