Tamika Galanis

Department of Film and Media Arts

Assistant Professor, Film

Shaffer Art Building
Syracuse, NY 13244-1210


Tamika Galanis is a documentarian and multimedia visual artist.

A Bahamian native, Galanis’ work examines the complexities of living in a place shrouded in tourism’s ideal during the age of climate concerns. Emphasizing the importance of Bahamian cultural identity for cultural preservation, Galanis documents aspects of Bahamian life not curated for tourist consumption to intervene in the historical archive. This work counters the widely held paradisiacal view of the Caribbean, the origins of which arose post-emancipation through a controlled, systematic visual framing and commodification of the tropics.

Galanis’ photography-based-practice includes traditional documentary work and new media abstractions of written, oral, and archival histories. “Hacking the Narrative” is a multimedia project composed of photographs, film, and sculptural objects that shed light on the conditions in which Bahamians live outside of the mythical promise of paradise.

Images from the photographic series “The Constituency” account for life outside of the scope of tourism beautification—communities whose residents have been rendered invisible by the tourism industry, and without whose labor it would be nonexistent. These photographs function as a critical lens through which to capture what seems to be lacking in the region’s historic photographic collections: nuance. Countering the images commissioned to construct a mythical ideal to draw foreigners to Bahamian shores, Galanis’ photographs lift the veil on life beyond resort walls—good, bad, and ugly—forcing us to grapple with the complexities of socioeconomic marginalization in a place where the paradise narrative has long eclipsed all others.

Using the Pacific-native lionfish—invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean—as a literal and metaphorical representation of the effects capitalism has historically wrought on the Caribbean, Galanis uses film and sculptural elements of “Hacking the Narrative” to draw on parallels between the population and the environment: conceptualizing the parity in exploitation between the people and the reef environs—positing that the people and the reef are the same.

“When the Lionfish Came” is an experimental, short film that layers Junkanoo and underwater footage to symbolize what is at stake in this disappearing culture. “The Human-Coral Hybrids” are 3D-printed sculptural objects that fuse African faces with coral crowns. They are a requiem for the invisible: both the Africans forced across the Middle Passage establishing the Diaspora to the Caribbean and present-day-Bahamians.


  • M.F.A., Duke University
  • B.A., Clayton State University