National Gallery showcases Caymanian craft

| 03/10/2017
CNS Local Life

Detail of Knotted Baskets by Kathryn Elphinstone

(CNS Local Life): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) is presenting a new exhibition, “REVIVE! – Celebrating contemporary and traditional craft from the Cayman Islands”, which will run from Saturday, 7 October to January 2018. Curated by Natalie Urquhart, with support from Kerri-Anne Chisholm, Jessica Ebanks and Simon Tatum, the exhibition showcases the best in Caymanian craft and features more than 50 artists from all six districts.

Works comprise a diverse range of objects by makers who are using traditional and cutting-edge techniques across diverse practices including basketry, ceramics, textiles, fibre, paper, glass, metal and wood craft, stated an NGCI press release.

“Craft has a long tradition in the Cayman Islands. Initially born out of necessity, functional crafts soon became highly decorative, evolving into our earliest tangible forms of creative expression,” Urquhart explained. “Today, the boundaries between craft and art continue to dissolve. Where thatch baskets were once purely functional, Caymanian artisans have begun to experiment with forms and decoration. This exhibition seeks to explore our evolving traditions and to connect our young people to these remarkable art forms.”

Many of the featured artists seek to maintain and revive longstanding traditional forms, while others combine age-old techniques with modern materials. “The connecting thread is that all of the featured work involves the hands of a maker – at their very root the works of art are about process, technique and material,” Urquhart said.

Running in conjunction with “REVIVE!” is a solo exhibition by acclaimed sculptor and artisan Horacio Esteban, featuring the artist’s new series of three-dimensional works carved out of reclaimed cedar wood. The collection includes sculpture – large insects, birds and an elephant – along with functional items, again blurring the boundaries between art and craft.

Through “REVIVE!” the National Gallery will create a platform for discussions about the role that craft plays in our society and illustrate the ways in which Caymanian traditions continue to evolve in the 21st century. In addition to the objects on display there will be literature highlighting the individual artisans as well as the agencies like the Cayman Traditional Arts Council and Cayman Traditional Arts – who are working to preserve traditional art forms. The extensive education programme accompanying the exhibition will include craft workshops, panel discussions, tours and special events.

For more information about memberships, special lectures, workshops and family programmes related to the exhibition, go to the NGCI website

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Category: Arts, Visual Arts

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