Bassett Family Art Exhibition Celebrates Legacy

May 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Bermuda Society of Arts will sponsor the Legacy Tapestry Roots exhibition at the City Hall Onion Gallery, featuring works from four professional Bassett family artists to celebrate their grandparents, Terrance and Josephine Bassett, alongside a family reunion this weekend.

A spokesperson said, “A unique Art Exhibition is to be held at the City Hall Onion Gallery sponsored by the Bermuda Society of Arts – titled Legacy Tapestry Roots featuring four professional artists of the Bassett Family, who will be celebrating their grandparents -Terrance and Josephine Bassett, with also a family reunion this weekend. The Bermuda family will be joined by many family members who reside in Canada and the U.S.A

“The exhibitors range from the family’s well renowned four professional artists, to those new to the scene who have been encouraged to showcase what is identified as very special ‘hidden talent.’ The featured professional family artists will include Joan Butterfield, Robert Bassett, Barbara Dillas and Nahshon Hollis. Other family contributions will feature Dr. Leonard Astwood, Dr. Aisha Bassett, Clyde Bassett, Josette Bassett, Malcolm Bassett, Dr. Melvyn Bassett, Theron Butterfield, Kiara Crockwell, Garry Dunn – Lightbourne, Eden Furbert, Isaiah Furbert, Micaiah Furbert, Rusheika Furbert, Jelani Woolridge and Sherri Woolridge.

Descendants of Terrance and Josephine Bassett Bermuda May 2024

The Professional Bassett Family Artists:

“Joan Butterfield granddaughter of Terrance and Josephine Bassett is a developer and Curator of numerous exhibits for fortune 500 companies and educational institutions throughout Canada, where she resides, and in the USA. Joan is a five -year member of the Board of Directors of the “Scotiabank Caribana Festival” and was a special guest who curated their annual art exhibits held at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario. A practicing-artists for over thirty-five years, has sold over eight-thousand works that can be found in private and corporate collections, museums, universities, hospitals, libraries, and city halls throughout the world.

“Ms. Butterfield, says that it has been her aim from the onset of her career to produce art that would become a vehicle, aesthetically linking the past to the future. She says that she strives to document and educate herself and others about her rich culture and heritage, and has endeavored over the course of her journey to present an artistic and positive presentation of the ‘African Diaspora,’

“Robert Bassett grandson of Terrance and Josephine Bassett, discovered at an early age his artistic ability which was encouraged by his parents. His earliest memory of painting a picture was at the age of 5 when he painted a sail boat on his father’s garage wall. In 1971, he left Bermuda to attend university in the United States, and while there, he would often decorate his apartment walls with colorful and eye-catching pictures. Following graduation from Central State University in 1976, Robert returned to Bermuda and took up a teaching post at St. George’s Secondary School. In the meantime, his attempted efforts to participate in the art scene in Bermuda were rejected by the status quo because his colors were too bold and colorful and did not conform to what was acceptable at that time. These rejections did not dampen Robert’s artistic spirit. Instead, Robert took his art to the street and did a ‘one-man’ exhibition on the sidewalk outside the Bermuda National Library. The response was overwhelming and the Bermuda public wanted to see more of this new artist and his work. Robert started painting in earnest and was granted his first ’One Man show’ at the Bermuda Society of Arts in 1991. In the ensuing years, as a colorist, his work was influenced by the gombeys, Bermuda’s kite-making tradition, and contemporary African figurativism. Robert’s success has included a ‘One Man Show’ at Howard University, which was held over an extended two-month period, due to popular demand. He was recently chosen by publishers Rinehart and Winston as one of 12 artists, whose work has been featured in a school text and work-book. Mr. Bassett’s artistic skill was also identified and chosen by the Bermuda Government to have his work featured on two first-day cover postage stamps, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Cup Match and the other celebrating the 30th anniversary of CARICOM.

“Robert’s beguiling originals can be found in the private collections of Susan Taylor, former Editorial Director of Essence magazine, Ben Carsen and the late Coretta Scott King.

“Mr. Bassett, says he sees himself as a universal painter. His work transcends cultural boundaries. He says he wants to do all that he can to contribute to the healing of our world because we are intricately woven together to form this beautiful tapestry, we call life.

“Barbara Dillas, granddaughter of Terrance and Josephine Bassett, originally intended to study Library Science, but the programme was discontinued at Central State University, where she decided to explore art as another option. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education, Ms. Dillas returned to Bermuda and spent several years working in the international Business Community, while teaching art during the evenings. She even had the opportunity to teach inmates at the old Casemates Prison – where she found many of the island’s talented artists. Ms. Dillas recognized, teaching these men, that although gifted, they often lacked some foundational skills. This experience encouraged her to become an art teacher. She worked in the public school system for twenty-nine years, impacting primary and middle school students for almost three decades.

“Barbara identifies with the Abstract Expressionism Movement – but has her own Bermudian flair. She has had the opportunity to showcase her art both locally and internationally, participating in the legendary Essence Festival and was also featured in a prestigious exhibition at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum.

“Now retired from teaching, Ms. Dillas continues to develop her art as she pursues her dreams. It has also been a goal of hers to assist other persons of talent to help them to develop their dreams and skills. In this regard, she has spearheaded several local murals in the Somerset area. One celebrating Bermuda’s outstanding footballer Clyde Best on the Somerset Cricket Club’s northern wall. A bus stop mural depicting former Somerset businesses that no longer exist, has impressed both locals and tourists alike. Ms. Dillas’ mentoring includes other community artists who she has involved in these community projects, such as one at the West End Sailboat Club, and more recently at the Anchor Restaurant in Dockyard. This is something that she plans to continue – enhancing the beauty of her community. She feels that this provides her with opportunities to collaborate with many other artists, through a variety of these projects. Using various medium and art forms, she says, has greatly contributed to her professional growth, development, and success.

“Nahshon Hollis a great, great, great nephew of Josephine Bassett developed a passion for art at just two years of age. He has primarily been oil painting since age seven. Nahshon says that he really enjoys painting. He says he does it from his mind and enjoys creating art that communicates ideas, messages, stories and narratives that he is passionate about.’ Even when I was younger’, he said ‘I would always draw something, then turn the paper over, and write a story on the back’. One of the ways that he says he sees art is as a language. He says, Art is a very powerful voice in the world, and he believes that it has played its part in the events over the course of the history of mankind. He says he sees no fault in using this power to try and influence the path where the world is headed, into the future. On a personal level, he feels there are too many problems in the world, for his art to remain ‘silent’. He says he does not impose this feeling on others, but says ‘why not create art to promote the well-being of the world’? There can be no wrong in doing that, and there can be no wrong in choosing not to do that also’, he says. Nahshon likes to speak on social issues through his art, and has even thought about dedicating an art show for that purpose and has already created a couple of pieces that speak on today’s issues, relating to themes of poverty, pollution, climate change, slavery, and war. He says he would like to do much more of that, as he has always had a desire to help the world through his talents.

“In 2005, Nahshon gave one of his pieces for auction, which helped to raise money for the PRIDE organization. In 2008, he also sold one of his paintings helping to raise money for a Sickle Cell Anemia Charity Organization.

“This exceptional young artist was selected as one of few winners chosen as ‘One of the Worlds Most Talented Kids’ and was featured in Oprah’s search for ‘Talented Kid’s.’ Nahshon was featured on her website. This exceptionally talented young man hosted his first Art Exhibition at age 13, at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda. He has also received numerous awards and was featured in past Premier Concerts. At age 14 he had the privilege of being part of a month-long Summer Arts programme, at Boston University. These are only a few examples of this gifted and exceptionally accomplished young Bermudian, who has a great future ahead. We are certain that we will be seeing even greater work by Nahshon, in future.

“The idea behind the exhibition is to highlight the talent within our family, offering support to each other during the preparation of works, all while receiving guidance from the seasoned artist in the family. It was also our aim to ensure that the process was fun and our hope is to encourage and ignite the interest of other local families to embark on a similar journey – in whatever area of skill or talent that may exists in their family!

“For the Bassett family, the experience has been an opportunity to further establish traditions that reflect, explore and connect with our family’s Legacy and by weaving the Tapestry of our family’s memories, we have come to truly appreciate the significance of the generational connections that strengthen our Roots.”

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