In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the official death toll in the Bahamas has risen to 30, with hundreds missing. Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has said that the storm caused “generational devastation” to the archipelago, and Duane Sands, the Bahamas’ minister of health, said on September 5 that the number of deaths “could be staggering.”
Artist Tavares Strachan was in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, where he was born, for the brunt of the storm. Strachan regularly travels to the Bahamas to visit family and do community work, and he told ARTnews that, though he has experienced other hurricanes in his lifetime, they were “nothing like Dorian.”
To help relief efforts in the Bahamas, Strachan has decided to give part of the proceeds from his current exhibition “Smalls (from Hidden Histories series)” at SFA Advisory in New York to two organizations: Direct Relief and World Central Kitchen. The presentation features collages and sculptures along with jackets and hoodies from Bahamas Air and Sea Exploration Center (B.A.S.E.C.), a Nassau-based enterprise established by Strachan.
According to Lisa Schiff, founder and president of SFA Advisory, 10 percent of the profits from sales of major artworks and 20 percent of proceeds from clothing purchases will be donated. Strachan said that funds may be allocated to other organizations as the situation in the Bahamas develops.
“These things are more organic than we would like to admit,” he said. “I think the issues will be different in a week as people get evacuated and then it’s rebuilding effort. At this time, people on the ground need to be sheltered and fed.”
One of the biggest challenges responders face is limited access to Abaco and Freeport, both of which were hit heavily by Dorian. Strachan considers the process of rebuilding “in terms of a longterm strategy.”
“The key is to create a certain energy that is sustained as issues shift over time,” Strachan explained. “People are dying, so every penny at the moment counts. The fate of these islands is dependent on support from outside.”