BEYOND THE SURFACE—Art: Discovery, Healing, and Transformation by Chantal Bethel

Page 1



2019 · Grand Bahama Island · The Bahamas


Healing Mantra acrylic crackle on wood 12” X 30” Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2012


DEDICATED WITH LOVE to my husband Dr. Marcus Bethel



Love conquers all


Emotional Healing Facing Reality Believing I Can Surrendering to the Divine Meditation


Over the years, various writers, historians,


curators, artists, and art critics, have written


essays for my exhibition catalogs and

Visual Expression

two have written poems inspired by my art. Beyond the Surface is a collection of some


of these writings and illustrations


representing my art works exhibited at

Self Discovery

Hillside House Gallery,

Remembering Who I Am Accepting Who I Am Gratitude for Art’s Healing Power Honouring My Creative Energy

The D’ Aguilar Art Foundation, Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery, and National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. My artist’s journey continues and it is my hope that sharing this work through the lens of discovery, healing, and transformation

Freedom to Cry

encourages more creative expression, which uplifts us all.

Freedom to Praise Freedom to Love Freedom to Dance Sharing Again 4

— Chantal Bethel (opposite page) Good Morning Sunshine acrylic crackle on wood 18” x 18” Private Collection Belgium 2015



by Antonius Roberts, OBE Chantal found energy and time to work with a community of artists and historians on the island of Grand Bahama to help preserve the culture and history of that island. Her persistence has encouraged the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas to commit funds and resources towards establishing a satellite space in Grand Bahama Island at The Garden of the Groves.

– Ferdinand Porsche


ver almost three decades, I have witnessed Chantal E.Y. Bethel evolve from a delicate watercolorist, capturing tropical hues over emerald green seas with Bahamian sloops sailing into the sunset, into a multimedia artist exploring issues of identity, deep emotions and folklore of her heritage. She openly shares her stories of Hope, Love, and Survival in her work. A passionate human being with deep commitment to family, Chantal came to art later in life. She had to carve out time from her daily chores and slowly peel away layers of certainty to dive into the world of uncertainties as she explored her passion for the arts. Never settling, always digging beyond the surface, has elevated Chantal Bethel among the most important artists in The Bahamas today.


Between the pages of this latest publication, Chantal’s brilliance and artistry shine bright.

A passionate human being with deep committment to family, Chantal came to art later in life.

Beyond the Surface victory. She deserves a moment to celebrate as she is celebrated for her dedication and hard work. I am proud to acknowledge our friendship, and will always lift Chantal up in Light and Love. (2019)


acrylic crackle on canvas

18” x 18”

Private Collection




Healing Hands mixed media 11” x 17” Collection of the Artist 2016


A PERSONAL JOURNEY by Chantal E.Y. Bethel


n her article, Find Your Art to Awaken Self Healing, Kelly Brogan, MD., wrote: “Art has been neutered of its true power. Its power lies in transformation and shedding of blinders, lies, tales, and false identities.” My journey as an artist began with a quest for inner principles of Feng Shui and inspired by the Haitian School of Beauty. That movement was led by artists such as the late Bernard Séjourné and Emilcar Simil, whose dreamy evocative paintings celebrated women.

art by combining guided meditation, visual art, writing and sharing, I felt like I was being taken through my own healing journey. I became more inclined to allow the ugly to be seen. This expressive approach of creating art has helped me in getting to what is underneath the surface, allowing it to be seen or dealt with. Hence, my philosophy matured with the use of the crackle medium which is a metaphor for seeing the truth beyond the surface.

Healing through art is not something I sought after, but rather something that I discovered along the way.

Though the weaving of personal stories in my work is a key aspect of my creative journey, I was more inclined to portray the beautiful than the ugly because my thought was that in a world where anger, political turmoil and natural disasters are prevalent, as human beings we need to be connected to one another, we need beauty, tenderness and peace. Therefore, I felt no need to add insults to injury.

step for healing is to face reality—other steps are to believe you can, and then surrender. Healing through art is not something I sought after, but rather something I discovered along the way. After participating in “Art as a Healing Practice”, a method of making

Exploring the relationship between mother and child has been a recurring subject for me. Being separated from my mother at a young age was a very painful experience. Art and the beautiful blessing of becoming a mother myself have helped me to deal with the unresolved issue. I have learnt that healing is remembering who I am. I have learnt that healing is accepting who I am. So, I am thankful to art because I have experienced its power, whether the healing happens through self discovery or through witnessing.

At this point of my journey, I focus on art as a means for healing, transformation and wholeness. I am consciously honoring my creativity, letting this energy settle into my bones, and allowing my soul the freedom to cry, to praise, to love and to dance. (2019) Note: Art as a Healing Practice is a method created by Kathleen Horne, MA, LMHC, REACE, REAT — an artist, teacher, therapist, facilitator, and Co-Founder and Core Faculty of Expressive Arts Florida Institute.


24” x 30”

oil on canvas Collection of the Artist 1995


28” x 36.5”

acrylic crackle on carved wood



oil on canvas 36” x 48”

Private Collection Grand Bahama 2005


oil on canvas 24” x 30”

Private Collection The Bahamas 2005



by Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas


ypical of our region, Chantal Bethel’s back-

Bethel’s presence on the Bahamian scene was evident since 2003, but a real mark was made in 2011 with a body of work entitled Poto Mitan, created in a response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The artist saw her childhood home razed, the solid realities of her memory being erased, and this was the crucible in

tory of the Caribbean, our roots by birth, our ties with Europe through the vestiges of colonialism, our stories of relocation due to political upheaval. Born in Haiti, she left at 12 years old for Brussels, Belgium, where she was educated. Later, she relocated to She describes the The Bahamas where her father, Roger Victor, had previously reoverdue connection with settled. An agronomist, Roger Victor was in exile in the USA her inventive side valier regime, and was offered as a “renaissance,” a position at the Jack Tar Hotel in West End, Grand Bahama. and this re-birth connects

strengthened. The body of work was powerful, stark and resonated deeply with all visitors, bringing newspaper articles and acclaim both at home and internationally. Works from this particular body are currently owned by both the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, and the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Iowa, a museum with a very strong Haitian art collection.

While Bethel came to her with a deep spirituality artistic practice later in life— after a long career in medical in her person that is The Poto Mitan show took the artist management—she’s become even deeper into practice and her known as one of The Bahamas’ evident in her craft. painting expanded to bring a more foremost painters. She studied material focus to the canvas, which assiduously under mentors became a support for sculptural insuch as Bahamian artist terventions as much as for paint. Experimentations with Antonius Roberts, and furthered her education at new techniques, using Royal Palm leaves, objects applied Haliburton School of the Arts in Canada in the ’90s. to the surface—and particularly the “crackle” for which she has become known—may not be accidental, as this She describes the overdue connection with her “crackle” is reminiscent of the shattered earth and inventive side as a “renaissance”, and this rebirth literally allows the viewer to see beyond the surface. connects with a deep spirituality in her person that is evident in her craft. Emotion and a reconnection (continued on page 16) with her heritage is a strong part of Bethel’s practice, creating images that are reminiscent of the landscape of her youth, tales and stories that are passed down. 14

Base detail 1 mixed media on board 24” x 36”

in the Permanent Collection of The Waterloo Center for the Arts Museum Iowa, USA 2011


(continued from page 14)

The National Art Gallery has played host to Bethel’s works on many occasions, with an installation in 2007 and works selected for various iterations of our national exhibition, held every two years. Bethel has further received international recognition for her work on many occasions. Two of her paintings were selected to feature in a book of AfricanAmerican art: A Time, A Season - A Visual Tribute to Oprah Winfrey (published February 2011) by Janelle Dowell; as aforementioned in Waterloo, Iowa, and most recently she was the selected artist for the 2015 International World Day of Prayer. We hold Chantal E. Y. Bethel in high regard, not only as a representative of The Bahamas, but with strong associations to her childhood birthplace, Haiti, and her home for many years in Brussels, creating a complex and multilayered artist whose work (2015)

The Poto Mitan exhibition referenced in the essay above was held at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation in Nassau and curated by Holly Parotti. (2011)

Poem by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas oil on canvas 28” x 60”

Private Collection, Nassau, Bahamas 2011


Poto Mitan Sculpture mixed media on board 103” x 50” x 50”

in the Permanent Collection of The Waterloo Center for the Arts Iowa, USA 2011

Poto Mitan Sculpture—Base detail III mixed media on board 24” x 36”

in the Permanent Collection of The Waterloo Center for the Arts Iowa, USA 2011


Poto Mitan: Sculpture—Base detail IV 24” x 36”

mixed media on canvas in the Permanent Collection of The Waterloo Center for the Arts Iowa, USA 2011


Requiem for Haiti award-winning painting featured on the cover of Journal Collection of the Embassy of Haiti in Washington D.C., USA 2010


Here is a lyricism that sings of a reverence for life that reaches beyond the mundanities of everyday life, partisanship, ethnicity or race, and touches the universal core of humanity and its better and more enduring self.

— Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, author, researcher, and educator, in an excerpt from her essay, POTO MITAN: Cry the Beloved Country, Sing its Resilient Soul. (2011) Essay published in Yinna Volume 4 (2012), a publication of BACUS (The Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies), in association with Guanima Press Limited.


mixed media, gold leaf, oil and calabash on board Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2011


Exodus detail oil on canvas 24” x 36”

Collection of the Artist 1999

Exodus oil on canvas 24” x 36”

Collection of the Artist 1999


The painting was a kind of personal exorcism, in which Chantal Bethel purged her own childhood remembrances. The work again foregrounds the many potential hazards of migration, from being consumed by the sea’s waves or sharks, while pointing to some of the reasons why people brave these journeys. — Krista Thompson, PhD, Professor of Art History, Northwestern University. in an excerpt from the essay, Passage Through the Islands of Shallow Water: An Exploration of Migration in Bahamian Contemporary Art (1999), writing about the painting, Exodus, as published in Marginal Migrations, The Circulation of Cultures within the Caribbean–An Anthology (2003) Warwick University, edited by Shalini Puri.


Agonistes by Chantal e.y. Bethel is a stark portrayal of the emotional experience of surviving the three hurricanes that devastated Grand Bahama Island.

The title, Agonistes, is often found as an epithet following a person’s name, meaning “struggler” or “combatant”. It is the title of the poem by Milton, portraying Samson’s life and is the Greek form of the word agony. It seemed to perfectly encapsulate the experience of the people and alludes to their strength and religious beliefs.

Chantal’s evocative use of wooden roof shingle that inspired this installation, is a blatant comment on the physical destruction by the storms. From that point—grounded in reality, Chantal Bethel takes us on an emotional journey.

— Susan Moir Mackay an excerpt from the essay, Agonistes (2005)


Sculpture—Inside the box oil on wood shingles

Sculpture oil on wood shingle

Sculpture—Detail side 2 oil on wood shingle

24.5” x 6”

14” x 10”

11.5” x 17.5”

Collection of the Artist

Collection of the Artist

Collection of the Artist





WHEN WE YEARN by Ian Bethell-Bennett, PhD


elements of Bethel’s work that become more promiravel, migration, exile or emigration; being nent in other works. The movement’s way and swish of the expatriate, exilé or the migrant, refugee, life is very much present in these works. It is as if, even immigrant all denote movement, all connote when facing the truth, we have our ability to create joy, loss, displacement, separation. We are all always, heal and share love. The colours and once we move, looking for textures exude emotion. home and always restrucChantal Bethel’s work turing the way we relate to Once we experience a feeling and space. Sometimes the way we seems to capture this we lose the place where we felt this, relate to space is purely emobe it safety, love, hope, joy, we always tional, at other times it can link that place to the emotion we be physical. Edward Said’s Out felt there. When that place becomes of Place explores this physifeeling that comes up cut off from us, we create an even cal relationship cut off with deeper sense of the feeling or feelhome as his home of Palestine and never leaves. ings we had while there. The inability is erased by the creation of to access makes the feelings so much Israel. It is not simply that he more pronounced. Bethel’s art brings moved, but that the space has these emotions churning to the surface. been physically changed. The nostalgia for, the sweetness of, and the angst of the separation from, are clear in his writing. Some of Bethel’s work colours this loss as well. Though the space is still physically present and available, it is not the same. Edwidge Danticat’s Behind the Mountains ruminates on some of this loss, some of this distancing, overwritten by longing, yearning for home. In the art, we can feel this. In a group of paintings, Healing Hands, Solace, Facing the Truth, Believe, and Surrender, all give different messages: the placidity, liquidity and languid movements of the blue swirls through our minds and bodies. Creativity, fertility, and femininity distance from home, but still a missing caught in a teardrop. Solace is distinct as its reds and oranges offer up a different feeling. It also brings in other


We often yearn for what we do not have when we are out of place, to use a concept examined by Salman Rushdie and Edward Said, for example. We write more, we can, we paint more, if we can. As the world faces new crises in slavery, disempowerment and displacement, many harking back to the original sin of invasion and expansion, we look at art to show us where we are in ourselves. Perhaps this is why home is always with us, but always eludes us.

grounded feeling that comes up and never leaves. Home may be removed from our sight, but the inner vision is always there. Often, what we do not know on the earthly plane, we somehow know best on the spiritual,

perception, but it is more the quality of light, especially artistic, poetic, creative plane, perhaps this explains the various paintings from Bethel that explore the relationDerek Walcott talks about this well in The Antilles: Fragship between mother and child. There are two threads ments of Epic Memory. When Bethel creates, she does that seem to connect mother and child and her work so with the love that is reminiscent of “Break a vase, on heritage, the idea of losing something, being displaced and the love that reassembles the from it and the idea of needing to fragments is stronger than that reconnect, not necessarily physically Bethel’s heritage, love which took its symmetry but through paint, paper, canvas, to for granted when it was whole.” transcend the physical limitation of combined with her work (The Antilles). The vibrancy and this world and become an otherthe nuance as well as the collage worldly being through the creative on mother and child, effect of the mounting together, process. the binding of here and there is are exceptional in important to seeing the fullness. Bethel also brings to bear the interWhen we yearn we bring the sections of gender and migration the depth of feeling here and now into the past and as she grapples with the reality of the past can project itself into the gender inequality in The Bahamas the frame provides. future of creativity. confronted by a society that sees women as being engaged in yet Bethel’s Heritage combined with limited by their own gender. Her work around women’s her work on mother and child are exceptional in the depth of feeling the frame provides. Heritage is simple as overtly political which does not prevent it from beyet deep, the body, back of the person, apparently coming engaged with. Get Up Stand Up, One Voice and a woman, in the sunlight of the country, brown skin, Passage are all works that, for me, speak to the feminintouched by heat of bright yellow-orange light. ity of power and connection to the divine. When we inhabit different spaces the light hits us in different ways. The colour and the sound of the place go along with that light that has such an intense affect on how we experience art, how we see objects and how we live in our skins. Perhaps we can say that Bethel’s depth of emotion for home, transcends the physical and is akin to Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban that so eloquently captures, love, loss, revisiting and rupture. We may assume only that the temperature changes our

When we yearn, we create memories that transcend the physical space of separation to create submerged transnational links; this is what art does. Art speaks of universality while it speaks of the personal. The relationship with a canvas can be enormously personal, as some of Bethel’s pieces attest, but it can also reach out to and connect with a large and varied audience who may never have had that experience captured between paint and canvas. It is the love Walcott speaks of as things are put back together that holds the eye. (continued on page 28) 27

(continued from page 27)

In The Survivors, there are captured hints of escape, migrancy and movement. There is a vague idea of survival, struggle, and strife that I equate to the coming of Haitians to The Bahamas in hopes of a better way of life, but yet facing tremendous stigma and exclusion that makes them rely on themselves for survival. They are survivors. Hauntingly present and also touching, The Darkest Hour, brings this image and thought even more clearly into focus, and speaks again to that multi-vision we need to have in order to see all the beauty and potential around us. Could The Darkest Hour be the beginning of life, so much promise, so much sadness, so much joy, and the obvious end of life that comes with it? Perhaps this goes too deep into a religious reading of birth and death, but it also allows us to see beyond the surface, and it is stunningly beautiful, though all too brief, as time’s winged chariot rushes us through our days and nights to a crescendo, often subtle, that leaves these memorable moments etched in spirit. So much to see and so much more to feel when we yearn. (2018)

acrylic crackle and paper on canvas 24” x 36”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2016

Danticat, Edwidge. (2004). Behind the Mountains. New York: Scholastic. Garcia, Cristina. (1992). Dreaming in Cuban. New York: Knopf. Said, Edward. (1992). Out of Place. New York: Knopf. Walcott, Derek. (1992). The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory


Passage acrylic crackle on wood 23.5” x 24”

Collection of the Artist 2018


oil on canvas 24” x 36”

Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2003


oil and gold leaf on canvas 24” x 36”

Collection of the Artist The Bahamas 2015


Heritage jute cloth and oil on canvas 24” x 36”

Private Collection The Bahamas 2005


oil on canvas 24” x 36”

Collection of the Artist 2011


CREATION & RE-CREATION by Paula Boyd Farrington

The water and earth move and sway

and in the early morning rays I see with new eyes noticing deeper patterns and textures and light moving in and out with the tides of harmony showing me worlds upon worlds and symbolic shapes of love and generosity and beauty there is natural abundance dancing in the shifting shapes walking, waking, immersing myself in this moment whirling with wonder we are one with the sea with the sand, and the trees mystical, moving messages and showings of the vibrant neverending cycle of creation and re-creation. (2009)

oil on canvas 24� x 60�

Private Collection Paris, France 2007


oil on canvas 30” x 40”

Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2007


acrylic on canvas Private Collection The Bahamas 24” x 60”

acrylic on canvas 30” x 40”

Private Collection Grand Bahama 2014

featured on cover 2018


acrylic on canvas Private Collection The Bahamas 24” x 60”

acrylic on canvas 40” x 60”

Private Collection Belgium 2014

(following pages) (image used on cover of this book) acrylic crackle on canvas 25”x60”

Private Collection, Nassau, Bahamas 2013





for Chantal E.Y. by Marion Bethel Can I get a witness?

slow slow like you some strange kind of hibiscus

Sometimes borning does just seem to happen

grounded in some unknown airless soil

sudden sudden like we some toy of a god out of control

you wondering why you in this unholy land alone

when we in that blind cramped channel

why the early morning dew pass you by just so

drifting with the red tides

leaving you cold closed up tight

packed head to knee

within your ironclad dreams of a safe garden

curling twisting stretching rewinding

you wondering why the midday sun

at the end of a string, a childgod’s yo-yo,

aint wake you up in a hot sweat

sweating mucous and blood

you begging time to be your friend

slippery and slipping

to let you bud again – one more chance –

between life and death

to heal you cramping, fretting hands

hands loosening the rope at our throat

And you still afraid to wake up yourself

a soft spot of skull knocking

to hear your own voice

knocking against breathless bones

recovering your fertile hands

of a four inch nature path

the same hands that break your fall

We wait our turn for deliverance

when you leap from the middle passage

But hold on! We did give the order that day

them same hands willing and ready

connected to life by a pulsing cord gone mad

to hold and reshape your perfect dread fortysome years later

in the middle passage demanding to be born again to dive to leap to clutch at air

Can I get a witness?

on the other shore in another land

Sometimes surrendering does just to happen

Aint no turning back

too late too late like I some soldier of heaven’s fortune

to the decomposing bloodied shores

who shoulda know the sacred laws of nature from the middle passage


Can I get a witness?

shoulda learn that borning is perfectly timed

Sometimes awakening does just seem to happen

Aint nothing is sudden sudden

not even the birth of hurricane same way sea, air and wind ready theyself to convulse the earth And when the holy cry come direct (no middleman trickery) And when the holy call come straight and the afterbirth of awakening dislodge pull up it last anchor my delivered hands remember history Just as I surrender I begin to paint what I can’t see to write what I can’t hear I bear witness to the silence of a tongueless deep and speak what I can’t see or hear I write in ancient images paint in words of the soul The spirits accompany me the holy land of wonder adventure and rapture Just as I am I surrender (1997)

Sculptured Royal Palm frond and oil 15” X 8” x 63”

Collection of the Artist 2005


A TEAR AND A SMILE by Lisa Codella


hantal Bethel uses the weight of her compelling talents as a visual artist to point out to us that in many respects, we can only fully appreciate joy when we enter it through the doorway of our most painful experiences. The body of work, A Tear And A Smile, juxtaposes those two places on the map of our emotional posites, but are in fact two ends of a line that curve, and ultimately unite, to form the circles of our most pivotal experiences. In the piece, The Blue Journey her signature use of the crown shaft of the royal palm tree invites us into the moment of healing when expectation and hopeful supplication meet. In her unique way, Bethel has coaxed the image of a woman who is actively engaged in seeking answers to her pain. In fact, the

name to take one on a journey that is moving, enriching, and enlightening for anyone who has had cause to shed a tear. In Metamorphosis, Bethel captures the instant one moves from the emptiness of hiding behind a mask devoid of expression, to reveal the true self. A vulnerable moment indeed, but truly liberating as the striking clarity of the eyes that stare back at you from the canvas create a connection that was impossible through the about-tobe-discarded mask. “This is when a change takes place from the mask to the real you,” says Bethel. “To remove the mask you must have courage and acceptance if you want to move forward in a positive way. Until you accept the way things are you cannot change them.” We all need healing, but do we embrace or resist it? Do we realize we are partners in our own healing? That healing is a process that we can and must participate in

are essential to making the progression to healing: believe, forgive, hope, release, and surrender.

always encourage people to explore art and creativity

Quite telling throughout this body of work is the absence of any depiction of hopelessness in the midst of pain. Undoubtedly, this can be attributed to Bethel’s personal philosophy toward navigating Life’s painful experiences. “For me I always see the positive. The tears are beautiful in a way because they take you somewhere that is better.”

the truth you have to believe that there are steps that you can take to get better, and then you surrender.” Perhaps the essential message that echoes throughout Bethel’s canvases in A Tear And A Smile is that healing will process, and in the beauty that unfolds along the path. (2014)

In Bethel’s world, tears are not a sign of liquid weakness, but they are an essential step in the process that moves us from pain to power. It is safe to say that A Tear And A Smile belies its simple and inviting

Facing the Truth acrylic crackle, seaweed on wood 12” x 12”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2011



Solace acrylic crackle on canvas 30” x 40”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013


acrylic crackle and seaweed on wood

12” x 12”

Private Collection




acrylic crackle on canvas’ 18” x 24”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013


acrylic crackle and seaweed on wood

12” x 12”

Private Collection




Sculptured Royal Palm frond with acrylic 18” x 8” x 30”

Private Collection Paris, France 2010


Sculptured Royal Palm frond with acrylic and paper various size tears, acrylic crackle on wood 9’ x 4’ Collection of The D’Aguilar Art Foundation 2013


acrylic crackle on wood 24” x 60” Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2012


Exhale acrylic crackle on canvas 30” x 40”

Private Collection The Bahamas 2013


Tears of The Moon acrylic, plaster, and holey stones on panel 8” x 10”

Collection of the Artist 2016


HOLEY SPACE: A SANCTUARY IN MEMORIAM OF THE TAINOS by Natalie Willis, Assistant Curator, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas


art inner sanctum, part history lesson, Holey Space exists as an honest but healing look at

Columbus and the Tainos. This play on words sets the tone for Chantal Bethel’s intimate body of work in the Project Space of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. It generates reverence to these ancestors we never knew, addressing the gap left in our lineage from these original Bahamian inhabitants. For Holey Space, Bethel opted for a tone of honor and rememberance, making the space one to uplift – but to never forget. She has designed the space to serve as a place of deference to the past, but with a hope to feel more optimistic for the future. She has played the part of a storyteller, sharing this history and speaking on behalf of these people we know so well through books but often feel so disconnected from. The “Holey Space” acts as a bridge in this way, a way to connect. “While I want to tell the truth, I believe we need peace in this world. There is so much violence here and the rest of the planet, and terrorism on the horizon for so many— there is even a sort of terrorism of nature like we have just experienced through hurricane Matthew! So that is why I wanted to create a sanctuary. It is a place where you face the facts, but in a setting where you feel Peace and Love.”

The stones used throughout many of the works are all very peculiar with their holes at the center—hence the wordplay in the title. She began collecting them two years before creating the work at the beach at High Rock in Grand Bahama and began to look further into used as amulets for protection by many native peoples. “The pile of holey stones I have collected that rest in the centerpiece of the installation serve as a representation of those that died, like their bones put forward for contemplation. It is called Rising Souls and the work is almost like a burial mound in remembrance for the Tainos. The circle at the top of the piece works as a further form of protection, as circles are also symbols of protection, something that keeps the ‘bad’ out. That is also why there’s a circle at the door; the circle allows you to come into the sacredness of the space in safety and wellness.” As Bethel strives toward a space of contemplation and

Holey Space—a cathartic space—is meant to uplift with beauty despite the darkness of the past. (2016)

Calling upon ideas of ancient tombs and temples with the petroglyphic style to her paintings, carving into the paint like the walls of a cave, with the circle at the entrance serving as a portal into a space of ism of openness and shelter, to further bolster this idea of a safe and neutral sacred space. 53

The myth was gold. The myth was youth. The myth was hope ... the promise of nectar to heal. In Bethel’s Holey Space, we honor the matriarch, goddess Atabey, as she hunts, gathers, protects and glistens, like gold in the shine of the sun. She is unmovable; the heroine, mother, and the center of her parable.

the frame of her body writhing on history pages, withering away slowly from our collective memory and what we are left with are traces. — Holly Bynoe Chief Curator, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in an excerpt from The Curator’s Note published in the catalog, Holey Space–Honoring Taino Consciousness (2016)

acrylic, crackle, holey stones, fossil, on wood 6” x 13”

Collection of the Artist 2016


Feather Man acrylic, plaster, seashell on wood 6” x 6” Private Collection

Nassau, Bahamas 2016


acrylic, plaster, string on wood 6” x 6”

Collection of the Artist 2016


acrylic, plaster, and holey stones on wood 6” x 6”

Private Collection Texas, USA 2016


Celestial Requiem metal, acrylic, gold leaf, plexiglass, holey stones, on wood 30” x 32”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2016


acrylic, crackle, holey stones on wood 8” x 10” Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2016


(above) closeup detail holey stones 2016

Rising Souls holey stones suspended on 24” x 36” x 108” Collection of the Artist 2016


(opposite page) Entrance to exhibition National Art Gallery of The Bahamas with thanks to Chief Curator Holly Bynoe and Assistant Curator Richardo Barrett for their guidance, direction, and support in creating the symbolic entry to this project space. 2016

Bringing awareness to the plight of the Tainos, honouring their heritage, and using their language, Bethel is creating a sanctuary for all massacres and acts of terrorism, irrespective of geography, language, sexuality, cultural difference or skin colour ... She succeeds in providing not only a ‘Holey Space’ for a lost race and culture, but in these chaotic times, a hallowed space for everyone. – Susan Moir Mackay (2016)


HOOKED Artist Statement by Chantal Bethel, Hooked exhibition


oes Emotional Pain go away when you numb it with drugs?

Is there a way we deal with the underlying painful emotions of depression, shame, self-hatred, fear, that fuels the compulsive drive of addiction? Through the installation entitled Hooked, I explore the struggle and long-term effect of addictions. To create the work, I use various natural materials such as tobacco and pills for their symbolic potency, referencing destruction and even death. I also explore the role that art can play to encourage positive and effective recovery. To this end, I created the keyhole—an omen of new discoveries, thoughts, or feelings—-an icon of new experiences and new knowledge.

(facing page-left)

Courage acrylic crackle, wood, candle, hooks, and key

cigarettes and acrylic crackle Collection of the Artist

chicken wire on wood

10” x 10”


12” x 36”

The repetitive keyhole announces the approach of

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas

light, new insights, and provides hope previously


hidden from the addict.




12” x 36”

(facing page-right) Genesis-Wisdom Weed acrylic crackle,

Collection of the Artist 2017


acrylic crackle on wood


acrylic crackle and pills on wood

12” x 36”

12” x 36”

Collection of the Artist

Collection of the Artist



Partial View of the Installation Hillside House Gallery Nassau, Bahamas 2017


inside view wood, hooks, key, acrylic 10” x 10”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2017


Box Cover acrylic crackle on wood 10” x 10”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2017



by: Ilene Sova Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting Ontario College of Art and Design University

– Callie Khouri, screenwriter of


he past two years have been extraordinarily

the human relationships we hold the dearest? These questions and versions of them are swimming about in the public consciousness. Although it is much too soon to know the answers, what seems clear is that if we are to have a way forward; we need a hand in the design of what we want our future to look like. We will need to be creative, manifest new ways of water symbolism, birth, being with one another, and imagine possibilities that bring us back into a and rebirth, that exude healthy balance.

from each piece immerses

us in a return of women around the globe. Newsfeeds are full of disturbing stories of sexual assault, the falls from grace of several male celebrities and cultural icons, and the pulling back of dark curtains revealing immense pain and abuses of power in all sectors of our society. Social commentary abounds on how the enormity of this abuse was allowed to go on for such long periods of time. Women from all levels of society began to speak out in large numbers, bringing what was hidden behind closed doors, out into public view. Secrets of violence whispered to each other in back channels were suddenly being blasted loudly on cable news; relentlessly dissected, cast with doubt, and denied by powerful men. How does this onslaught affect our consciousness? How does bearing witness to these damaging stories change the way we view ourselves and the women around us? How will these revelations and their ubiquity change how we interact with one another? What does the future hold for


In this exhibition, Yin, Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, Laurie Tuchel, Del to nature. Foxton, and Paula Boyd Farrington work towards this seemingly impossible intention. Through a visual journey into a return to balance, these women begin to show us, through art, a time of harmony, a return to respecting the sacred feminine and the healing it has to offer the world. Upon examining these works, one can imagine these women in their studios working past the misogynist upheaval through the vehicle of their artistic practices. Around them, as they move in and out of mental disaster, men overpowering women, reactionary politics, and sanctioned state violence. However, in this sacred space they create as artists, a new visual language that calls forth a beautiful world where humanity can return to harmony. A world that manifests celebrating women echoed in organic shapes, sacred patterns and communal collectivity. As one moves through the space of this exhibition, forgotten is the angled hard world that values the impersonal, and the individual. The world that protects the abuser and defames the storyteller is ban-

ished. The hard angles and the rough edges of a society that value power, and worships what is keeping us off balance, fades into the distance. It is instead replaced by a new warm, beautiful future where the Goddess reigns supreme. Is it possible to manifest a new world through the creation of art? In her book Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, bell hooks states that, “The function of art is (hooks 281). These women compose this declaration clearly, stating that their work is a celebration of “each a balancing sun and moon, light and -

protecting and respecting the land and water. It tells us that the answers are all around us and inside our humanity.

In the book, When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone writes that ancient goddess worshipers believed their deity was Bethel calls forth in “creator and law-maker of the universe, prophetess, provider of three dimensions human destinies, inventor, healer, hunter and valiant leader in battle.” women’s power, and a Out of the studio and into the gallery, the artists of Yin bring forth a human kinship with deity that battles oppression with visual expression. A prophetess the natural world ... that tells us a story of a new way of living and being that is coming in our future. A healer that

(Chantal Bethel’s Statement).

sculptural and painted vessels that call forth rebirth, reincarnation and the new life that we yearn for. that exude from each piece immerses us in a return to nature which provides us with the answers of how to begin again. Bethel calls forth in three dimensions women’s power and a human kinship with the natural world that once lost can be found again. Yin takes us on a journey to the answers to our burning questions. It asks us to remember the power and value of women; to bring our lives back into balance by

new harmonious way of being that is balanced and respects the environment that we inhabit. She is a hunter that goes out on a journey and brings back the qualities of love for oneself and love for others through intention and imagination, collectivity and collaboration. Magical in its optimism, the Goddess that Yin manifests will provide the viewer with a new space of transformation. She provides us with a space that shows us what is possible when we come together in community to honour women and the communities that they bring forth. (2018) Work cited: · hooks, bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. Routledge, 2008. · Stone, Merlin. When God Was a Woman. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. 69

Blooming from Within Assemblage four-sided view acrylic crackle, calabash, rope on wood 8.5� x 32�

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2018


Blooming from Within Assemblage acrylic crackle, calabash, rope on wood 8.5” x 32”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2018


While the Calabash—this non-edible hard-shelled fruit—can remind us of the “womb”, I view it in a broader creative sense.

I see it as a vessel of Love, Healing, and Transformation, carrying the medicine, nourishment, and magic the world calls for. – Chantal E.Y. Bethel YIN Artist Statement (2018)

(opposite page) Birthing acrylic crackle, calabash, on wood 12” x 12” x 13”

Collection of The D’Aguilar Art Foundation Nassau, Bahamas 2018



Catharsis closeup detail

Catharsis acrylic crackle, calabash, plastic, resin, on wood 13” x 48”

Collection of The D’Aguilar Art Foundation Nassau, Bahamas 2018


closeup detail acrylic crackle on canvas 12” X 48”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2018


BEYOND THE SURFACE by Susan Moir Mackay


he Bahamas has a reputation that seems indisputable: endless blue sky, bright sun, hot balmy days, turquoise crystal ocean, soft pale dress any of these ubiquitous stereotypes demands a vision beyond typical.

After Poto Mitan, this is her movement back into light; the works are bright and airy. Soft colour palettes sing. Pieces are diverse, ranging from paintings on canvas to paintings on wood, and amusing, or tense, sculptures. But don’t be too beguiled by those entrancing colours and familiar

Chantal Bethel has developed a reputation for painting and creating from her soul. She is impassioned to express whatever moves her. Thus, her artworks carry a certain ineffable emotion. Whether she is addressing the subject of woman, mother and child, or in more recent works, an installation—Poto Mitan: Prayers for the Healing of Haiti— a response to the earthquake tragedy of her birthland, she brings a silent, indomitable emotional intelligence to her works.

makes the work seem to be familiar Bahamian paintings, but something about the intriguing textures and almost obsessive use of crackle paint suggests more.

There is a swinging shift between themes in Bethel’s work: at one moment she is dealing with love—a sultry breeze across the canvas—other times she deals in horror and death. In a recent conversation with the artist in her studio, she explains that after working in the dark subject matter of the Haitian earthqake tragedy for a couple of years, Bethel is ready to embrace beauty again—to “exhale from the soul”. Through a metaphoric vision of the beauty of the Flamingo, Bethel explores Susan Taylor’s idea that Love, Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty are the primary attributes of spirit, and the very substance of who we are.

mystic who, through poetry, offers insights into a spiritual life beyond this mundane reality. The quotes are not titles per se, but suggest a relationship between his writings and Bethel’s painting; a hint of something beyond the surface. The work is incredibly charming and it is easy to be distracted by their aesthetic appeal. The surfaces seem to crack open to light and they successfully convey the essence of The Bahamas in their shimmering colour ranges. Rich textured surfaces defy gravity and become about light. And yet, the crackle is still there. I am struck by a work in which the whole surface is covered in a shiny glaze that also allows large cracks to still be seen. It is as if we are being shown some deeper truth about the nature of reality, as if the silent glossy cracks expose the truth that the sheen of life is not as implacable as we might believe.

eggs: whole egg forms covered thickly in gesso, large carefully cracked open “eggs” with inner Mandalas or sun designs, eggs neatly opened to expose personal myths. (continued on page 78)


acrylic crackle on canvas 14” x 14”

Private Collection Finland 2013


(continued from page 76)

I am intrigued by the sturdy nature of the eggs. However, her eggs are unyielding. This produces an interesting tension between the highly crackled paintings that look incredibly similar to broken eggshells created into a mad collage. As if recognizing the fragile nature of the egg, Bethel inadvertently wants to protect it, and hold ful and insidiously broken. We talk about existence and I sense that Bethel is using her art to process her deeper fears and thoughts about life. In recognizing the metaphor have a suspicion that the new depth of layers in Bethel’s work is more than merely technical. It is a compelling

each other are created by the crackle-effect paint, contrasting with a lightness and sensitive handling of paint to express the deeper paint textures, resulting in a mesmerizing piece. The viewer is captured by a silent conplexity, a tenderness and brokenness delicately held in a kind embrace.

If you are willing to look into the depths beyond the charismatic images, the divinely human soul in Bethel’s works.

corrupted by a coruscated shattering and their eggs, which are toughened to protect, gives the viewer a glimpse at hidden layers of life, as complicated, paradoxical, and profound as it can get.

body of work are real broken eggs, and following an inner compulsion by Bethel, “... then I cracked one and the thought of light came to me; they needed light”, she brings a completion to the works by allowing the true nature of the egg to reveal a deeper metaphorical purpose by allowing the cracking, or as Bethel concurs, “... like your children, you always want to protect them, but if you give them wings, they should be ok on their own.” The circle of eggs then becomes the conclusion to the cycle of life. Fledglings leave the nest and things have to be broken in order for life to break free.

ous and singular as Rumi’s. If you are willing to look into the divinely human soul in Bethel’s works.


acrylic crackle on canvas 30” x 40”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2012




Love is a portion, of the soul itself, and wherever I am. I want to show my soul.

(facing page) Resting acrylic crackle on wood 12” x 12”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013

(this page) Diptych acrylic crackle, tissue paper, found object on wood 8” x 8”

The Dawn Davies Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2012


(this page) The Rising Sun acrylic, crackle, transfer on canvas 18” x 24”

Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2012

(opposite page) acrylic crackle on pane 18” x 12” l Private Collection The Bahamas 2013



I was born with wings; I am learning to use them new ways

acrylic crackle, calabash, wood 14” x 14”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013


In your light I learn how to love.

acrylic, eggshell, tea candles, 16� diameter Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2013


acrylic crackle on panel 12� x 12�

Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2013

The love between me and my children cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.


acrylic crackle on canvas 30” x 36”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahama 2013



As The Bahamas was chosen to be the host for International World Day of Prayer 2015, artists were asked to submit works to be used during the International World Day Of Prayer conference. From the proposals, the painting Blessed, representing Forgiveness, Peace, and Love, by Chantal Bethel, was chosen to represent The Bahamas.

International World Day of Prayer—established in 1927—is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who invite you to join in prayer and action for Peace and Justice

the International World Day of Prayer service was translated into more than 90 languages, and experienced by over 16 million participants in over 170 countries. 88

Blessed acrylic crackle on canvas 24” x 36”

Collection of the Artist Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2014

(below) Blessed detail feet of Christ


acrylic crackle and plastic on wood


Private Collection

The Bahamas


Though I may wander, I have learned that the real treasures are within me.


A few years ago, as a birthday gift from my husband, I was invited to visit Inagua, the southernmost island in The Bahamas, and home to over 80,000 West Indian Flamingos. This is a gift that I will always cherish as it afforded me the opportunity to acrylic crackle on canvas

12” x 30”

Private Collection

Belgium 2015

this amazing display of God’s creation. I was in awe seeing a delicate bird, graceful in to the point of oddity. – Chantal E.Y. Bethel 92

acrylic crackle on canvas 30” x 36”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013


Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.

Bird House acrylic crackle, bottle, rope, wood, metal, and found object 12� x 36�

The Dawn Davies Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013


acrylic crackle on canvas 24” x 36”

Private Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2013



Peace acrylic crackle, carved tear drop (wood) on canvas 12” x 9”

The Dawn Davies Collection Nassau, Bahamas 2014


and Love

acrylic crackle, carved tear drop (wood) on canvas 12” x 9”

Private Collection Grand Bahama Island 2014





SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2016 Holey Space—National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas. Catalogue 2014 A Tear and A Smile—Hillside House Gallery, Nassau, The Bahamas. 2013 In The Spirit—Hillside House Gallery, Nassau, The Bahamas. Catalogue. 2012 Poto Mitan—The D’Aguilar Art Foundation, Nassau, The Bahamas. Catalogue. 2008 Paradise—Freeport Art Centre, Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas. 1997 Bahamas Wonderland—Central Bank Gallery, The Nassau.

INTERNATIONAL GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2017 BahamArt En Seine, French Arts Factory, Paris, France. 2016 Harlem Fine Art Show, The Historic Riverside Church, New York, USA. 2015 Guanahani, Maroussia Show Room, Brussels, Belgium. 2015 Imago Mundi,The Benetton Foundation, Venice, Italy. 2015 From Christopher Columbus to Junkanoo, Centro de Arte, Santiago de Cuba. 2012 Salon d’été, The Artway Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 2011 The Bahamas in Atlanta, Tyler Perry Studios, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 2003 Caribbean Art Festival, New York, The Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard. 2000 An Evening of Bahamian Art and Culture, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Florida, USA.


JURIED EXHIBITIONS - LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL 2010 Artists United, Embassy of Haiti, Washington DC,USA. Catalogue. 2008 NE4—4th National Exhibition, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Catalogue. 2006 NE3—3rd National Exhibition, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Catalogue. 2004 NE2—2nd National Exhibition, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Catalogue. 2003 Inaugural National Exhibition (INE)—National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Catalogue.

SELECTED LOCAL GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2018 YIN—Hillside House Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas 2018 Instinct II—From Darkness to Light —Transforming Spaces 2018, The Current at Bahamar, Nassau, Bahamas. 2017 Hooked—Transforming Spaces (TS2017), Hillside House Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. 2015 Finding Joy—The Grand Gallery, Freeport, Grand Bahama. 2014 Instinct—a women exhibition - Central Bank of the Bahamas Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. 2013 20/20—Traveling exhibit with Artist Sheldon Saint—Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. 2012 Fiber —Transforming Spaces, Doongalik Studios and Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. Catalogue. 2008 Sugar—PoPops Studios and Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. 2007 Freedom Call, Glory Banks Gallery, Freeport, Bahamas. Catalogue. Curated by Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, and Antonius Roberts. 2005 Timeline, a two-woman traveling exhibit with artist Claudette Dean, Freeport and Nassau. Catalogue. 2002 We Dream a World, Central Bank Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. 2001 Spirit of the Bahamas, Central Bank Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas. Catalogue. 2001 Four Corners, Sir Charles Hayward Yacht Club, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.


2000 Historical Building of The Bahamas—Millennium Calendar, Central Bank Gallery, Nassau, Bahmas. 1999 Passage: Travel & Migration in Contemporary Bahamian Art, Central Bank Gallery. Catalogue. 1999 Between Friends, a two woman travelling show, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. 1997 Bridging the Gap, National Women’s Week, College of The Bahamas Art Gallery. 1996 Hear Me Roar, Central Bank Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas.

PUBLIC ART/ PROJECTS 2010 A Grand Bahama Vision, Mural at Bolam House / Love my Bahamas, Nassau Bahamas, in collaboration with Artist Claudette Dean. 2009 Memorial bench at Centerville House / Antiquities, Monuments & Museum Corporation of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas. 2007 In collaboration with Laurie Tuchel, embarked on a multifaceted project to preserve and showcase the historical and cultural heritage of the Freetown community on the island of Grand Bahama. 2000 All Things Bright and Beautiful. In collaboration with fellow artist Claudette Dean, the project facilitated an art workshop for Lavender Roberts’ students of Early Childhood Department at Sunland Lutheran School, ending with an exhibition at Miami Children’s Hospital in Miami, Fla. USA.

VISITING ARTIST PRESENTATIONS 2007 Colors of Paradise, Caribbean Conference, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. 2005 Heritage, Caribbean Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


AWARDS / HONORS / GRANTS 2016 Honored as Cultural Legend for the 43rd Independence Anniversary of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. 2016 A Commemorative postal stamp of The Bahamas featuring Bethel’s winning artwork, Blessed. 2015 Selected Artist/Grant from the Int’l World Day of Prayer for her painting, Blessed. 2010 Award of Excellence from the Haitian Embassy in Washington D.C., Judges included: Mr. Fabian Goncalves, from the Museum of the Americas; Mr. Fritz Racine, from the Haitian Art Society; Mr. Marcel Wah, from Kylti. 2008 Honored by the Bureau of Women affairs of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Freeport for Outstanding Achievement in the realms of Fine Art. 2001 Honored by Miami Children’s Hospital for support of children’s issues through Art.

PERMANENT PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS Waterloo Center for the Arts Museum, Iowa, USA The Benetton Foundation, Italy The D’Aguilar Art Foundation, Bahamas The Dawn Davies Collection, Nassau The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas Solo Myriad Agencies, Atlanta, USA Miami Children’s Hospital, Fla, USA Emerald Bay Resort, Exuma, Bahamas The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Freeport, Bahamas The Embassy of Haiti, Washington D.C., U.S.A. Emerald Bay Resort, Exuma, Bahamas Ernst and Young, Nassau, Bahamas 103

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE 2013 – 2017 National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Deputy Chair of the Board.

committed to research and telling the story of Grand Bahama Island’s Heritage by intertwining Art and History together.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY/PUBLICATIONS Including art books, anthologies, magazines, newspapers: 2018 Selected for the Cover of WomanSpeak Journal fairytales, essays, and art by nineteen Caribbean women writers and painters. 2013 Featured artist in Love and Responsibility, The Dawn Davies Collection, edited by Dr. Erica James. 2012 Featured in Yinna 3—published by The Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies. 2012 In The Bahamas, Chantal Bethel Prays for Haiti through Art by Alexander Britell, The Caribbean Journal. 2012 Selected for the Cover of WomanSpeak Journal Vol.6 / 2012, a Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean women. 2011 POTO MITAN: My Journey of Prayer for the Healing of Haiti catalog book published. 2011 Cry the Beloved Country, Sing its Resilient Soul, by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas. Featured in Yinna 3, published by The Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies, and Poto Mitan Catalog in 2011 2010 Featured Artist: A Time, A Season—A Visual Tribute to Oprah Winfrey by Janelle Dowell, co-founder Black Art in America. 2010 Featured Artist in The Caribbean Writer, an international literary anthology with a Caribbean focus. 2007 ‘Bahamian Artist Attracts Attention in Art World’, The Washington Times International Reports by David Paulin. 2003 The Islands of Shallow Water by Dr. Krista Thompson. Marginal Migrations: The Circulation of Cultures within the Caribbean—An Anthology by Warwick University. 2002 Power Magazine, Featured Artist, essay: Art that Speaks from Within by Karen Wallace Armbrister.


Body Talk watercolour on paper 18” X 24” Private Collection New York 1998


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Marion Bethel MA, Attorney-at-Law, has published two poetry books, namely

, which won The Casa of Las Americas prize in 1994, and

Ian Bethell-Bennett, PhD, is a former Associate Professor / Dean, Liberal and Fine Arts, at the University of The Bahamas. He has written extensively on race and migration in The Bahamas, cultural creolisation and gender issues. His writings often speak to the curative and transformative properties of art to bring beauty, peace and healing to communities.

Paula Boyd Farrington celebrates the creative life as a mixed media artist, writer, poet, coffee table book graphic designer, and Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Based on Grand Bahama, she is a proponent of the satisfactions of creative pursuits. Her work is inspired by both a beginner’s enthusiasm and a virtuoso’s practiced championing of the imagination.

Holly Bynoe, MFA, is the Chief Curator for the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. A curator, visual artist, cultural instigator, and writer from St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Bynoe is the co-founder and director of

the premiere visual art and culture publication focusing on contemporary work created throughout the Caribbean and its

diaspora. She is a graduate of Bard College | International Center of Photography where she earned an M.F.A. in advanced photographic studies.

Lisa Codella, BSc, Communication, is a writer, ceramic artist, and studio potter who is inspired by the endless perfection of nature and the history and legends of The Bahamas. Amanda Coulson MA, is Executive Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. She is a writer and art critique who wrote for a wide variety of international art magazines, such as Modern Painters,



, and

. Coulson is one of the co-founders of the Volta contemporary art fairs held in, Basel, Switerland and New York, USA.

Susan Moir Mackay, individuals and communities. Susan has travelled extensively and has invested much of her time to art education projects and facilitating art, as well as creating exhibitions that delve into our humanity from both societal and personal standpoints.

Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, MSc Ed, is a Bahamian-born poet, author, culture critic, and researcher specializing in Bahamian art, culture, history, and communication.

Antonius Roberts, conservationist, Roberts created a series of young Bahamian artists. He is also a recipient of the 2018 Queen’s Honours (OBE).

Ilene Sova, MFA, is the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting, heading the faculty of the Drawing & Painting departments at Ontario College of Art + Design in Toronto. She is the founder of the Feminist Art Conference and Blank Canvases, an in-school creative arts programme for elementary school students. Sova was chosen to speak at against women.

Krista Thompson, PhD, Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is author of


(2015). Thompson is the co-editor (with Claire Tancons) of ,




, and

(2008), and (D.A.P., 2015) and her articles have appeared in


Natalie Willis, MA in Fine Arts, is an Assistant Curator for the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. An emerging British–Bahamian curator, artist, and cultural worker, she has been an invited speaker at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference (2017), and the Museums Association of the Caribbean Annual Conference (2016). Natalie Wills is also the Curatorial Fellow in partnership with University of Texas at Austin Art Galleries at Black Studies. 106

Motion graphite and pastel on paper 28” x 22” The Dawn Davies Collection 2002


Editor & Book Designer Paula Boyd Farrington

Photo Credits Marcus Bethel III Blas Ingraham Arianne Etuk Lyndah Wells Paula Boyd Farrington Jock Hall Christine Matthäi Copyright © 2019 · Chantal E.Y. Bethel · All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without express written permission of the author except for the brief use of quotations in a book review or other non-commercial use. Printed in Canada ISBN 978-976-820-105-8 Publisher i-EASE Publishack · Ian Barrington Scott Fernander New Providence Island, The Bahamas 108

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank You to my dear husband and sons, my wonderful family and friends, mentors, collaborators, patrons, collectors, sponsors, and to the divine grace, love, gratitude, and community that is with me on this journey.


INDEX abuser, 68 addiction, 62 African-American, 16 Agonistes, 24, 25 altar, 40-41 Amanda Coulson, 14, 106 Antonius Roberts, 6, 14, 101, 106, 111 Art as a healing practice, 9 Atabey, 54 Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies, 20, 104 beauty, 9, 28, 34, 42, 53, 68, 69, 76,106 bell hooks, 69 Bernard Séjourné, 9 beyond the surface, 6, 9, 14, 28. 76 birth, 14, 16, 28, 40, 41, 68, 69, 72, 76, 92 blood, 40 Blue Journey, 42, 49 bones, 9, 40, 53 borning, 14, 40, 84 Brussels, 14, 16, 100 calabash, 21, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 84 Callie Khouri, 68 Caribbean, 14, 23, 76,100, 102, 104, 106 carve, 53, 96, 97, 106 Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery, 4, 100, 102 childhood; child, 9, 14, 16, 23, 27, 40, 76, 78, 86, 102, 103 Christian, 88 Claudette Dean, 68, 72, 101, 102 colonialism, 14, 53 Columbus, 53, 100 Commemorative Stamp, 88, 103 contributing writers, 106 crackle, 2, 5, 7, 11, 14, 28, 29, 39, 44-50, 51, 54, 59, 62-67, 70-80, 82-98 creativity, 4, 6, 9, 14, 16, 26-27, 34, 42, 53, 61, 62, 68, 69, 72, 76, 78, 92 Cristina Garcia, 27 culture, 6, 23, 61, 69, 100, 106 D’Aguilar Art Foundation, 4, 16, 49, 72,74, 100, 103 dance, 4, 9, 34, 36, 37, 50 Darkest Hour, 28, 31 darkness, 53, 69, 76, 101 Dawn Davies, 81, 94, 96, 103, 104, 107 death, 28, 40, 62, 76 Del Foxton, 68, 72 Derek Walcott, 27, 28 discovery, 4, 9, 62 earth, 14, 26, 34, 41 earthquake, 14, 76 Edward Said, 26, 28 Edwidge Danticat, 26, 28 embrace, 42, 76, 78 emigration, 26 Emilcar (Similien) Simil, 9 emotion, 6, 14, 24, 26, 27, 42, 62, 76 emotional healing, 4 energy, 4, 6, 9, ethnicity, 20 exile, 14, 26 exorcism, 23 feminine, 26, 27, 68, 106 forgive, 4, 42, 88, 112 found object, 81, 94 freedom, 4, 9, 78, 101, 106 God, 40, 48, 69, 92 Goddess, 54, 69 grace, 68, 92, 109 Grand Bahama Island, 1, 24, 53, 106, 109 Guanahani, 100, 106 Haiti, 9, 14, 15, 16, 19, 28, 76, 101, 103, 104 Haitian Embassy, Washington, 19, 101, 103 Haitian School of Beauty, 9


Haliburton School of the Arts, 14 harmony, 34, 68, 69 heritage, 6, 14, 27, 32, 60, 102 healing, 4, 8, 9, 15, 26, 40, 42, 45, 47, 53, 62, 68, 69, 72, 76, 104, 106, 112 High Rock, 53 Hillside House Gallery, 4, 65, 100, 101 Holey Space 53, 54, 61, 100 holey stones, 52-60, 108 Holly Bynoe, 54, 60, 106 home, 14, 16, 26, 27, 92 hope, 4, 6, 26, 28, 42, 53, 54, 62, 76 hopelessness, 42 human, 6, 9, 20, 56, 57, 68, 69, 78, 106 hurricane, 20, 40, 53 Ian Bethell-Bennett, 26, 106 Ilene Sova, 68, 106 in the spirit, 90, 91, 94, 100 inhumane act, 56, 57 International World Day of Prayer, 16, 88, 103 invasion, 26 Janelle Dowell, 16, 104 journey, 4, 9, 23,24, 42, 49, 68, 69, 104, 108 joy, 26, 28, 36, 42, 101 Karen Wallace Armbrister, 104 Kathleen Horne, 9 Kelly Brogan, 9 keyhole, 62 Krista Thompson, 23, 106 land, 40, 41, 69life, 6, 14, 20, 24, 34, 26, 27, 28, 34, 40, 42, 69, 104, 109, 110 Laurie Tuchel 68, 72, 102 life, 6, 14, 20, 24-28, 34, 40, 42, 69, 76, 78, 106 light, 6, 27, 34, 62, 69, 76, 78, 85, 101, 106 Lisa Codella, 42, 106 love, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 26, 27, 34, 53, 69, 72, 76, 78, 81, 85, 86, 88, 97, 102, 104, 106, 109 love, wisdom, strength, and beauty, 76 : , 23 Marion Bethel, 40, 106 mask, 42 memory, 14, 27-28, 53, 102 mentor, 14, 106, 109 Merlin Stone, 92 middle passage, 40, 41 migration, 23,26-28, 102, 106 Milton, 24 misogynist, 68 mixed media, 8, 15, 17, 18, 21, 42 mother, 9, 27, 54, 76, 86 mother and child, 9, 27, 76 movement, 9, 26, 28, 34, 42, 68, 76, 88 Natalie Willis, 53, 106 National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, 4, 6, 14, 16, 53, 61, 100, 101, 103, 104, 106 nature, 40, 42, 53, 68, 69, 76, 78, 106 Nelson Mandela, 112 nostalgia, 26 Oprah Winfrey, 16, 104 organic, 68 pain, 9, 42, 62, 68 Palestine, 26 Palm, 14, 41, 42, 48, 49, 76 passion, 6, 76, 106, 111 pattern, 34, 68 Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, 16, 20, 106 Paula Boyd Farrington, 34, 68, 72, 106, 108 peace, 9, 53, 88, 96, 106 petroglyphic, 53 pleasure, 41 Poto Mitan, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 76, 100, 104 power, 4, 9, 14, 26, 27, 42, 68, 69, 72 prayer, 9. 16 race, 20, 61, 106 reality, 4, 9, 24, 27, 76

rebirth, 14 recovery, 40, 62 renaissance, 14 requiem, 19, 58 Richardo Barrett, 60 Roger Victor, 14 Royal Palm, 14, 40, 42, 48, 111 sacred, 40, 53, 68, 106 sacred space, 53, 68, 106 sadness, 28 sanctuary, 53, 61, 94 sculpture, 14, 17, 25, 41, 48, 49, 69, 76, 111 sea, 6, 23, 34, 41 seafan, 112 seashell, 55 seaweed, 42, 45, 47 separation, 9, 26, 27, 30 sexual assault, 68 sexuality, 61 shame, 62 Shalini Puri, 23 shingle, 24-25 slavery, 26, 57 society, 27, 68-69, 106 soul, 9, 20, 37, 41, 53, 60, 76, 78, 81, 104 space, 6, 26-27, 53, 61, 68, 69, 100, 101, 106 spiritual, 14, 26, 28, 41, 76, 90, 94, 100 storms, 24 storyteller, 53, 68 struggle, 24, 28, 62 sun, 4, 6, 27, 40, 69, 76, 82 surface, 4, 6, 9, 14, 26, 28, 76, 78, 111 surrender, 4, 9, 26, 40, 41, 42, 47 survival, 6, 24, 28, 33 survivors, 28, 33 Susan Moir Mackay, 24, 61, 76, 106 Susan Taylor, 76 symbols, 34, 53, 62, 68, 69 Tainos, 53, 61 tears, 42, 43,44, 48, 49, 52, 74, 96, 97 tenderness, 7, 9, 78 texture, 26, 34, 76, 78 Thich Nhat Hanh, 62 transformation, 4, 9, 68, 69, 72, 106 Transforming Spaces, 101 truth, 9, 26, 42, 53, 76 ugly, 9 vessel, 69, 72 violence, 53, 68, 106 vision, 26, 28, 76, 102 voice, 27, 40, 75 Warwick University, 23, 104 water, 23, 34, 42, 45, 47, 68, 69 watercolor, 6, 105 Waterloo Center for the Arts, 15, 16, 17, 18, 42, 45, 47, 68, 69 by Merlin Stone, 92 witness, 4, 6, 9, 40, 41, 68 womb, 72 women, 9, 27, 42, 54, 68, 69, 72, 76, 88, 101-106 Journal, 19, 36, 104 Women’s Suffrage Movement, 106 yearn, 26, 28, 111 YIN, 68-69, 72, 101

“Chantal Bethel has come to realize that a hidden wave of passion lies just below the surface of her life. A passion yearning to be liberated from the myths of talent, skill, inspiration, success and failure. She now dares to let that passion speak.” – Antonius Roberts (1997)

Self Portrait Sculptured Royal Palm Frond oil on wood 30” X 40” Collection of the Artist 2011


acrylic and seafan on wood 8� x 8� 2019

When a great injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive. Nelson Mandela


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.