Imagine a day with no artists.
On February 11, 2009, the first Day of Absence was observed in the Bahamas with the above tag-line. This event was the brain child of Nicolette Bethel, prominent Bahamian anthropologist, scholar and playwright. With a demonstration at the College of the Bahamas and numerous blog posts, interviews and radio appearances, the Day of Absence captured the imagination of the Bahamian arts community.
On December 31, 2009, Bahamian writer and artist Ward Minnis, (me, a.k.a. mainslave) will release a comprehensive critique of the Day of Absence on this website, and also an abridged version at Bahama Pundit.com. In the essay I question many of assumptions upon which the Day of Absence was based, and while I agree that it filled a need, I argue that it should not continue in its present form.
On January 12, 2010, at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas at 6:30pm, the merits of both the Day of Absence and its critique will be debated between Nicolette Bethel, myself and the Bahamian art community at large.
What is the role of the artist in Bahamian society? What part, if any, should the government play in the arts? Have Bahamian artists been absent from the wider society?
What do you think?