On Wednesday, November 30, the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB) opened a new, contemporary photography exhibit, Homestead, by Bermudian artist Meredith Andrews. Her Excellency Governor Rena Lalgie, Minister Owen Darrell, and NMB friends and members were in attendance.
For the exhibit, Andrews photographed 10 multi-generational Bermudian families in front of their homes. Her large format, vibrant family portraits are an artistic response to NMB’s Bermuda Family Scrapbook project and capture the fortitude of family life in Bermuda. According to Andrews, “Homes are powerful symbols of the considerable value we place on family life, the keepers of our group memories, inherited histories and illustrate the strength of our family roots. The homestead and the family are inseparable.”
Accompanying the stunning portraits is an audio component: visitors can download the app Smartify on their smartphone and listen to some of the photographed family members reflect on what home means to them and their favourite memory of the homestead. The families featured in Homestead: the Smith, Richardson, Franks, Jones, Kempe, Woolridge, Hayward, Rogers, Swainson, Lightbourne, and Madeiros families.
John Woolridge, one of the family members pictured in the exhibit shared:
“A home is not just a place, it’s the people that you love, treasure and live with. One of my favourite memories is Good Friday when the family would get together and we’d make kites out of fennel sticks and paper bags, and we’d eat loquats like it’s going out of style. And we’d play marbles. Everyone in the family and they break out the bungies. And it was just an amazing family time of being around the house with the people that make your house a home.”
Transcriptions of the recordings are also available in the exhibit for those who do not have a smartphone.
When asked about Homestead and her process creating the exhibit, Andrews shared:
“Being a portrait photographer in the Bermuda community is a great privilege and that was very apparent while working on the Homestead exhibition for the National Museum of Bermuda. Participants were incredibly welcoming, not only by inviting me to photograph in their homes, but also by sharing their personal stories and memories of their homesteads. After two years of relative isolation, it was very striking how open and generous these ten families were with their time and homes. From a codfish breakfast to a glass of white wine, from the West End to St. David’s, by allowing my camera and me into their homes these 10 families paint a larger picture of contemporary family life in Bermuda. I’d like to thank the families, the NMB team, Dion Easton for capturing the exhibit audio recordings, Frameworks, and Loris Toppin from Colourlab who all made this project possible”.
Homestead is Andrews’ creative response to NMB’s ongoing project, Bermuda Family Scrapbook which invites everyone living in (or who has lived in) Bermuda to submit historic family photographs and associated stories to the Museum to create a national scrapbook and document the varied experiences of daily life in Bermuda. NMB is seeking submissions, learn more and submit: nmb.bm/bermuda-family-scrapbook. The scrapbook is part of NMB’s free award-winning community education programme, Tracing Our/Roots/Routes (TORR).
NMB Executive Director Elena Strong said, “At NMB, we want learning Bermuda history to be part of every educational journey on Island and for everyone to connect to a more diverse and inclusive Bermuda history. We also aim to be a space to explore our cultural identity and what it means for over 60,000 people to live on an isolated Atlantic island. With our programmes and work, we want to help establish a sense of place and belonging for everyone who lives in Bermuda.To do this we are providing a variety of entry points to engage with our shared past. This includes webinars, toolkits, teacher trainings, new school resources, digital storytelling, community crowd sourcing and contemporary art exhibits like Homestead. Thank you to the families in Homestead, Meredith Andrews, and The Future of History Campaign donors who helped make this exhibit possible.”
About the artist:
Contemporary portrait, travel and lifestyle photographer and Bermudian artist Meredith Andrews has shot for editorial, advertising and private clients all over the world. Her work can be seen in almost every medium including dozens of international exhibitions such as the 2009 and 2019 Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at National Portrait Gallery in London, UK, Portrait of Humanity 2020, OpenWalls Arles 2020 and several Bacardi Biennial exhibitions at Bermuda National Gallery, and now the National Museum of Bermuda.
NMB is a Bermuda Registered Charity No. 136. The Museum is open every day, 10am – 5pm (last admission 4pm).