67_G15_Spotlight_Bahamas

Global Issue 15

Spotlight e Bahamas in The Bahamas is called Kalik. One of The Bahamas’ foremost artists, Stanley Burnside, says: “Junkanoo has infl uenced many aspects of our culture and is particularly evident in our music and painting.” He and fellow artists, brothers Jackson and John Beadle, founded the Doongalik Gallery, whose name echoes the sound of goatskin drums and cowbells. It’s a cultural centre and art gallery with a multi-disciplinary team of creative and technical professionals, where costumes are created at a Junkanoo “shack”, alongside an architectural studio and publishing arm. Other Junkanoo and traditionally Bahamian-themed products burst forth too, such as furniture painted in exuberantly bold shades. “Colour is an expression of the Bahamian personality,” says Burnside. The traditional pastel hues of Bahamian clapboard houses are getting a new lick of paint nowadays. Compass Point, a boutique Island Outpost hotel, is painted in such vibrant colours that locals call it “Crayon Point”. Its rustic cottages on stilts have pitched roofs, shady verandas and louvred windows, reprising historical local architecture, with its attention to cooling elements. Like many other hotels nowadays, the cottages are hung with Bahamian batiks. These are mostly created by an enterprising outfi t called Androsia, based on Andros, one of the outer (known as ‘Out’) islands, now renamed by the tourist authorities as Family Islands. Originally inspired by Indonesian batik, they have become authentically Bahamian in their simple, colourful and beautiful designs. Democratically, their batik fabric and clothes are available not just in gallery shops and craft outlets, whose prices refl ect their clientele – primarily tourists – but also in local outlets like Nassau Market. There, Bahamians, mostly women, barter their crafts such as straw-work, plaited from the ‘silver-top’ of the thatch palm. They also sell other crafts, including jewellery made from local materials such as sea-glass, coconut and conch shell, casuarina cones, Poinciana pods, sisal, driftwood and even fi sh scales. Conch pearls, called the Gem of The Bahamas, have a deep lavender pink shade and can be very valuable. The Bahamas’ equally colourful history is steeped in piracy – the ‘wrecking’ of passing ships for salvage, the slave trade, rum-running and all-round roguery. Charles Town, now Nassau, was established in 1666, and had unpaved streets lined with taverns and brothels. Way before that, Christopher Columbus, arriving in 1492, followed by greedy Spaniards, Key data Population: 347,000 (2011 est) Ethnicity: Black 85%, White 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3% Life expectancy: 76 years Land area: 13,393 sq km GDP: US$7.8 billion (2011 est) GDP percentage growth: -0.7% pa 1990-2011 Primary school enrolment: 98% (2010)  global thi rd quar ter 2013 www.global -br ief ing.org l 67


Global Issue 15
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