September 1st, 2014 - Marsh Harbour, Ab
National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
West & West Hill Streets
Nassau, New Providence
July 30th, 2014 - November 30th, 2014
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sundays: Noon – 4 p.m.
Admission: $5 Adults; $3 Students/Seniors
Free for children under 12.
Free admission for all Bahamians
on third Sunday of every month.
A Minnis Family Retrospective Exhibition
Eddie Minnis (1).
Mr. Minnis loves to pain outdoor scenes, mainly landscapes and town scenes, often
with wonderful Bahamian flora in full bloom. More often than not, these images are
unpopulated, even excising the traces of modern human society, not setting down the
telegraph lines, vehicles, or other evidence of the contemporary world, a paean to a tra
ditional Bahamian way of life in harmony with nature. One can clearly see, in his passion
for illustrating simple abodes and traditional Bahamian homes, the skill of his architec
tural training, while using the texture of the paint to create depth, bringing the stones of
buildings, the leaves of trees and shrubs, or the paneling of wooden houses, into relief
with a wonderful impasto technique.
Opening July 24th and running through Thanksgiving weekend until November 30th,
the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) will stage a large-scale retrospective
of the extremely gifted Minnis Family.
Starting with the extraordinarily talented Eddie Minnis, who was trained as an architect
at McGill University (graduating with a BSc. in 1971) but is actually a self-taught painter,
the exhibition will show his masterworks from the very early college years up to today
and will also highlight the major works of both his daughters -- Nicole Minnis Ferguson
and Rosheanne Minnis Eyma -- as well as his son-in-law, Ritchie Eyma.
Mr. Eddie Minnis (b. Nassau, 1947) first experimented with ink, watercolours and pas
tels; he was much beloved for his satires of the political landscape in the 70s in his car
toon series "Pot Luck," which ran in the Nassau Guardian for 7 years and in The Trib
une from April 1977 until October 1981. Recognising that oils had greater value and tex
ture, as early as 1965, Mr. Minnis was experimenting in applying paint with a palette
knife, using thick paint and broad strokes -- inspired by Van Gogh -- but later honing his
skill to a fine pointillism, practising an extremely precise gesture, executed with a very
small and delicate knife. Inspired by the French Impressionists, who painted en
“Reflections”, Roshanne Minnis-Eyma (2).
“Potter’s Cay Drama”, Ritchie Eyma (3).
Daughters Nicole (b. 1970) and Roshanne (lovingly called "Shan" by the family, b. 1972)
couldn't have had a better teacher; learning at their father's knee, both showed excel
lence in their field at an early age. The panoramic lens that Eddie used to look at the
world was, however, pulled into sharp focus and both daughters concerned themselves
more with the people that were missing in their father's work, creating carefully studied
portraits of regular folk, going about their daily life and labour. Perhaps it was an inher
ent maternal streak, but the Minnis girls saw not just the beauty of the country but the
beauty in the people -- the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons -- and the grace
brought to the simple everyday tasks they perform, no matter how mundane: fishing,
hair braiding, selling papers, cleaning fish, sharing a freshly cut coconut. Nicole's work
--mainly in oils -- records the emotions of the characters, etched in their faces or shin
ing through their eyes; she reveals a deep pathos for her countrymen and -women, and,
as a portraitist, can rival any of the greats. Her younger sister, Roshanne, also works in
oils but also excels in soft pastels; Eddie tells the story of how he gave her a box when
she was about 13 and he never picked them up again, recognising that his student was
to easily master him soon in that medium! Roshanne's work differs to Nicole's in her
concentration on the manual and physical labour undertaken by many Bahamians;
women in outdoor kitchens, men gutting fish or hauling conch; all of her subjects are
bestowed a certain grace in their tasks, showing a pride, dignity and dexterity in their
labor. Roshanne met her soulmate in Ritchie Eyma (b. Nassau, 1967), another painter
also in love with the Bahamian landscape, the traditional way of life, the people, the
landscape, though capturing them all in a darker-toned palette, possibly an influence of
his early years spent in Haiti, where the artists tend to use darker hues in their work.
“Lil Fisherman”, Nicole Minnis detail (4).