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Published: Sep 07, 2013

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London-based Bahamian artist Lynn Parotti answers this week’s 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.


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

Learning to ski down a red run without fear in Sainte Foy and Val D’Isere after previously having had knee surgery as a result of futile attempts at learning.  Sometimes when one faces up to a terrifying challenge, it can be very inspirational to finally achieve the goal, leading to a new experience.


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

Carl Andre’s bricks (minimalism).


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

Italian Renaissance and Abstract Impressionism.


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

Paris Texas, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Blade Runner, The Road and Donnie Darko.


5. Coffee or tea?

Espresso normally in the morning and tea when I’m not well or later in the day.


6. What book are you reading now?

Living to Tell the Tale, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I find Marquez’s magical realism feeds my own nostalgia for home.


7. What project are you working on now?

I have just cracked a new method of painting directly onto etched aluminim.  After six months of experimenting, I have achieved my original intentions and I’m pleased with a new work.


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

Phyllida Barlow, Hauser and Wirth, St. James, London.


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

I’ll give anything right now to experience any of them.  Mind you, when Barabbas and crew came to Henley, it was pretty special.


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

Mather’s Cay, Exuma.  We camped there as children and had our very own child’s boat with a motor, a pet rooster and very delicious fish that we caught.  We lived very closely to the land, save for having to go for ice and petrol from the mainland.


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

Historic: Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Frescoes leading up to it. Contemporary: Roni Horn, memorable for very different reasons.


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

None, if I like someone I let them know.  Life is too short for beating around the bush.


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

Julius Parotti who passed away suddenly when I was a teenager.  I would love to hear his take on the Syrian crisis, the cost of living and how to make a good stew under current circumstances.


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

I can only speak from first-hand experience when I recognize Sir Arthur Foulkes as being very important for The Bahamas.  However, more historically, I suppose that those who started industries like ship building in Long Island when there was no electricity were very important too.


15. Who is your favorite living artist?

I like Cecily Brown’s paintings and Roni Horn’s sculptures/installations.


16. Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset in Exuma.


17. What role does the artist have in society?

To reflect and represent topical issues.  Reshaping emotional, historical and intellectual aspects of our collective human experience is also in my opinion a crucial role of the artist.


18. What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Third grade at Xavier’s Lower School, whilst going up to the front of the class to return my SRA reading card, (late, as had to finish) jumper hem tucked in knickers.  The entire class howled with laughter.  Even now when I experience embarrassment I feel the same way.  This simple act taught me that regret and “if only…” “what if?” and “maybe it would have been different if…” are irrelevant as time has the final say.


19. What wouldn’t you do without?

My family and a crisp bottle of Billecart Salmon on the beach talking nonsense.


20. What’s your definition of beauty?

Newborns, polar bear cubs and that which provokes wonder.  Just came from a car exposition and now I’m thinking that the definition of beauty is the new Icona Vulcano.  This is engineering beauty, awe inspiring.



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