Two New Exhibitions Open At National Gallery

March 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Bermuda National Gallery has unveiled two new exhibitions: I Am Because You Are by Gherdai Hassell and Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape.

A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda National Gallery yesterday unveiled two new exhibitions: I Am Because You Are by Gherdai Hassell and Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape. BNG members can preview the exhibitions from Saturday, March 6 through to Thursday March 11. The exhibitions open to the general public on Friday March 12 and will run through until September.

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I Am Because You Are by Gherdai Hassell

“The Bermuda National Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Gherdai Hassell. In 2019, the former Bermuda Biennial artist uncovered a family tree which traced her lineage back eight generations from Bermuda via St Kitts to Africa, where her ancestor was captured and enslaved. Driven by an exploration of her own heritage, in this exhibition, Hassell examines the lasting impacts of slavery: re-imagining the identities of enslaved Bermudians in a series of striking portraits, texts, and installation inspired by the Bermuda Slave Registers and historic photographs in the Bermuda Archives. In scrutinizing her personal history, Hassell weaves an imagined narrative of Bermuda and its people, merging past, present, and future.

“This exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Culture with support from the Bermuda Arts Council and the Centennial Bermuda Foundation.”

Dr. Ernest Peets, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, opened the exhibition. He said: “The Department of Culture is pleased to partner with the Bermuda National Gallery [BNG] as a sponsor of Gherdai Hassell’s first solo exhibition – “I Am Because You Are”. This is an inspiring and moving exhibition that chronicles Gherdai’s family history and her connections to St. Kitts and Africa. More specifically, it traces our own difficult collective history as it relates to the Bermuda Slave Registers and how that journey intersects with Gherdai’s family story.

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“We are particularly intrigued by this solo exhibition because it speaks to the kinds of artistic works and experiences relating to the African Diaspora that we also seek to highlight as part our Emancipation Programme. The Department of Culture is delighted to support Gherdai Hassell’s artistic voice and vision, and encourage the community to support this young Bermudian talent by going to the Bermuda National Gallery to see her exhibition when it opens to the public.”

Peter Lapsley, Executive Director of the Bermuda National Gallery, said: “This exhibition began for us in 2019 when we saw Gherdai’s work in an exhibition at the Bermuda Society of Arts here in City Hall. We were struck by the immediacy and authenticity of her collaged portraits and encouraged her to consider applying to the Bermuda National Gallery’s 2020 Bermuda Biennial themed “Let Me Tell you Something” sponsored by Bacardi Limited.

“Gherdai applied, and was accepted by the international jurors with her impressive artwork “Interactions Bermuda” quickly becoming a visitor favourite and based on the artwork produced by our education programmes a student favourite too!

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“In getting to know Gherdai it became clear that she had an important voice and as part of our multi-year series exploring our place, our people, our stories, and our future, it was important that we give her a national platform. This has led to a year long process, complicated by a global pandemic, of working with Gherdai to create the exhibition “I Am Because You Are.” I want to thank Gherdai for her effort and engagement and also for her courageousness in making this exhibition.

“This exhibition is brave, challenging and beautiful and it is our hope that it will not only provide inspiration and contemplation, but that it might help us all reflect on our shared history.

“I would like to thank Minister Peets and the Department of Culture, whose sponsorship of this important exhibition was integral to it’s development and implementation. I would also like to thank the Bermuda Arts Council for recognising and supporting Gherdai’s work as an artist through their artist grant programme, and to the Centennial Bermuda Foundation for their kind support of the exhibition as part of their connected communities programme”.

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Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape

A spokesperson said, “Part of Bermuda National Gallery’s multi-year series exploring our place, our people, our stories, and our future, Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape takes in both local and international artworks to look at the ways in which artists have both faithfully translated and refracted the landscape, from historical traditions rooted in realism to contemporary experimentations.

“Examining our relationship with the natural world through three distinct lenses: realism, depth, and space; atmosphere, colour, and light; shape, form, and line, the exhibition provides the opportunity to see how others experience our shared world and encourages us to consider other perspectives; and, perhaps, see the world anew ourselves.

“The exhibition is support by Solterra Landscape and Design with education programming sponsored by AXIS.”

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Peter Lapsley, Executive Director of the Bermuda National Gallery, said: ““This exhibition is a direct response to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 in which a global pandemic moved many of us indoors but shifted our view outwards. On behalf of the BNG I would like to begin by thanking our guest curator BNG Trustee Mitchell Klink, sponsor SolTerra Landscape and Design and AXIS who have provided sponsorship for the Education Programming. I would also like to thank the artists, collectors and corporate collections including Bacardi Limited and Chubb Bermuda Limited for lending works lending artwork to the exhibition.”

Guest curator Mitchell Klink added: “This exhibit is a love letter to nature and Bermuda, expressed through diverse viewpoints, in diverse expression. We’ve pulled great artworks from the permanent collection and we’re grateful to be able to show incredible loans from private and corporate collectors as well as both international and Bermuda artists. There’s work here that will speak to traditionalists and history buffs; maximalists and expressives; minimalists and rationalists.”

- Photographs by Brandon Morrison for Burnt House Productions

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