Trinidadian born Art Educator and Museum Curator Dr. Daniela Fifi has been named the Chief Curator at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB).
Dr Fifi is a graduate of Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she attained her Doctorate in Art and Art Education. She is also the holder of a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from The Pratt Institute New York, and a Master of Arts Degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
Among other honors and awards, she was the recipient of the Caribbean Life Impact Award in 2017, for her outstanding contributions to her field as a Caribbean national.
Dr Fifi comes to her new role at the NAGB with a decade of experience working in museums. Her resume includes previous positions as a Curatorial Specialist at the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago and Secretariat at the Museum Association of the Caribbean. In her capacity as Chief Curator at the NAGB, she will be in charge of curatorial programming. Her perspective of curatorial work and museums is centered on the museum as an educational space with the ability to positively impact its community. These are also key components of the NAGB’s mission.
“With civil unrest and tensions rising across the globe, museums are so important now,” says Dr. Fifi. “Museums are positioned to facilitate global conversations and are champions of culture. Discussions of cultural and social inequity can no longer be passed over. The art and artifacts that we encounter in museums collections can facilitate these difficult conversations and help us frame how we are responding to what is happening around us. In this way art exhibitions have transformative power, I believe, and have an extremely valuable societal role.”
Commenting on the hiring of Dr Fifi, NAGB’s Governance Committee, Board of Directors and Executive team stated that, “Dr. Fifi brings to her new role a consummate professionalism from her years of experience that will burnish the work of current and former colleagues at the NAGB, now a 17-year-old institution. At this crucial moment, as the NAGB grows from adolescence into maturity, Dr. Fifi’s knowledge and specific expertise in Caribbean art and collection care will build the curatorial department even further and thereby assist the nation in expanding our knowledge around museum work, as specifically related to the visual arts in a Caribbean environment.”
According to the NAGB, one of the first major projects Dr Fifi will oversee will be an exhibition entitled PULSE, curated by Associate Curator Richardo Barrett. PULSE will be a three part exhibition that will focus on the public arts of the Bahamas and will begin on September 17.
The first two iterations will focus specifically on mural painting, with eight participating Bahamian artists: Allan Wallace, Angelica Wallace Whitfield, Amaani Hepburn, June Collie, Domonique Delancy Jacobs, Jodi Minnis, Lemero Wright and Jolyon Smith. The exhibition will also include “living participatory” shows, streamed on the museums’ web site, with two mural artists creating live murals in the museum’s space with online intervention from the public. The public will then be asked to participate by completing the mural. The topic of the mural will surround the idea of crisis and the role that public art plays during crisis.
Next will be a sculpture garden show featuring ten sculptures, along with virtual tours, music playlists and PDF activities to ensure the show is COVID-19 friendly for visitors.
The third and final iteration of the exhibition will follow in November and will take the form of a “Live-In” residency for seven artists over three months. While residing in the space, the artists will create six murals using local materials, which will then open in November and will also be available for viewing online. The murals will then tour throughout the Bahamas at the exhibition’s close, to offer as many members of the public as possible the chance to share the experience.
In describing the vision of the exhibition, Dr. Fifi says “Public art in all of its various forms creates a source for awareness, encouragement, education, and self-expression. Historically, it has also has been a platform for the voiceless. During this time, it can serve as a beacon of hope and an anchor for a society riddled with anxiety and uncertainty about the future. As we in the Bahamas and the Caribbean move into a new way of living and seeing the world around us, art encourages us to continue to engage with each other and community. PULSE centers around public art that is freely accessible and allows for a reflective pause amid the everyday, which we think is essential.”
NAGB is the leading art institution for The Bahamas. The museum and its organization actively nurtures and provokes a healthy cultural ecosystem, empowering multiple generations of Bahamians.