The late Chan Pratt is entering a new realm, joining the ranks of a minute number of local artists whose signature styles are hung and worn. His namesake foundation is teaming up with local footwear company, Bahems, to bring art to everyday living and fund a scholarship for a young artist attending the University of The Bahamas. “Ever since my dad passed, I have tried to find a way to incorporate his artwork into everyday items more accessible to the general public,” said Dewitt Chan (DC) Pratt, the late artist’s son and the founder of the Chan Pratt Foundation established in 2014, as an organization dedicated to keeping his father’s memory alive. The style and simplicity of Bahems caught Mr. Pratt’s eye, bringing to light an incredible opportunity. “I thought the shoes would be a great fit, a canvas for the artwork to introduce a wider audience to the Chan Pratt brand,” he explained. “Instead of using an actual painting I thought to use certain elements from my dad’s collection or things that he’s known for to create a design that’s reminiscent of a Chan Pratt’s painting.”
For Bahems founder, Nathan Arnett, it was something he didn’t have in his (then) 10-strong collection of Bahamas designed, people inspired, espadrille style footwear, thus, making it unique. “This partnership produces a new, creative channel to showcase art here in The Bahamas. It shows that opportunities are endless once people put their heads together and think outside the box,” he said. “We believe the style is going to resonate with persons from all walks of life.” The founders tapped noted Grand Bahamian digital artist, Lamaro Smith to execute the pattern design concept for the shoes. “It was an honor for me to pay tribute to Chan Pratt with a design that’s a nod to his aesthetics. The collaboration provides a means for the masses to connect to the late artist through the quality footwear brand, that is Bahems,” said Mr. Smith, the creative director and founder of Motionsmith Studios, who has worked with the Chan Pratt Foundation on other projects. Bahems Limited Edition Chan Pratt Espadrille is available for pre-order on Bahemsfootwear.com. It’s priced at $99.99. Sizes in the durable, waterproof footwear range from six to eleven for women and from sizes seven to thirteen for men. Part proceeds will go towards the Chan Pratt Memorial Endowment Fund, established in 2018. The scholarship is open to art majors in their final year of study at The University of The Bahamas. The foundation is accepting applications from Bahamian art students with a 3.0 GPA and an expansive portfolio. It hopes to award its first scholarship for the upcoming fall semester to one outstanding student who meets all its criteria. “It’s been a difficult search for the ideal candidate to become the scholarship’s inaugural recipient,” said Mr. Pratt. “We’re looking for a promising artist who will be a credit to the foundation.” The late Chan Pratt was known for his rich, vibrant body of work which captures the glory of ordinary life and culture of The Bahamas.