Most people looking for things to do in the Bahamas will head to a straw market, where locals sell inexpensive souvenirs and pieces of art. But the street markets aren’t quite your thing—you prefer to peruse art in a calm environment, away from the crowds and barking vendors. You would rather see many great works than sort through the chaff at a market to find the few kernels of inspired work.
To find art, you are constantly exploring local galleries when you travel. On a Saturday morning, while the crowds are heading to the beach or the straw market, you stroll down Village Road and stumble across Doongalik Studios. You see an exhibition of vibrant watercolors. The paintings feature beautiful scenes from the Bahamas: wildlife, quaint buildings, beaches, and local daily life. You love how the paintings flow organically, with strong contrast and beautiful colors, and really captured the spirit of the place. After careful consideration, you choose two to brighten up your home: a beach sunset scene with silhouettes of palm trees against the ocean, and a painting of an old church with its roof caved in and walls covered in overgrown beautiful green vines.
For a quick break from the art, you check out the farmers’ market Doongalik hosts on Saturday mornings, with friendly local farmers selling produce and snacks. You enjoy a ripe, juicy mango and chat with the fruit vendor in the shade of her tent. Feeling refreshed and a bit sticky, you head back inside to peruse the rest of the gallery. In addition to the rotating featured exhibit, Doongalik has diverse works on display from around 40 local artists. Sculptures in wood, stone, and found materials are displayed alongside acrylic and oil paintings, authentic goat-skin drums, and finely wrought jewelry.
Doongalik hopes to change the nature of tourism in the area so that, as they say, “by the year 2020, the majority of visitors to The Bahamas will come to experience Bahamian Art, Culture and Heritage rather than merely Sun, Sand and Sea.” It’s an ambitious goal, but you know that the next time you’re looking for things to do in the Bahamas, your first stop will be the art gallery at Doongalik Studios.