Artwork protects the mangroves

Every artist has a muse – that which inspires them to create works of art. Yet it is not often that an artist has the opportunity to protect that muse.

For local artist Teresa Grimes, Cayman’s natural landscape and especially its mangroves serve as inspiration for her work.

It came naturally to her that, when organising her art exhibition ‘Mangroves and Moods’ which will take place from 6pm to 8pm on Monday, 14 December at the Calypso Grill restaurant, she decided to donate 30 per cent of the art sales to the Land Reserve Fund of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.

‘The more you paint mangroves, the more you sketch them out and photograph them and the more you are around them, the more you see how important they are,’ said Ms Grimes.

‘My love is the landscape and trying to capture its essence on canvas,’ she said.

She tries to do sketches and watercolours on site in order to capture what speaks to her in the landscape and then works on the final product in the studio.

‘There is a beauty, a mystery, a mood to everything,’ she said.

This is something she tries to capture in her work.

The evening exhibition will also feature information on the mangroves and their unique eco system provided by Marnie Laing of Sea Elements, who conducts snorkel tours of the mangroves, as well as Tom Watling of Cayman Kayaks, who conducts kayak tours of the mangroves. Both have provided information on the mangroves, the different types, how they grow, and the role they play.

‘It’s going to be not just a show, but also something informative to make everybody more aware,’ said Ms Grimes.

‘The Land Reserve Fund is a tool used by the Trust to preserve environmentally significant areas of Cayman. There are times when property owners would rather see their land in the hands of the Trust than be developed. In cases such as that the land may be donated outright, or the Trust is given a discount by the owner. However in most cases the Trust pays full market value,’ said Frank Balderamos, general manager of the Trust.

‘Cayman has numerous subspecies of plants, trees and animals which can be found nowhere else in the world. The only way to ensure the survival of these is for the land which they inhabit to be preserved in perpetuity,’ he said.

Although Ms Grimes is very concerned with the preservation of the mangroves, she believes that a balance has to be found between development and preservation.

‘You cannot close the door on development, because it is necessary, but there has to be some awareness about the environment as well,’ she said.

In spite of the damage already done to the mangroves, Ms Grimes believes that, given a chance, the mangroves will be able to recover.

‘The mangroves are very tenacious – that’s the best part about them,’ she concluded.