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  • Stan Burnside

Published: Aug 24, 2013

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Artist and NAGB chairman Stan Burnside answers this week’s 20 Questions.

1. What’s been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?

When the Prime Minister chose me as chairman of the board of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. That was a singular honor. And I am truly inspired to have a good go at it.

2. What’s your least favorite piece of artwork?

I don't have a least favorite piece of artwork.

3. What’s your favorite period of art history?

My favorite period is NOW in The Bahamas. We are sitting on a mother lode of remarkably talented artists here. Painters, sculptors, and the list goes on... they are doing phenomenal, world-class work. And we haven't even begun to tap into our design genius, when you consider that we have a couple thousand designers on Bay Street come Boxing Day and New Year's and we still have a multimillion-dollar souvenir industry just waiting to be harnessed. There are exciting days ahead.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?

a. Buck and the Preacher. b. Raisin in the Sun. c. The Godfather.

d. Seven Beauties. e. Natural Born Killers (please forgive me for this choice.)

5. Coffee or tea?

Tea, with lemon and honey.

6. What book are you reading now?

Love and Responsibility: The Dawn Davies Collection, edited by Erica Moiah James, PhD., layout and design by Dionne Benjamin-Smith and photography by Roland Rose.

7. What project are you working on now?

I have a number of projects going on in the studio and out of the studio. They will be revealed in due course.

8. What’s the last show that surprised you?

@body:Well, there were two shows that surprised me, almost simultaneously. "NE6" at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and "Fix Ya' Face" at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?

All of we is One Family!

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?

Cat Island.

11. What’s the most memorable artwork you’ve ever seen?

"Nation's Navel", an oil painting by my brother, Jackson L. Burnside III, which can be viewed at The D'Aguilar Art Foundation. This is an incredible painting that says so much about the way we live as Bahamians. It's a backyard scene where people communicate and congregate and the use of color is influenced strongly by his work in Junkanoo, and there's a pointillist treatment to portions of the painting that are very much like the French painter Georges Seurat. The impressionists were color freaks just like Junkanoo artists. When my brother first finished this painting and I saw it on the easel, I was so moved by it and I recognized that I had experienced a similar, but not quite as strong, feeling when I first viewed the painting by Pablo Picasso called "Guernica" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I have seen many paintings that I love over the years but I can truly say that particular painting speaks to me like no other.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?

You ain' serious... want get me in trouble, eh?

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?

Any one of my four children... they are all great company and funny.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country’s history?

Me... no, I'm joking. There are so many great Bahamians, too numerous to mention and it would be unfair to single one out of the lot. I think that is a blessing, rather than a curse don't you?

15. Who is your favorite living artist?

I'm not gonna tell you, but I will give you a hint. He or she is a Bahamian.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunrise, because it's like the beginning of a painting. So much promise.

17. What role does the artist have in society?

To answer 20 questions for the local newspaper.

18. What’s your most embarrassing moment?

If I told you, I would have to kill you.

19. What wouldn’t you do without?

What I wouldn't do without is spiritual nourishment. I have found that spiritual nourishment in my church and when times get hard, I have some ammunition to fight against the situations that will try to break my spirit. Going to church and taking my communion is like putting on an armor for life... I feel protected.

20. What’s your definition of beauty?

For me, the definition of beauty is not exact... there are multiple configurations that exist between here and infinity... between the life-giving beauty of woman in all her glory to that which is found in the artist's imagination. It is in this vast and ever changing firmament that I travel, searching and discovering... it is here, there and everywhere.

In any case, that's my story and I'm sticking to it... what's yours?

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