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Amos Ferguson - gifted Out Island artist still hoping for recognition after 60 years
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Page 1 of 1Total of 4 messages
Posted by:Jun 23rd 2004, 05:37:24 pm
Princess Street GalleryPrincess Street Gallery has just acquired new paintings by Bahamian artists Thierry Lamare and Amos Ferguson and we thought you might like to have a look. To preview the paintings, please visit our website: http://www.harbourislandgallery.com/artists/lamare.htm for leading watercolorist Thierry Lamare and http://www.harbourislandgallery.com/artists/ferguson.htm for celebrated outsider artist Amos Ferguson. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger, more detailed image of the work.

To reserve paintings by these artists, kindly contact a sales representative of the gallery.

Charles Carey
Harbour Island
Tel (242) 333 2788
Mobile (242) 457 2661
email chascarey@coralwave.com

Jane-Michele Bethel
Lyford Cay Shopping Centre
Tel (242) 362 5557
email janemichele@batelnet.bs

Kind regards,

Charles Carey
Princess Street Gallery
Harbour Island & Lyford Cay, Bahamas
Posted by:Apr 16th 2004, 12:03:16 pm
chapelPrincess Street Gallery has a nice collection of Mr. Ferguson's work on view online:
http://harbourislandgallery.com/artists/ferguson.htm ... and from what I understand from other Ferguson collectors, Charles Carey's collection is the most extensive compilation of his work that they've seen in one place ... so go check these great pieces out in person!
Posted by:Apr 16th 2004, 01:31:20 am
JohnAmos is a wondereful person and his art is something each should have and appreciate. We try to see Amos each year and would recommend all who can visit with Amos while one can.
Posted by:Apr 7th 2004, 02:19:25 pm
chapelAmos Ferguson - Gifted artist still hoping for recognition after 60 years

By NORMAN ROLLE, Nassau Guardian

He is a voice crying out in the Bahamian wilderness for recognition and patronage. After over 60 years, the gifted artist says that if he depended on Bahamians to buy his paintings, "I would eat grass like Nebuchadnezzar."

Amos Ferguson is still painting at 84, and although he can hardly write his name, he has produced thousands of pieces on all sorts of media that would rival any of the paintings by artists who graduated from art schools.

This legendary Exumian never forgets where his gift came from and a chat with him is like taking a journey through the whole Bible.


Early years

He was born in the Forest, Exuma in 1920, the son of a preacher, Rev Robert Ferguson who pastored the Palestine Baptist Church.

The Forrest is a typical Family Island settlement. In the 1920s it was an "Out Island;" a small settlement with under 200 people, and like most of the islands at the time, the men went to sea on sailboats also known as smacks, to gather fish and conch for the family and for sale in Nassau.

Meanwhile the women did pot hole farming. Everyone went to church on Sunday. Amos was a part of that early Out Island generation who was brought up in the church and looked to it not only as a place for renewal on Sundays, but for long term hope and inspiration.

This early upbringing accounts for the deep religious faith that he has held on to after all these years.

One night in 1928 at age eight, he had a vision of what he was supposed be, what he was supposed to do for the rest of his life. He was also bestowed with a gift at that time. He says the Lord showed him that he was supposed to express the love of God to the world through art.

That night young Amos would never forget. Living near the sea, every opportunity he got he would go to "Wright's Bay" and draw in the sand the smacks that he could see anchored out at sea.

"I was always drawing," he says, "anything I could find to draw on."

He attended the Forest all-age school, but as was the law then, he had to leave at age 14, so he got very little formal education. Amos does not remember the exact date when he left the Forest, but he was not yet 20 when he joined his older brother in New Providence.


Middle years

The religious person that he is, he says God directed him to his first job, which was polishing and refinishing furniture with G. R. Baxter an Englishmen who operated a furniture refinishing business at Orange Hill, West Bay Street. He excelled at the job and earned a trip to a furniture show in Chicago.

Being forever cognizant of his calling, Amos would use his lunch break to draw everything that he could see. "I was practicing all the time for what I had to do one day," he says.

Amos took a job with Mosko Workshop on Shirley Street, still into furniture refinishing, and after a short stint, he quit, going into house painting on his own. It was in the late 1930s that he fully accepted his gift from God ... "I went into painting on anything I could find."

He is enveloped in things spiritual. He gets his inspiration and assignments from God. "I thank God for Jesus. He tells me what to paint.

His first piece was a painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He says most of his paintings are of biblical people and events. "God has called me; and I show my love by painting from the Bible."


His art

His humble home on Exuma Street, Coconut Grove is where he has been painting for over 60 years. He is an unorthodox artist, he paints on all types of surfaces and unlike others who use acrylic and water paints, and he always uses gloss enamel house paint. Few Bahamians know of his work, but he has sold his art to people from all over the world.

He has put on exhibitions at Lyford Cay and Paradise Island on a number of occasions. He says that residents of Lyford Cay are his big patrons. Locally, he sells to Nassau Glass Company, Dongalik Studios and Vincent D'Aguilar, but the brunt of his sales is from tourists. In the 1960s, he used to put on exhibitions in New York, travelling with paintings and figurines in a trunk, "The Amos Ferguson Trunk." He has also done exhibitions in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. His last exhibition in The Bahamas was at the Central Bank in 1998.

He does not paint on location. All his painting is done right at his galley at home. He says, "Every painting is different. The Lord gives me everything different to paint."

He recalls that the late Brent Malone would come to him and ask him things. Some years back, the two would pair up for an outdoor exhibition in the Pond, East Bay Street, when Amos' paintings out-sold Malone's by two to one.

He does not consider himself a self-taught artist; to him it is a gift from God. He believes that he is just holding the brush. The Divine hand makes the strokes. At 84, he still has good eyesight and does not need glasses. He paints everyday at his modest home and gallery on Exuma Street, Coconut Grove. The street is named in his honour. He has amassed hundreds of paintings, a variety of Bahamian scenes as well as biblical themes.

When we caught up with him Thursday he was painting one of those Adam and Eve pieces. Is he going to retire? "Not likely," he says.

This cheerful, inspirational man of four score and four says he is not bitter that so few Bahamians patronise him, just a little disappointed, but with a grin, he was quick to quote from the Bible, "A prophet has no honour in his own country."

[Some of Mr. Ferguson's work can be viewed at Princess Street Gallery on Harbour Island.]

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