News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Unchained on the Rock, a Bermuda-based initiative that chronicles narratives of Black liberation and resistance throughout the Atlantic Basin, are presenting a special fundraising performance of their talk ‘Beyond Seascapes: Black Art in Bermuda’ on Tuesday, February 27th, 2024, to benefit the Bermuda Society of Arts.

The presentation will mark the closing night of ‘Whayasin’, an exhibition geared towards Black artists in Bermuda that explores their feelings and thoughts about the Black artist’s position within the culture of Bermuda. Doors will open at 5:15pm and the presentation will begin promptly at 5:45pm. The event will end at 7:30pm.

Bermudian storytellers Ajala Omodele and Liana Nanang will show how Black artists of all disciplines have subverted and challenged expectations of what acceptable art in Bermuda should be.

Unchained on the Rock Co-founder Liana Nanang said: “Our passion lies in making our history enjoyable and entertaining and, most importantly, accessible to our people outside of private hires. So we’ve focused our Black History Month pop-up on supporting the BSOA with a donation-based event.”

Unchained on the Rock Co-founder Ajala Omodele said: “We will explain the origins, inspiration, and purpose of Black art in pre-colonial Africa and how the major shift in the trajectory of Black art was triggered by the Ma’afa [Kiswahili: Great Disaster]. From this vantage point, we will examine the work of artists such as Chesley Trott, Bill Ming, Gherdai Hassell, Normal Lewis and many others as well as explore photographic, musical and literary art including the Gombeys and Calypso music. We will tie in Bermudian history by placing the work in the context of the times.

Executive Director of the Bermuda Society of Arts Nzingha Ming said: “Unchained on the Rock’s presentation is more than a history talk, and more than an art talk, it is an experience not to be missed.”

An engaging and interactive evening is on offer with our speakers presenting researched history, personal anecdotes, video and musical clips, poetry reading and thoughtful analysis and critique. In this departure from your average art talk, expect to leave the event feeling empowered, educated and entertained.

Mr Omodele is an educator, writer, poet, and lecturer. He is the author of ‘Dame Lois: The People’s Advocate’, ‘They Called Him Roose’ and ‘Look for Me in the Whirlwind: A Story of Marcus Garvey’. Holding a master’s degree in education, Mr Omodele has taught at the primary and middle school level and designed and delivered a graduate-level course at York University. He has conducted professional development seminars on Black history for Bermuda’s educators and featured as a speaker for Oxford University’s Race & Resistance Conference and ThinkFest. He has been featured in a variety of international documentaries, has been interviewed by Forbes and several of his poems have been published in MOKO: Caribbean Arts and Letters. His poem, entitled ‘the crossing [aka why I don’t like tall ships]’ was selected for inclusion in the 2022 Bermuda National Gallery Biennial.

Ms Nanang is a multidisciplinary storyteller whose work navigates race, nationality, trauma, resilience, spirituality, colonialism, and her identity as a neurodivergent woman of colour. Liana’s writing and photography have featured in The New York Times, and she has been interviewed by Forbes, the UK’s BBC Breakfast and BBC World News. She won Best Columnist in the 2017 Best of Bermuda Awards and was awarded Use of Materials in the 2021 Charman Prize at Masterworks Museum. Ms Nanang obtained a law degree from University College London and is a New York-qualified attorney. Both her visual art and poetry were selected for the 2022 Bermuda National Gallery Biennial.