Raw exhibition courts controversy

Self-styled art maverick Luelan Bodden joins forces with other local artists to stage Raw, an exhibition which includes pieces of a controversial nature, starting next Saturday, 3 September.

The show runs until 10 September.

According to its principle organiser, Raw contains artwork for a mature audience and is being staged with Wray Banker, Chris Christian and Al Ebanks at the latter’s studio behind Philips Electrical.

Around 30 or so paintings and sculptures will be on display based on the premise of total freedom of artistic expression.

‘To have your work accepted for public display in Cayman, artists have to constantly self censor. But being an artist is not about crowd pleasing, it’s about following your own rules and being true to yourself,’ Bodden remarked.

‘The show came out of having one of my sculptures rejected for entry into last year’s McCoy Prize competition. The judges would not allow it into the show, and have never given me what I think is a valid explanation,’ he added.

The response by the country’s leading art establishment was forthright and unequivocal.

‘The National Gallery totally supports the National Museum’s position to not accept the piece as an entry to the McCoy Prize 2004, and after a committee made up of several members of our cultural organisations met, the reason relayed to the artist was that it was decided the work may be deemed pornographic in nature.

‘As a national organisation, the National Gallery has a mission to develop and promote all members of our artistic community – including our youngest patrons who visit almost daily in school groups. We have had much nude content in past shows, however this particular piece was curated out due to what some of our community may deem its offensive nature.’

The piece in question, Forbidden Fruit, will be on show at Raw, which is open to the public from 7.30pm until the last attendees leave.

‘There’s a fine line between madness and genius. Some of the artwork in Raw treads that line,’ said the artist.

‘I wanted to put on a show, which was thought provoking and edgy. I want it to be something people will talk still be talking about in 10 years time.’