Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


3 Comments

Columbus Will Come To Check It Out

The MacMillan Castle in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera

I had a restless sleep in my tower. The myth in the village is of course that Gordon MacMillan Hughes’ spirit still haunts his castle. Never mind that he died in Ireland, about 4000 miles from here, a mere practicality the spirit-world does not recognize. I went to bed with my windows open. I needed to hear and feel my first night in the settlement. As soon as the sun went down and darkness settled the town had become quiet. No more children shouting and laughing. No more passing cars. For a while there was the shrill pumped-up engine of one lone motorbike, a rebellious teenager with a new toy I imagined, going back and forth crisscrossing the small streets until he got bored or hungry or his mother finally pulled him inside.

I fell asleep in silence but sudden random noises woke me. First a dog barked, then a woman cried out. I’d drowse off and a lone car passed by or a drunkard sang in the distance. It was too hot, a mosquito had found me, I dreamt that my husband and my teenage daughter were smoking pot together and I shouted is this is what you do as soon as I leave? They laughed at me. Throughout my dreams I wasn’t wearing my contacts so everything was blurry. Only people with very bad eyesight can appreciate this dream, when the powerlessness of our disability becomes full-blown reality.

Just before dawn the dogs started their ferocious chorus. In rural towns all over the world stray dogs herald daybreak before the rooster. Maybe they are the ones who wake the roosters who get all the credit for waking us humans.

I got up and closed my windows, turned on the AC, took a Claritin for the mosquito bites and slept till 8am when the sounds of the settlement grinding into action drifted past the humming air conditioner. A group of girls in crisp white shirts with little bow ties that matched their tartan skirts walked by on their way to the elementary school that lies a few hundred yards from the castle. They played loudly in the schoolyard until exactly nine when all went quiet again. Next I heard the teachers starting class, their voices drifting up the hill and from the roof terrace I could see right through their open classroom doors to the bright turquoise water of the Caribbean.

view from the roof, the settlement, the elementary school and the Caribbean

I made my morning cup of PG tips tea and turned on my shower. It sputtered and a grinding noise came from the pipes but nothing happened. I was not surprised. To expect perfect plumbing at a castle would be unreasonable. I called Metta, MacMillan Hughes’ daughter and the castle’s keeper.

“Columbus will come over to check it out,” she said.

He was short, wiry and ageless. His once-white skin had weathered into almost black and was deeply grooved yet his dark brown hair didn’t have a strand of grey. His  legs were short and bandy, and his back was bent but appeared strong under his dirty white tee that advertised the name of a marine supply store. When Columbus and I crossed the roof to my turret chamber (and shower) he lamented the fact that he couldn’t see both oceans from this highest  vantage point in Tarpum Bay.

“Only you would care,” I said and Columbus laughed like we were both in on some cosmic joke.

Yes I am here and voila, I am Barbi scissorhands.

I arrived at the MacMillan castle yesterday afternoon for my tenure as the Tarpum Bay artist in residence.

I’ve never been an artist in residence before.

I’ve not been a princess in a turret either.

I’ve been a model and a designer and a wife and a mother but never a damsel in a tower in the Bahamas (beats London). Can I handle it? Alone for the first time in god knows how long (sure I’ve been away from my family but somehow it doesn’t count when I have to show up for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a client.)

OK. So.

I just figured out that if I stand on of one of the towers facing the tiny library on the next corner I can get a good enough signal to upload my pictures and first daily blog….


Leave a comment

The Nature of Waste is here….

necklace made from orange crate found on Eleuthera Beach

My beach plastic friend and colleague Pam Longobardi, a Professor of Art at Georgia State University, has curated this  gorgeous, inspired and heartbreaking digital show featuring a body of work from  leading international artists  who use plastic pollution (mainly of the oceans) by  plastics like flip-flops, netting, rope, bottles, etc. in every color of the rainbow in their art. This digital stream was first exhibited at  The Fifth International Marine Debris Conference in Hawai, and shows the nature of waste as seen with an eye for beauty and conceived with a gift of expression….


Leave a comment

The Art Basel Circus is Coming to Town….

OK.

So.

Once a year the art-circus comes to town, given legitimacy because the prestigious Art Basel, as in Basel Suisse, as in most uptight city/country in Europe, is behind it. I’m sure its been asked before, but surely Basel and Miami in the same breath are an oxymoron?

Anyway.

It all started with Art Miami and then Basel came and then everyone who is anyone in the art world followed. And then the design world… for catching some rays before settling into the long dark northern winter? Who knows. They, the art world, thought it was an excellent idea, and so now there are many, many satellite shows. One is called Scope, one called Pulse, one called Red Dot as in SOLD (so you cant have it), one called Nada, and    so    on….

Now, you may remember, last year husband and I were Art Basel Miami sluts, like we didn’t care, we hung with every and anyone, at every and any party.

BUT.

I must speak for myself when I say that, even though I enjoyed the unbearable lightness of it all, I wanted a bit more green, as in Green. Like some art that dealt with issues of the planet? Was that too much to ask? Like a bit less stuffed deer and doe and fawn, less Michael Jackson likenesses and a bit more Chris Jordan?

So. As Basel approached this year, and I sat  assembling beach plastic tee after beach plastic tee, which gives me a lot of time to think since its manual labor, I thought to myself….. I should be at Basel… like Barbi does green, or blue, at Miami Art Basel week.

Well.

This year has been the “Year of Be Careful What You Ask For”, for me (after three years of getting shit I did not ask for). Like I wished to be in Barneys and they called me for 900 tees, driving me into beach plastic nervous breakdown. I think Barbi does Basel (yes that blog title I shall use next week), and low and behold, I get a call….

Thirteen days before the show!

But I said yes.

YES. YES. YES!

So.

I committed to showing.

At Arts for a Better World.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Sounds like it could be me, no? I mean who cares about art if its not for a better world?

Isn’t one definition of art that it gives the beholder a sense of hope, of seeing and experiencing a whole new emotion? A new paradigm, a moment of connection to the divine? The divine in another human being who somehow connects for a moment to what is true and enlightened and real? And isn’t the divine a moment of connection to our spiritual origins? And does nature not have something to do with this?

So. A better world through art sounds good to me. Thats the place I want to be.

Fuck the brands like Gagosian and Marlborough, aren’t they just like out of control Wall Street brokers?

OK. OK. I’ll shut up. Before I dig myself in too deep.  No, I do not claim any superiority  or connection to the divine. I just want to experience more. Like  something I haven’t done before. I want to feel good not poor. I want to feel part of something not inferior. You know what I mean?

For now that’s all you get. I’m busy you know. very very busy.

But.

Stay tuned.

I will record all right here. From the day I start, Sunday, and build my amazing recycled installation and somehow move into it.

Here’s the name of the installation and an idea….of what’s to come: