The Nassau Guardian - Arts & Culture / by Natascha Vazquez

Sculling Skulls
by Natascha Vazquez

John Beadle. "Row Yah Boat", 2016, mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

John Beadle. "Row Yah Boat", 2016, mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

"...The oar is traditionally used as a means for transportation through a technique known as sculling. Sculling is unique to The Bahamas and consists of the sculler standing at the back of the boat facing forward, with his right foot forward. The sculling notch is located on the port crown of the transom and balances in a notch sculpted into the back of the boat. In the left hand, the sculler grips the oar and pushes and pulls in a rhythmic motion. Through this effort, the boat is propelled through the water with great power and minimum effort. A theme of physical movement is evident in this work, directly alluding to a form of transportation that feels somewhat primitive, but also authentic to The Bahamas and its people. Many of Beadle’s works deal with the gloom of illegal migrants and the inevitable identity struggle that encompasses the life of an immigrant. He often questions what it means to be a Bahamian person. For that reason, the back and forth motion associated with the oar may be a symbol of the movement of people from one place to another, and the complexities that come with establishing stability in a new environment."

Read full article here