Bahamian Pavilion – 55th Biennale di Venezia. June 1st – November 24th 2013

Bahamian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
May 19, 2013 12:53AM

The artist Tavares Strachan will represent The Bahamas in the nation’s inaugural pavilion at the 55th International Venice Biennale.

Public dates: June 1–November 242013 

Preview days: May 29–31, 2013Arsenale – Tese Cinquecentesche

Commissioner: Nalini Bethel (Senior Director of Communications, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism)

Curators: Jean Crutchfield and Robert Hobbs

Deputy Curator / Programs and Education: Stamatina Gregory

Strachan specifically explores often-invisible shifts in cultures, physical environments, and recounted histories over both space and time, in the wake of globalization and narratives of progress. Three geographically and culturally disparate sites—the Venice Arsenale, downtown Nassau, and the North Pole—will momentarily coexist in the Bahamian pavilion.

The main exhibition space will feature an immersive installation, in which the viewer is surrounded by documentation of a reenactment of a historic narrative:  the 1909 polar expedition of Robert Peary and Matthew Alexander Henson. Henson, Peary’s associate, is often credited as the first American to reach the pole. However, various written and oral iterations of that journey—whether Henson reached the Pole before the physically incapacitated Peary, whether Henson planted the American flag, and their complex relationship to one another and to Inuit communities—remain fluid and contested, more reflective of shifting ideologies than historic truth. Several other works in the installation will speak to the idea of displacement more directly, immediately confronting the viewer with the problematics of belonging and place. “I’m fascinated by the idea of being in two or more places at once, and exploring difference that way,” says Strachan. “The way that the Venice Biennale, historically and now, deploys the idea of “difference” as cultural tourism is an interesting problem to work with.”

Bahamian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale