Goin’ Back ta Da Islan’: Migration, Memory and the Marketplace in Bahamian Art
In the article “Goin’ Back ta Da Islan”, Ian Strachan wrote on the factors affecting the representation of the Bahamian landscape in art. He went on to explain the three forms of artistic expressions, poetry, music and painting. It was discussed within these three artistic forms, the way the artists has pride in their work and the ways in which tourists sees it. Also, it expressed different events that happened throughout The Bahamas such as Regatta, Burma Road Riot and more. In addition, this article also expressed some of the African heritage that was passed down through these same song and artwork.
Within time, everything started to change and what was seen as culture was drop from the ole days. Throughout this article, I’ve found three interesting statements that were made by Ian Strachan. These three statements are about the ole days seen as being better than the present, the dramatic change into the present day and the island artists. “We must remember that many people often think the present day is worse than the Good Ole Days and that things will get worse before they get better. People thought it was safer and “better” then, than now, saying that doors could have been left unlock, children were scold if they were rude, everyone work together, there were no noise, no garbage and little to no crime. Although this maybe in some cases, should it be said that the present day is worse than the “good ole days”. There were several advantages as well disadvantages in the “good ole days”. Some of these disadvantages in the ole days were replaced by advantages in the present day such as better health care, the upgrades on technology for education and other uses.
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Perhaps some of these factors were over exaggerated. Ironically, some of these same people, especially Nassauians, who talked about the good ole days and “Da Islan’, could not bear to return tomorrow to live. People from the “ole days” just focus on the positive things from then, not pointing out the negative things from back then and the positive things that are present today. From my first statement, I explained why the present day isn’t as bad as people see it to be.
However in the article, Strachan also stated that “Upon leapfrogging into the modern, urban, capitalist, democratic world, a good of trouble has come into Bahamian homes”. Here lie the disadvantages of the present day. Many guys have turned to violence and drugs because of how they were raised. Some maybe brought up in an abusive home and some may have not been raised by parents but by foster parents who might have neglected them. Although, these cases may have happen in the past, it has increased in the present day.
Of course, there is the influence of the American media, which also encourage violence, inappropriate language and appearance. It is indeed a dramatic change from the past into the present. This is also overwhelming for those who live their young years in the past. These people are the ones who saw shoes as privilege and a toilet a luxury. Now in the present, it’s all about what brand of shoes and the latest products. Similar to music that attracts tourist to The Bahamas, there are also artworks displayed that makes The Bahamas appealing.
Ian Strachan had stated that, “visual artists have plugged into the romanticisation of life in the Family Islands, and being cognizant of the appeal of the quaint among people of the more developed world who are searching for relics of the pre-industrial world, they had crafted images which simultaneously appeal to the Bahamian longing for a return home and the tourist wish for an Eden. ” Like Strachan goes to write in his article, many artists paints sunshine, coconut trees, hibiscus, lovely wooden homes bordered by bougainvillea and quaint little harbour.
Very rarely or never will you see the water rough, the sky gray or black sailors poising by the regatta sloops. Because tourists like the “island look”, there isn’t any modern time painting where you see “women in poom poom shorts and drunken men” like in the article. The representation of The Bahamas is indeed seen differently from a tourists view. One could imagine the things that go on in a tourist mind when they reach to an island like New Providence, where everything isn’t wooden home covered in bougainvillea or anything of the island things portrayed in those artwork.
Although the Bahamian people isn’t seen as having an identity, the cultural of The Bahamas changes and Ian Strachan suggest that in order to maintain the things of the past, it has to be proven to be of good use within the present day. Such aspects that are not useful will indeed fade away. In addition, our artists must show more than the flowers, trees and sun in their artwork. There are more inspirations to the islands than beaches and sunset. I would think it’s a form of acceptance than to lean on this one perceptive of islands of The Bahamas.