“Elect Ya Tings” (2015) was an interactive installation by Sonia Farmer examining gender inequality in The Bahamas. The project overall sought to draw attention to the existing damaging narratives of gender politics in The Bahamas, driven by patriarchal political and religious institutions. It received an honorable mention at the 32nd Annual Art Competition & Exhibition at the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
Using the starting point of a ubiquitous safe sex slogan around Nassau, “Protect ya tings”, Sonia created a series of sixteen prints coupling slogans and images that explore the hypocrisy and complexity of Bahamian gender relations. These were letterpress-printed onto handmade paper that contained the wording of four proposed constitutional amendments for a long-promised but as unfulfilled Gender Equality Referendum. These amendments sought to give Bahamian men and women the same rights in passing their citizenship onto their foreign spouses and children, and to make it unlawful to discriminate someone on the basis of sex.
Inside of a makeshift polling station bordering on confessional filled with these stark prints and slogans, participants voted upon these four constitutional amendment bills that would shift gender equality in The Bahamas. These bills reflected the wording to be used in the actual referendum that the Bahamian public had been promised, but which, up until that time, the Government had not yet held. When participants cast their votes, the sheet would be shredded, and they would receive an “I voted!” pin. At the end of the evening, the shreds were removed from the voting box and remained on the floor of the polling station until the end of the exhibition.
These shreds were later used in “Cycle of Abuse” as a response to the actual Gender Equality Referendum finally held in 2016.
Gratitude extended to Margot Bethel for her assistance in constructing the polling station and to Dominic Duncombe/Stop Motion Productions for photographing the evening.