What is the National Gallery of the Bahamas?

Located in the heart of Nassau, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB) holds the Bahamas’ national art collection and connects communities through art, culture, and dialogue. It’s declared Vision is to “actively nurture and provoke a healthy cultural ecosystem, empowering multiple generations of Bahamians” and to provide more opportunities for access, to engender a sense of pride, inviting them to “become active participants in writing their own stories.” A dynamic arts and culture institution with an energetic staff, the NAGB hosts engaging exhibitions, events, and programmes for audiences of all ages.  

The NAGB occupies the Villa Doyle which was built in the 1860s by Sir Williams Henry Doyle, who served as Chief Justice and later as President of the Legislative Council of The Bahamas and was the first Bahamian born resident to be knighted. Following independence, the villa was neglected for two decades, which led to a rise in calls for its demolition. During a campaign led by NAGB’s Founding Chairman Dr. Gail Saunders, it was saved as a historic site. After an extensive renovation in the 1990s, Villa Doyle became the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.  

With a defined mission to “educate, uplift and inspire” through Bahamian art, the NAGB provides a national platform for local artists and presents their work in exhibitions that are relevant to our community and reflect our stories. The mandate to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret historical and contemporary Bahamian art, with an aim towards promoting and supporting the culture globally, allows the NAGB to speak authoritatively to the history, breadth, and depth of the country’s visual arts community. As a result, visitors are exposed to a wide array of artwork—paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, installations, as well as video art. Exhibits rotate between established masters and young and emerging artists, demonstrating the diverse aspects of Bahamian art. 

Also included in the NAGB’s activities is a series of educational services, such as guided tours, lectures, panel discussions, and art programs for children. At the Mixed Media gift shop, a variety of local hand-crafted goods, including t-shirts, bags, artwork, and books, can be purchased.  The Gallery also hosts a popular 4th Sunday programme in which visitors receive free admission and a tour of the current exhibition every fourth Sunday of the month.Dr. Erica James was the founding Director and first Curator, a post she held for eight years. The present Executive Director is Amanda Coulson, who has served in that capacity for almost a decade. On April 30, 2021 Coulson’s tenure at the NAGB will end; however, her commitment to the NAGB will have a lasting impact on the institution and Bahamians for years to come.

Written by Nameiko Miller