AMOS FERGUSON, MATCH ME IF YOU CAN, pays tribute to this highly spiritual Bahamian intuitive artist known for his brilliantly colored paintings of island ritual, fauna, flora & scenes from the Bible.

ARTIST'S PROFILES (Click to enlarge images of the art)
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Amos Ferguson

He does not remember exactly the age he started to paint, but stated that as a young boy, when he did not have canvas & paint, he would draw pictures in the sand, on pieces of paper & all through his school notepads. Born on February 28th, 1920 on the island of Exuma in the Bahamas, to Reverend Robert & Lavinia (nee Rolle) Ferguson, Amos attended school until the age of 14 & worked with his father, a preacher, farmer & carpenter, until in his 20’s he left for ‘The Contracts’ in the USA.

He joined the many Bahamian men & women that picked the fields during the war, living in the States for over 5 years. Debating whether to stay in America or return to the Bahamas, Amos prayed for guidance. With God’s help, he returned, moving to Nassau.

Amos worked as a house painter for a living. One day his nephew, George, came to him with a message from “The Lord,” George was told in a dream that “The Lord” had given Amos a talent but he refused to use it. Hearing this, Amos decided to take his interest in painting seriously. From this time henceforth, Ferguson painted relentlessly. He would arise at 3 am each morning to pray & paint. He continued to use house paint throughout his career, preferring it’s shiny, hard finish on card board to the more traditional oil or acrylic on canvas. He said he liked the challenge of painting with a substance more difficult to control.

No one can easily deny that there is an element of sophistication in Ferguson’s paintings, with subjects illustrating in a simple & unique way, life’s various seasons, nature & a slight bit of surrealism. Amos says that he “paints by faith, not by sight. Faith gives you sight,” often turning to the Bible for inspiration. Ferguson credits his successful career & profound creative gift to his faith in God.

At first he did not sell his paintings-they were created to honor God. His work, although highly regarded by his fellow artists, was largely ignored at home. Ferguson’s first solo exhibition was held in Nassau at Toogood’s Studio in 1972, & in 1977 & 1978 respectively, upon demand he held several one-man shows at the Lyford Cay Gallery & Brent Malone’s Matinee Gallery. By the early 1980’s, Amos’s work would go far beyond the Bahamian shores.

When art connoisseur Ute Stebich saw Ferguson’s work, she was stunned, impressed with his style & thrilled with the apparent simplicity of his work, & amazed that an artist of that quality had been working in obscurity for so long. She quickly arranged for a solo exhibit to be held at the oldest museum in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. PAINT BY MR. AMOS FERGUSON, a show of 50 paintings then took a 2 year world tour. Many believe that this event brought Mr. Ferguson international acclaim.

The 1980’s & 1990’s brought Amos massive attention & he quickly became famous among museums, galleries & collectors of Folk & Outsider Art around the world. Critics describe Ferguson as a phenomenon colorist & genius at simplifying complex shapes. His signature paintings are purchased for many thousands of dollars. This is an artist who was first discovered abroad before he was valued at home in the Bahamas.

The humble home of the world-renowned painter was on Exuma Street for years, but in 2005 the name of the roadway was changed in his honor to AMOS FERGUSON STREET. He continued to paint right up to his passing in 2008, becoming the most prolific painter in the Bahamas. Ferguson said, “It makes me happy to know that they appreciate my work. If they appreciate my work, they appreciate me too.” To many, Amos’s story is as mesmerizing as his art.

Lorraine Bastian-Jones
President & CEO
Amos Ferguson Art Gallery
West Ridge
Nassau, Bahamas
1 242 327-3291


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