Jackson Burnside

Photo of Jackson Burnside by Derek W Smith 2005 ©

Artist, Architect, Junkanoo Designer, Cultural Advocate

Jackson Burnside III was a popular Bahamian artist, architect, and Junkanoo designer who used colorful, bold, and complex layered paintings that portrayed the true essence of Bahamian island life. Burnside was educated at Lincoln University PA, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts, where he obtained two Master’s degrees; one in Architecture from the Professional Degree program and the other from the Design Studio of Louis I. Kahn.

In the 1970’s when he returned to The Bahamas he became the first Bahamian senior architect at The Ministry of Works. Burnside headed several of his architectural practices which focused on principles of Bahamian architectural practices that favor designs that respond to their natural surroundings. He also incorporated traditional Bahamian Design into buildings, one of his most famous projects being the Marina Village at Atlantis.

As a solo artist, his paintings have been exhibited in The Bahamas, the United States, England, and the Caribbean. In 1991 he was a founding member of B-C.A.U.S.E. (Bahamian Creative Artists United for Serious Expression), a group formed to promote and support Bahamian artists.

In the 1970s, he founded The Doongalik Studios with his wife Pam with hopes to create The Bahamas as an international center of creativity. Their vision statement was that “by the year 2020 more persons would travel to The Bahamas for its art, culture, and heritage rather than for its sun, sand, and sea.” Doongalik Studios is located on Village Road in New Providence.

Burnside was heavily involved in Junkanoo and other community and cultural affairs. He was a design leader of the Saxons Junkanoo Group for many years before leaving to become a founding member, designer, and conch-shell blower in the One Family Junkanoo Group in 1993.

Jackson Burnside won numerous awards and honors as a cultural advocate, including The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Citizen’s Award for the Creative and Performing Arts, and The E.Clement Bethel Award for Excellence in the Arts. He was also inducted into the National Junkanoo Legends Circle. In 2014, Burnside was posthumously recognized as a “Cultural Warrior” by the Government of The Bahamas during the country’s 41st Anniversary of Independence.

In May of 2011, Jackson Burnside sadly passed away after suffering a brain Aneurysm, he is survived by his wife who still runs and operates Doongalik Studios.

Written by: Alexis Clarke