Memoirs of a Geisha comes to life with NG Ball

The annual fundraising costume ball put on by the National Gallery will be the highlight of the Gallery’s fundraising initiative this year.

Memoirs of a Geisha

A scene from the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha shows the beauty of the Japanese countryside. Photo: Submitted

Held on Saturday, 7 March, its theme is based on the charming novel by Arthur Golden and well-known 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha. The fictional story revisits the life of a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan before World War II.

Each year the National Gallery’s Friends of the Gallery volunteer staff works toward a theme that incorporates glamour, costuming and the style of a certain period in time.

This year’s décor will draw from the characteristics of the picturesque Japanese landscape and art replete with cherry blossoms, kites, origami and Zen gardens accentuating the cultured glamour of pre-war Japan.

Guests, who are welcome to attend in costume or black tie, will be treated to sake in the Governor’s Lawn at the Westin Casuarina Resort beginning at 7pm, before enjoying a five-course Japanese meal and live entertainment inside the Governor’s Ballroom.

Entertainment includes Geisha-inspired dancers Inara Myles, Ashley Christian, and Stephen Nickelson (the Deutsche Bank’s National Gallery intern for 2008 to 2009), representing Barnes Dance Academy.

Along with a silent auction and other fundraising activities, Jay Ehrhart will be auctioning the works of several well-known Cayman artists including Chris Mann, Randy Chollette, Rachel Christ, Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, Charles Long and Kaitlyn Elphinstone.

Part of the auction will be the six-foot long garden bridge and the 12-foot square garden teahouse, built entirely from scratch by inmates led by Thomas Watson under the direction of Community Service Officer Richard Barton at Northward Prison. Kariba Architecture kindly created the design and construction drawings.

In efforts to raise funds for the Gallery’s Outreach and Education programmes, the Geisha ball committee, comprised entirely of volunteer staff members, has been working for months to ensure the ball is a success.

Nancy Barnard, director of the National Gallery and the event’s overall coordinator, has praised their generous assistance along with that of previous ball manager Jennifer Woodford, who was instrumental in raising this event to its current high standard.

This year, Colette Byrne, assisted by Alison Lomax, conceptualised the exterior décor, and Fiona Pimentel the interior décor. Marcia Milgate and Sally Allison coordinated the Lantern Pick, silent and live auctions respectively and Joanna Humphries took on the task of transportation for after the event, where guests can make their way home in Barnes Pedi-cabs which will be decorated as traditional Japanese rickshaws for the night.

This event has been partly underwritten by three sponsors: Butterfield Bank, International Financial Planning (Cayman) Ltd. (IFP) and Queensgate Bank.

‘Butterfield congratulates the National Gallery on another phenomenal year of work and profile-raising in the arts,’ said Chris Duggan of Butterfield Bank’s private banking division.

‘It’s a pleasure for International Financial Planning (Cayman) to support the National Gallery’s annual ball,’ said Stuart Clark of IFP.

‘The National Gallery does a wonderful job in the Cayman Islands of promoting visual arts, particularly through their education programmes, and we are proud to be involved with the event this year.’

Ms Barnard said: ‘Andreas Ugland of Queensgate Bank has always been extremely supportive of the Gallery and its programmes and we are grateful for all three sponsors’ support for this, our biggest fundraising event of the year.’

The Gallery would also like to thank those firms and individuals who purchased tickets to attend, artists who donated artwork, companies who donated goods and services, John Doak Architecture for the artist’s table and the Westin Casuarina Resort for reduced rates and outstanding service.

Please contact Nancy Barnard at [email protected] or on 945-8111 for a last chance to purchase a ticket for the 7 March event to support the outreach and educational programmes of the National Gallery.

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