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Danny in the Bahamas

Danny Sangra recently spent some time in the Bahamas, while his work was exhibited at a gallery in Nassau. He was taking part in FUZE, the first ever regional art fair in the Caribbean. Danny was the only international artist invited because of his previous residency in the Bahamas. Never one to sit still, he also got down to creating some new pieces, at least partly inspired by his surroundings and local artists whose work he came across. We talked to Danny to find out more.

How did the residency come about? 

I did a residency in Nassau in 2008 for a few months. John Cox ran a gallery called Popop. The gallery is gone but John and I remained in touch.

Do you have any personal connection to the Bahamas?

The work I developed when I first came here is how I still draw. I redevelop my line work and approach. My time was quite isolated in many ways. I shared the gallery with Kendal Hanna who is an abstract paint legend in the Bahamas.

Can you tell us about the pieces and inspiration for each …and as a whole? 

A month before I came here I started a new series of work. I wanted to paint on raw canvas. I felt my work/line work had become less expressive and too controlled.

Did you spend a lot of time at the Mall at Marathon

Not a lot. I just went with a friend to find some sneakers for his kid. It’s a world apart from the resort life in Nassau.

Tenderoni Suplex – we’re loving this title. Can you tell us more? 

I went for ‘80s romance and ‘80s brute force. It kinda sounds like a weird sexual manoeuvre.

Do you have a favourite wrestling move? 

The Cobra Clutch.

Tell us about Bahamian artist Amos Ferguson. Did you know about him before or discover his work while in the Bahamas?

I didn’t know him beforehand. The gallery curator has a piece in his office that caught my eye. Once I noticed the style, I kept seeing pieces all over the resort. He would sign all his work very bold and in some cases he’d even paint his phone number on it, just in case you want to buy it. I love his colour palette too.

Tell us about Sanford Sawyer and the Golden Brown Curtain.

He was a studio photographer. While all the other studio portrait photographer had scenic backdrops, he had a golden brown curtain which became iconic. Oddly, opposite the area I was exhibiting, they had the actual curtain hanging.

Did you know anything of Bahamian art before you found yourself there? 

A little from my previous time there. Kendal Hanna is an abstract painter who’s somewhat of a legend. So I knew him personally. I’d also been around other artists and heard names. This trip I really wanted to research more.

Where did you go to see the work of local artists? 

The gallery I was working with, Ecco, has a lot. Plus, the NAGB (The National Gallery of the Bahamas). Also, the Baha Mar resort has a few thousand pieces all over. The convention centre has a great collection, too.

What mediums have you used to create?

Acrylic, ink, the usual. However, I’m using raw canvas and experimenting with washed-out colour or letting the colours bleed. This is all part of my new work, which I feel is more minimal and maybe more of where I’m at personally, perhaps.

Love the palette of this series with the yellows, blues and pinks. Do you think that’s a direct response to a more Bahamas-based climate.

No. I was working with this palette beforehand. I kept it quite restrictive as I was travelling with paint and working to a schedule.

How have you found it creating the work there and having a concentrated amount of time to do the work?

I’m used to schedules and when I’m into something, I work fast. I’ve had plenty of space here and everything I need to produce work. I either worked in the gallery studio or in my suite with my kid occasionally scribbling on the work (which I let him do).

If picking one of them, which is your favourite

Seafood Innit. The pink fade, the general composition. It’s one of those that comes out balanced the way you intended.

Aside from the painting, can you tell us what else you’ve been up to there?

Drinking margaritas and sitting on the beach.

Have you been enjoying the seafood? 

You can never have enough cracked conch.

Who would win in a fight between a lobster and a scorpion? 

Depends on the location. My guess the lobster is armour-plated and stronger. I’m running with the lobster.

Can we buy the paintings? 

Yes, you can. Most the paintings will be available once I’m back in the UK. A few have gone already but it’s always best to contact me direct. (Dear Reader. Danny’s website is where you can find the relevant contact info to reach Danny)

Will you be going back? 

Yes. Hopefully to see the art fair grow and show my support.