Claudette Dean - Bahamian Artist

Bahamian artist Claudette Dean has been creating art since 1995. Working primarily in oil she has also dabbled in clay, encaustics and mixed media.

Intrinsic to her art is her spiritual view of the world. In 2005, then Director of the NAGB, Dr. Erica James wrote:

...Claudette Dean paints from the spirit, what she believes in that moment is true…what has become even more important to her, and artist like her, is that art can become a medium in and of itself. The process of art making can initiate a spiritual transformation on the part of the artist, and the potential also exists for this spirit to move in the viewers as they engage the work.”

Throughout her work, Dean has interwoven the themes of love and unity to create a golden thread that connects her entire body of work. Her creative journey reads like the chapters in a book on living with purpose and the grace that accompanies it.

A good place to begin the unfolding of her story would be "Mama Love" acquired in 1999 by the late great Mr. Vincent D'Aiguilar. Mr. D’Aiguilar and his wife Marina went on to become great patrons of Dean’s work and several of her pieces are now a part of the D’Aiguilar Art Foundation Collection. Next would be "Sisters" purchased by The Paradise Island Promotion Board in 2000 to greet visitors at The Lynden Pindling International Airport; it was one of several paintings produced for Dean’s international debut in “An Evening of Bahamian Art and Culture” held at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables Florida. The first all Bahamian exhibition to be held in South Florida, Brian Dursam, director and chief curator of the Lowe Art Museum was in attendance and gave an address . In 2002, "Dreamweaver" became the first of many pieces acquired for the Dawn Davies collection; it is prominently displayed in Ms. Davies book “Love and Responsibility”. The story continues with The Feminine Bond”selected for the inaugural exhibition at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas in 2003. The first chapter of Dean’s journey auspiciously concludes with "A Multicolored Culture" acquired in 2005 for the country’s permanent National Art Collection.

Chapter two begins in 2006 with the artist’s first one woman show “Across a Sea of Dreams” presented at the museum in her home town in Canada as part of the town’s centennial celebrations. Her 2nd solo exhibition “Lumiere” in 2008, held at The Freeport Art Center in Freeport Grand Bahama, featured a video explaining her process in creating the body of work. Her 3rd, “Inner Sanctum”, was held in 2010 at POPOP Studios in Nassau. That same year, Dean’s themes of love and unity gained wider public visibility with “WE R 1” her view for “A Grand Bahamian Vision Mural commissioned by The Nassau Downtown Partnership for display on Bolam House.

It was also in this time period that the artist began exploring both writing and poetry as expanded means of self expression. In 2010 she published a book, “Inner Sanctum”, featuring poems and paintings from her solo exhibition of the same name. Published in The Woman Speak Journal 2012, “The Circles of Life” is a personal essay written by Claudette tracing her spiritual journey through art. Her art has been featured in the Woman Speak Journal since Volume 4 in 1999 and has graced the front cover of both the 2010 and 2014 Journals.

Opportunity to widen her audience came in January 2013 when she was the featured artist in Kindred Spirit Magazine, a UK based publication in operation for 26 years with a wide circulation in the UK, Canada and the U.S.A. Claudette has also appeared as special guest on Grace Grit and Gratitude an online blog talk radio show hosted by Jaikaur Leblanc.

In 2012 Dean wrapped up the second chapter of her story, with what has been described as her magnum opus, when she wrote and performed “Resurrection”, a performance art piece that was produced as a video presentation and shown at The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas in NE6 Kingdom Come.

David Mackay, the producer of “Resurrection”, writes:

After viewing Claudette’s work, one can only conclude that she is spiritually connected to unwritten laws that foster harmonious coexistence free from the superficial veils of delusion that mask our true selves. This video presentation more than any other form of creative expression provides a multidimensional outcry for true freedom.”

In line with her dedication to equity and compassion, it is valuable to note that in 2007 Dean co-organized “"Freedom Call”, an art exhibition and cultural event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The event was held at the Glory Banks Gallery in Freeport Grand Bahama and featured some of the country’s top artists. A catalogue with foreword by Dr. Gail Saunders and essay by Dr. Erica Moiah James was produced to commemorate the event.

Claudette Dean’s work has not gone unnoticed; in 2007 she received an award from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs on Grand Bahama Island for her excellence in the field of Fine Arts. She has also been recognized by Miami’s Children Hospital for her work with children’s issues through art. Dean states that, although she is grateful for the recognition, the true measure of her success has been the many who have shared being touched by her work.

Chapter Three of Dean’s creative journey, began with her 4th solo exhibition, Beautiful Burden, which opened on February 14, 2014 at Hillside House, Nassau Bahamas. What was most compelling for the artist to note, concerning this particular body of work, was it's strong underlying narrative. The urge to tell a story had obviously become imperative, and by 2016 Dean had been given all indications that it was time to focus on the written word. The impetus to write, which began in 2010, came into full fruition in December 2017 with the completion of her first novel, 'Smelling Roses - A Tale of Connection and Transformation.'

What is also of interest to note, in this, the third Chapter of Dean’s journey, is the partnership she formed with 'VIDA' in 2016.  A California based company, VIDA, features Claudette’s designs on a line of clothing and accessories, thus affording the artist the opportunity to further spread her message of love and unity, through wearable art.

Shop Claudette's Wearable Art

Stay tuned for further news of a book release.

Claudette Dean