National Gallery book puts Cayman art on display

| 28/10/2016
CNS Local Life

Natalie Urquhart (front, left) and others with the new National Gallery book

(CNS Local Life): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) has released a fine art book which offers the first comprehensive survey of visual art in the Cayman Islands, as seen through highlights from the NGCI’s permanent collection. The Art of The Cayman Islands – A Journey Through the National Gallery Collection is fully illustrated with works by more than 70 local artists with accompanying essays, artwork descriptions and biographies.

The publication traces a historical and stylistic journey that begins with the visionary markings of intuitive artists such as Gladwyn “Miss Lassie” Bush, and moves on to the work of the early realist painters who sought to capture the picturesque tropical island paradise, before concluding with the more critically engaged, multi-disciplinary work that the islands’ contemporary artists are generating.

This overview, which also functions as the gallery’s first collection guide, features essays on the history of art and the story of the National Gallery and its permanent collection.

Published by Scala Arts Publishers, who specialise in producing books for museums, galleries, libraries and heritage organisations around the world, the book has been written and developed by NGCI director and chief curator, Natalie Urquhart, and made possible with the support of NGCI chairperson Susan A. Olde.

It has been designed to appeal to a wide range of readers, from those already familiar with the Cayman Islands’ visual art and cultural heritage, to newcomers to the Island and art scene, to students across the Cayman Islands. “One of our main motivations for developing this guide was to help connect students to their cultural history, as well as the works of art in the NGCI’s collection,” said Urquhart.

“The artwork tells this story through beautiful depictions of maritime heritage; thatch and craft work; our architectural history and the natural environment; and, more recently, works which explore some of the more challenging social and economic concerns effecting our community today. Combined with online teaching resources that will be available for download on our new website, we hope it will serve as an invaluable teaching tool for schools across all three islands.”

NGCI will be distributing free copies of the publication to all schools, libraries and youth centres across the Cayman Islands furthering accessibility to arts education and the gallery’s Permanent Collection.

“Through informative essays and stunning colour plates, the book serves as a celebration of the National Gallery’s own story thus far, highlighting the integral role that NGCI continues to play in the development of art education and fine art for everyone throughout our islands,” said Olde. “We hope that it will inspire readers and give them the occasion to embrace the gallery and the collection anew.”

All reproduction rights for the publication have been donated by the author and by the featured artists, enabling 100% of proceeds from sales to go towards collections development and related education initiatives.

The book, which costs $35, can be purchased directly from the National Gallery store. Bulk orders can be ordered by emailing the NGCI. Orders of at least 20 books will be discounted.

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Category: Books, Visual Arts

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