The landscape, the architecture and the history of the Abacos provide a major source of inspiration for local artists Ritchie and Roshanne Eyma. The couple run the The Minnis Family Art Gallery in Marsh Harbour Abaco. The Minnis family name is indelibly linked to the Bahamian art and culture scene. Roshanne’s father is none other than renowned Bahamian song writer and self-taught artist Eddie Minnis.
“I think that it all started about two years our landlord graciously offered the space to us. At that time we had an opening here in Abaco and seeing that we were new to the island, having been here for about a year and a half or so at that time, it was a good way to have an exhibition and invite the community at large so that they could have an idea about the work that we do. My father -in-law Eddie Minnis came down, along with my sister-in-law and other members of the family. It was a very good introduction , it was very well supported and we are working at building on that foundation from the original exhibition,” says Ritchie, who was born in The Bahamas but spent his formative years in Haiti. Since 2005, he has been exhibiting his work with his wife, her sister Nicole and Eddie Minnis. Moving to Abaco has allowed the couple to to fulfill their twin passion of creating art and volunteerism.
“We have been getting into scenes from the Abacos,” says Roshanne. “Some of the paintings are scenes from Coopers Town, its very scenic and we have gotten a lot of inspiration from there as well as from the cays like Green Turtle Cay. We do a lot of volunteer in the Haitian community and that’s the main reason we moved Abaco and we get inspiration from there as well.”
According to Ritchie, residing in Abaco has allowed the couple to come into contact with collectors from around the world. “Abaco is a bustling destination for second home owners. We are happy that a number of them appreciate the art and the scenes that we do of the island as we try to highlight the local people and the local scenes. The internet and also our location being here in Abaco has been very helpful in assisting us with getting new clients.”
He added: “I find the landscape and especially the buildings fascinating. That’s what most of my work has been about. There is a lot of history and the buildings connect us to the past, it connects us to the actual generation, it gives us something to look forward to. I love working with oil. I find the process just as exciting as the end product.”
As Jehovah Witnesses, the Eyma’s are involved in bible education and counseling and have been actively involved in the Haitian community on Abaco in that regard. “We find this work to be very rewarding because fit helps us to see how we can impact peoples lives for the good,” says Ritchie.