Leaning on your community to create: Natascha Vazquez speaks on her first time National Exhibition, by Kevanté Cash- NAGB Correspondent / by Natascha Vazquez

Layout of Vazquez’ work in the NE9, courtesy of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Layout of Vazquez’ work in the NE9, courtesy of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

When the call for “The Fruit and The Seed” exhibition went out last year, the three main questions that stood out to artist Natascha Vazquez were:

How are you diversifying your experiences and thoughts through art?

How are you encouraging your colleagues and peers in this creative ecology?

How are you working with The Bahamas’ vulnerable geography to advocate for the environment?

 From these birthed a vision to submit a proposal for works that would take her far away from her comfort zone of abstract paintings, and delving into another art form that honestly answers the question of diversifying one’s artistic experience.

“My paintings often allude to botanicals and organic shapes that kind of are inspired by something I would see in bushes or forests, but more so here in The Bahamas that I might see in a Bahamian bush. So, I was already kind of interested in that idea, but then I thought about the questions posed by Holly Bynoe, the chief curator for this exhibition, along with the theme, and I remember specifically reading a question that talked about the community and how one’s practice should affect the art community at large. Moreover, I thought, instead of retreating into my studio and creating paintings in isolation, why not incorporate that idea of community into this work and see how I can create a piece for this exhibition that’s more about the community as opposed to me, as the artist?”

Vazquez’s role as creative programme coordinator and curator at Baha Mar’s The Current Art Studio and Centre has lead her to the responsibility of not only putting out a call for artists to participate in a residency hosted by The Current, but also to look over artists’ proposals and approve of residencies held within the space. A lot of this work has created opportunities for her to interact with other artists within different practices, whose work have caused a shift in gaze on how she views art and creates it.

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