“IF” | transforming spaces | National Art Gallery of the Bahamas


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In February 2005, I drove past my grandmother’s house on East Bay Street to find a bulldozer sitting on top of it.

We had not booked any bulldozer. We had no intention of demolishing the house. My cousin Margot and I had in fact begun the long, slow process of renovation. The house had been demolished “by accident”. It is an accident that will never be repaired.

My cousin Margot Bethel and I are creating an installation that weaves words and images, poems, plans and models, to commemorate, to reincarnate, the house that was destroyed. We call the exhibition “If”, in part because that little word expresses longing, wishfulness, hope and regret. It was also used by our family as a means of expressing emphatic agreement, as in: “Did it hurt?” “If!” or “Did you look fabulous?” “If!

We see it as the beginning of a long-term project of reclamation.


an excerpt:

The Granddaughter Fixes Lily’s Roof (1988)

picture now a tall girl
a bald girl
not quite bald a blond
black girl who’s
just come home &
just come out
made herself a carpenter &’s
fixing Lily’s roof

not the tall roof
not the roof of the house
raised high on blocks
with four feet of space
beneath its floor it’s
the roof next door
to the shop where
Lily sold bread & Lily
sold candy
& Clement taught piano
& all the children
played just once


transformingspaces | National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.


One thought on ““IF” | transforming spaces | National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

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