Artists of the Bahamas
a documentary film that explores the lives and works of key visual artists
whose talents contributed to the initial art movement in The Bahamas.

FILMMAKERS' STORY

Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth Directors/Producers

"You smell like you just stepped out of a shower" this handsome man whispered to me on the way to the set of CAGNEY & LACEY. That's how we met. He was the cinematographer & I was the director. Love followed & 15 years later we married. "I didn't want to rush into anything", he said, another great line from my husband.

Side by side in creative partnership we've made more movies than either of us can remember. After decades, we were tired of Hollywood. We sold our home in Malibu, trading one ocean for another, & moved to Love Beach in the Bahamas. Retirement we thought, but after months of sea & sand & sun-setting bliss, boredom set in. We longed to get a camera in front of us again. Not wanting to be owned by the studios anymore, we decided to become a two-man band & go it alone.

Dramas were always our thing, but we loved the spontaneity of documentaries. We welcomed the challenge to switch mediums but what do we film? What story that needed telling hadn't been told yet? What beauty that needed seeing hadn't been seen yet?

In the past, we were always 'on the road', always filming on distant locations. In every new town as soon as our bags were unpacked we went in search of a museum. Cities & country's are defined by their Art. What art defined the Bahamas?

An uber contemporary exhibit stunned us with its modernism at Nassau's Art Museum, the NAGB. Wanting to understand where this art came from, we asked where we might view the Bahamian Masters. "No where", we were told.

Here was our movie. The story obvious, the beauty inherent. We poked & prodded & gathered information bit by bit. Compellation, always a rigorous process, but this was wondrous as artist after artist was revealed. It felt like a treasure chest opened. This wasn't Paris or London or New York, how was it possible that all of these extraordinary visual artists came from the Bahamas?

Sitting in the home of Vincent D'Aguilar, surrounded by art, we knew we'd come to the right person to steer us in our path. One of the Bahamas most famous collectors, he went through our long list of artists & scratched off name after name. Then he handed it back to us, "here are our Masters", he said.

We have honored that list. We have filmed each & every artist in either their homes or studios & they have graciously shared their stories & works of art. The D'Aguilar collection was massive, and when Dawn Davies opened her stellar collection to us we knew we'd have the best of the best. Other collectors have been wonderfully generous as well as the artists offering their own personal collections; all are a part of this document to their immense talents.

The two-man band was for real, we schlepped all of the equipment door to door, as well as performed our usual roles of director & cinematographer. We shot over 60 hours of film to create this 90-minute movie. Our editors, Aaron Vega & Scott Hancock, came from the gifted documentarian Ken Burns, & their vision & skills have helped form this piece. The music is represented by the Bahamian great, Peanuts Taylor & the young virtuoso drummer, Ruppa Pum Pum, with a musical score by Tony Silva. The famed actor Sidney Poitier introduces the film & his fellow Bahamian Artists. Proudly we present our documentary, ARTISTS OF THE BAHAMAS.

Karen Arthur Neuwirth & Thomas Neuwirth

Email: apfilm1@aol.com

90 Boedtker Road
Springfield, Vermont 05156

Tel: (212) 308-0019

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