The D’Aguilar Art Foundation sets the tone for art in the Bahamas. Vincent D’Aguilar started his collection in the 1970s, and his passion for art, creativity, and beauty naturally led him to befriend local artists. He was a big collector of Kendal Hanna, Antonius Roberts, Brent Malone, and Jackson and Pam Burnside, along with abstract and impressionist pieces. Mainly, he widely and exclusively collected Bahamian artists.
Vincent’s daughter-in-law, Saskia D’Aguilar, a talented Bahamian artist herself, started to oversee the foundation before he died. In 2010, the foundation opened a modest exhibition space. Saskia’s long-term goals are to develop respect for art made by Bahamians and to put Bahamas on the map for art appreciation. Currently, it has over 2,000 works, which are often on loan for local exhibitions.
The foundation also supports the local art community and young artists. Its initiatives include an art program for inner-city kids that provides supplies and a global discovery program that gives grants to two chosen artists.
Meanwhile, John Cox, an extremely well collected and famous Bahamian artist, started The Current Gallery & Art Center at the Baha Mar to bring compelling Bahamian art and experiences to both guests and locals. The Current houses a commercial gallery for exhibitions, a studio/residency program, classes and workshops, and a retail space for handmade Bahamian merchandise.
“Baha Mar is buying art and supporting Bahamian creatives; it’s really making a mark,” says Saskia. “This is an authentic way to inject Bahamian art and culture into the DNA of the Baha Mar experience,” adds Cox. “To bring in this level of intelligence and creativity, that’s the mission. We think of The Current as a creative district within the property.”
One of my favorite local artists is Tina Klonaris-Robinson. Her paintings radiate intricate patterns and textures that are meticulously constructed into dynamic compositions, often reflecting themes of nature and spirituality. Klonaris-Robinson uses painting as an outlet, a meditation that assists in connecting her with the Divine.
Klonaris-Robinson has published two books: Fly, My Love, Fly: Inspiration for Living Your Highest Potential and Inspiration: A Workbook for Living Your Highest Potential. Both publications exist to inspire creativity and a sense of purpose.
“My canvases begin as empty black spaces. I love using black rather than white canvases because they remind me that, in our darkest times, if there is emptiness, there is the potential to fill our lives with light, color, beauty, and magnificence. The contrast between darkness and light reminds me that both are necessary and that they have an intimate relationship. Darkness gives depth to my paintings as it does to my life,” writes Tina Klonaris-Robinson in Fly, My Love, Fly.