National Gallery exhibition honours maritime heritage

| 20/01/2017

CNS Local LIfe(CNS Local Life): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands’ (NGCI) newest exhibition series celebrates Cayman’s maritime identity – past, present and future. Seeking to engage visitors and members of the public with the story of maritime heritage and national identity, the three-month programme runs from 20 January-20 April.

The project, curated by NGCI director Natalie Urquhart, begins with a collection of maritime-inspired figurative work by local artists. On display in NGCI’s Community Gallery, “Saltwater in Their Veins” pays tribute to the men who went to sea and the vessels they sailed. Works by John Broad, Randy Chollette, Capt. Charles “Chuckie” Ebanks, Horacio Esteban, Freeby, Miguel Powery, Saba, Alexandra Simonova, Gordon Solomon, Suzy Soto and Monte Lee Thorton, highlight stories of courage, hardship, heroism, determination and faith.

The second part of the exhibition series, “Upon the Seas”, takes a contemporary look at Cayman’s evolving relationship with the ocean. The selected artists include Shane Aquart, David Bridgeman, John Broad, Christ Christian, Bryony Dixon, Al Ebanks, Davin Ebanks, Kerwin Ebanks, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Kathryn Elphinstone, Jamie Hahn, Bendel Hydes, Capt. Kem Jackson, Chris Mann, Elena McDonough, Yonier Powery, Courtney Platt, Brandon Saunders, Simon Tatum and Avril Ward.

Working from a variety of perspectives – historical, cultural, economic and ecological – as well as mediums, the works offer thought-provoking insights and challenge people to move from solely observers to active participants in this evolving relationship.

“As islanders, our national identity is intrinsically tied to the surrounding ocean,” Urquart said. “Historically it provided our primary means of sustenance and economy, while in recent years we have come to rely on a maritime-based tourism industry and the seaborne importation of our food and goods.

“The ocean is a realm of potentiality and a place of exploration, loss and salvation. We are thrilled to launch this exhibition series and look forward to upcoming discussions and further explorations.”

The exhibition series is being held in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association, the Cayman Catboat Club and the Cayman Islands National Archive (CINA), and is sponsored by Butterfield Bank.

Michael McWatt, managing director at the bank, said, “Butterfield is pleased to support the gallery’s latest exhibition which focuses on society’s relationship with the ocean.

“As an organisation that is based primarily in island locations, the Butterfield Group focuses a good deal of its charitable giving on protecting island environments; the ocean being the most significant beneficiary.”

Featuring a range of programmes and events, the new series aims to encourage the community to engage with the maritime culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands. The programme of events includes family fun days, film screenings, lectures, site visits, art workshops and an extensive school tours programme.

Education initiatives will also include a community outreach programme where NGCI educators will visit schoolchildren throughout the districts to discuss their seafaring heritage and culture, and work on creative maritime-themed art projects.


Category: Culture, Visual Arts

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