One of the oldest cities of the Americas, Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on the island of New Providence. The city and country lie at the crossroads between North America and the Caribbean and have long been a hub for waves of migration between the Antilles and the continent, as well as a meeting ground for disparate groups from the African diaspora.
The crafts and folk arts have drawn on this migration mélange to form a distinct culture, whilst showing clear kinship with the contributory streams. Bahamian cultural forms may thus be viewed as a bridge between the cultural complexes of the two regions.
Junkanoo and straw art are among the most outstanding Bahamian creative and cultural traditions. Firmly grounded in Bahamian history and heritage, the Junkanoo masquerade tradition has had a significant positive impact on the development and preservation of the country’s indigenous arts and crafts. At the same time, it has privileged creativity and resourcefulness in the use of available materials and has provided an avenue to greater economic independence for generations of Bahamians. Through the development of the local creative economy and exchange with other Creative Cities, Nassau plans to diversify its economy and increase participation in cultural life.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts, Nassau envisages:
- forging stronger relationships with UCCN cities via electronic media;
- hosting UCCN conferences;
- sharing historical and educational information on the Bahamian straw and Junkanoo traditions in addition to fostering educational exchange programmes on this topic;
- strengthening the city’s relationship with Santa Fe, fellow Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts, with which it has already developed an active partnership; and
- acting as a conduit for the promotion of the UCCN and the creative tourism model throughout the Caribbean region.