Photos: NMB Launches Azorean Art Exhibit

June 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

The National Museum of Bermuda launched a new exhibition, “Alternative Voices: A Perspective on Contemporary Art from the Azores,” featuring works by Azorean artists and celebrating the 175th anniversary of Portuguese immigration to Bermuda.

A spokesperson said, “On the evening of Thursday, June 6, 2024, a new temporary exhibition Alternative Voices: A Perspective on Contemporary Art from the Azores opened at Commissioner’s House, National Museum of Bermuda [NMB]. Over 80 art enthusiasts gathered for the launch party, including many with Portuguese connections and two of the three Azorean artists featured in the exhibition. The exhibit is part of the NMB’s celebrations of the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants at Bermuda and is sponsored by Clarien Bank.

“Alternative Voices features abstract sculptures and visual compositions by Azorean artists Susana Aleixo Lopes, Leonor Almeida Periera, and Filipe Franco, and guest curated by Leonor Almeida Pereira and Lisa Howie. The three artists explore themes of land, sea, nostalgia and renewal. Through their work, they offer a glimpse into the vibrant contemporary artistic culture of the Azores, encouraging a fresh perspective on the cultural ties between the Azores and Bermuda and the islands’ shared Atlantic identity.”

Elena Strong, NMB executive director commented, “The migration of individuals and families from the Azores, Madeira, mainland Portugal and Cape Verde to Bermuda has woven a fabric of interconnected histories and cultural exchanges. Alternative Voices honours these connections and builds on this legacy.”

The spokesperson said, “The National Museum is committed to being a place that encourages and supports the open exploration of our history, heritage, Atlantic World connections, and identity. We use contemporary art as an entry point to engage with our past, and our programmes provide opportunities for cultural exchange and a better understanding of the diverse experiences that make up our collective identity. Alternative Voices is a perfect illustration of this commitment. It complements NMB’s permanent exhibit Azores and Bermuda, using contemporary art to provide a fresh opportunity to reconsider the cultural ties between Bermuda and the Azores and our shared Atlantic identity.”

“Exhibit co-curator Lisa Howie further shared: “While we recognise and appreciate that they are artists from the Azores, we also appreciate that they are talented contemporary artists whose work communicates gracefully within the context of the contemporary art movement around the world. Alternative Voice showcases the experimental nature of some of the talent from the Azores.

“Experimentation for me is seen in how Filipe Franco is using natural elements of the earth and he pushes the boundary on what is the painting or sculpture. Susana Aleixo Lopes is playing with fire, literally. She experiments with weighty wooden materials and fire— embedding emotion and poetic expression. Leonor Almeida Periera experiments with acrylic paint, water and movement to create refreshing new perspectives on the traditional subject, the landscape.

“If we each take time with the artwork and move away from the basic question of ‘Do I like the work?’ to the questions: ‘How does the artwork make me feel? What does the artwork remind me of?’ then we will begin to make connections to the artwork. You will also discover the themes of land, sea, renewal, memory and nostalgia, themes that connect the two isolated archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Clarien is proud to partner with the National Museum of Bermuda on the Alternative Voices exhibition, showcasing the talent of three Azorean artists and exploring the deep historical ties between Bermuda and Portugal’s Atlantic islands,” said Michael DeCouto, Clarien’s Chief Digital and Marketing Officer. “This exhibition is not just a display of art; it represents our commitment to celebrating and supporting the diverse fabric of our community, highlighting the significant influence of the Portuguese on Bermuda’s cultural and historical landscape.”

The spokesperson said, “On Saturday, June 8, children and adults had the opportunity to meet the artists, dive deeper into artwork and make art at NMB. The artists, who are inspired by the land and ocean of their homeland, created two fun art activities for all ages that related to their artwork on display. Museum visitors were able to experiment with shape, co”lour and texture using natural elements like leaves, sand, charcoal and water to create their own works of art to take home.

Leonor Almeida Periera co-curator and artists, “We are delighted to participate in this exhibition and meet everyone who joined the opening night and the Saturday’s art activities. We hope you enjoy the exhibition as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. And thank you to the National Museum of Bermuda for believing in our work and inviting us to Bermuda.”

The spokesperson said, “Alternative Voices will be on display until October 7, 2024.”

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