Since the fall 2016, students in the Art department at the University of The Bahamas have embarked on a rather ambitious Expo 2020 Dubai (Expo) project to design both the structure and experience of a Bahamas Pavilion for an audience of approximately 25 million visitors.
Since the fall 2016, students in the Art department at the University of The Bahamas have embarked on a rather ambitious Expo 2020 Dubai (Expo) project to design both the structure and experience of a Bahamas Pavilion for an audience of approximately 25 million visitors. Recently these efforts were acknowledged at the Expo’s Second Annual International Participants Meeting (IPM), October 18-20, 2017, where The Bahamas was the only country showcased under the Creative Youth Program.
Beyond the formal conference, the city of Dubai presented moments of inspiration on numerous fronts which could inform our work. Water has always been a strong design element for hundreds of years both for practical purposes in additional to its strong healing properties through sound. For example, The Alhambra palace complex is such an environment built in AD 889 in Granada, Spain, heavily influenced by Moorish culture, was an elaborate complex of gardens and water system. Light is another powerful material that is at one and same time tangible and intangible and common both to The Bahamas and Unites Arab Emirates (UAE), not to mention the Tropic of Cancer which runs through both countries. Artists and designers that come to mind are James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Claude Monet, Carravagio, Dan Flavin, Zaha Hadid and Luis Barragan.
The art students along with professors Michael Edwards and Dr. Ian Bethell-Bennett will interrogate the possibilities of these natural and artificial elements in The Bahamas Pavilion considering how they interface with issues of climate change. Included in this will be a branding and patenting exercise of a unique color of blue to The Bahamas (Bahama Blue) speaking to our strength and possibilities of the Blue Economy to our future. As a precursor, we will propose a project for the 9th Annual Exhibition (NE9) at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in 2019. This and other complementary proposed projects around indigenous cultural practices and creative economy will lead up to and be showcased via print and digital publication in October 2020 for public consumption in the pavilion.