National Gallery shows off Cayman landscape paintings

| 25/06/2019
CNS Local Life
Birch Tree Hill by Bendel Hydes

(CNS Local Life): The National Gallery has opened a new exhibition, called “Tropical Visions”, which explores the evolution of landscape painting in the Cayman Islands. Drawing entirely on artwork from the National Collection and spanning a period of 50 years, the exhibition encompasses some of the earliest paintings in the collection as well as recent acquisitions that have never been publicly displayed.

Through a half century of Caymanian art, the exhibition, which runs until 20 September, “takes the viewer on a journey that tells a still unfinished story, tying the work of contemporary artists to a lineage of landscape painting that lives on to this day”, the gallery said in a press release.

NGCI director and exhibition co-curator Natalie Urquhart explained the philosophy behind the show. “Each year our summer exhibition explores artwork from the National Collection through a specific thematic framework as a way of opening up the collection for research and highlighting work that isn’t regularly on display,” she said. “Our unique Caymanian environment has provided a source of artistic inspiration for decades so, this year, we felt that it was very fitting to explore the evolution of landscape painting.”

CNS Local Life
The Path by Miguel Powery

As a genre, landscape painting has a long history among European artists dating back to the 17th century, the gallery said. In the Cayman Islands, landscape painting grew in popularity in the 1970’s and 1980’s, paralleling the emergence of the formal visual arts scene. The genre continues to be a dominant subject for many artists practising today and is subsequently well represented in the collection, the release said.

“Generations of artists have attempted to capture the essence of Cayman’s varied scenery, as well as the elusive quality of light and atmosphere that permeates our shores,” noted exhibition co-curator William Helfrecht. “Adopting a plethora of styles and techniques, the artists in this exhibition offers a unique perspective on the art of landscape painting in Cayman and its evolution over time – from realism to abstraction and beyond – providing a visual record of a rapidly changing physical and cultural environment.

“Collectively, these ‘Tropical Visions’ depict the scenery of our everyday experience – the abundant tropical flora and lush vegetation of our islands – while also meditating on the artist’s eye and the act of looking itself.” 

CNS Local Life
Picking Breadfruit by Jan Barwick

The diverse list of featured artists includes well-known names as well as emerging talents who are beginning to make an impact on the local arts scene. The artists on exhibit are Moira Abbott, Maureen Andersen, Edrid Banks Jr, Jan Barwick, Margaret Barwick, April Bending, David Bridgeman, Gladwyn ‘Miss Lassie’ Bush, Debbie Chase van der Bol, Penny Clifford, Teresa Grimes, Charles Long, Chris Mann, Nickola McCoy-Snell, Carol Owen, Patrick Quin, Pippa Ridley, Jeremy Sibley, Joanne Sibley, Gordon Solomon, Simon Tatum, Janet Walker and Sue Widmer.

The free exhibition will be supported by a programme of workshops, family fun days, tours and lectures running throughout the summer, designed to celebrate the genre of landscape painting and to introduce the public to both established and emerging featured artists.

“The National Collection belongs to the people of the Cayman Islands,” said Urquhart. “This is a great opportunity to experience the collection anew and to view both our new acquisitions as well as works that are rarely on display.”

For a full list of all workshops, lectures and events running throughout the exhibition go to the National Gallery website. To participate in the related school programme or book a tour, email

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Category: Arts, Local News, Visual Arts

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