National icon inspires Ritz-Carlton gallery show

 Cayman’s National Song, Beloved
Isle Cayman, is the inspiration behind the five-person show on display at the
Ritz-Carlton’s gallery curated by fellow artist Chris Christian.

The reception for the opening night,
last Wednesday, showcased over 100 artworks and was well attended by locals and
visitors. The evening gave attendees the opportunity to speak to the contributors
about their pieces while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and wine in a convivial
gallery setting.

Patrick Broderick, Mikael Seffer,
Christel Ibsen, Dora Williams and Miguel Powery all drew inspiration in the
verses and sentiments of the patriotic anthem.

Penned by the late Leila Ross-Shier
in 1930, she sang it for years accompanying herself on guitar before it was
adopted as the National Song in 1993.

Despite the anthem being written 80
years ago the song still resonates.

In explaining
the concept behind the show, the curator said: “The lyrics from Cayman’s
National song are so poetic. They stimulate the senses and tap into memories
like the sweet juice of a mango, the sound of the waves, and the smell of
Cayman’s salt air.

“I wanted
Cayman’s artists to showcase their interpretations of the songs in a patriotic
celebration through art.”

Each artist regardless of the
medium used found interpreting the iconic words of the National Song an enriching
exercise.

Mikael Seffer
submitted 15 pieces and spoke about the diptych he and wife Renate produced
that is in the show.

He said: “Last
year we did a painting together and found the experience really amazing.  There seemed to be really good energy in the
piece so we thought for this exhibition we’d try it again and see what evolved.

“The concept
we thought about together – we wanted to create something related to the ocean
as we’re both so passionate about it. 

“Because our
styles are so completely different, it was a challenge combining the two in a
piece so that it blended effortlessly… 
We decided to partially resin this particular piece so that it would
highlight our different styles.  

“We really liked
the wording from the first chorus as we related it to how we feel when we’re
away for long periods of time and the longing to come home.”

Painter Dora Williams said: “The poetic words of the National Song portray the Cayman Islands
fully… When I was asked to paint with this in mind the words ‘palest emerald’
and ‘darkest blue’ kept coming back to me.

Other elements incorporated into her
paintings came from Cayman’s maritime history and include nautical knots, the
iconic imagery of catboats and a compass, which represents the Islanders’ sailing
expertise.

Photographer Patrick Broderick’s inspiration came
from his desire to reflect the gentler side of life in Cayman.

“I find that as I strive to
maintain inner harmony. I am able to see the beauty and serenity that is all
around.

“With this as a base and my belief
that you never truly attain anything unless you share; I find that with each
exhibition I grow… and am fuelled by knowing that through my works I have
assisted others in beautifying their walls and contributing to their inner
calm.”

He added that advancements in
digital imaging, the revolution of archival inks and printing processes and his
recent forays into the inclusion of oils and acrylics had allowed him to apply
added depth to his images in the exhibition.

For Miguel Powery the show
represents a return to exhibiting. Better known these days for jewellery-making
and sculpture, the show encouraged one of the founders of the artists’ group
Native Sons to capture the seafaring essence of his homeland on canvas.

“What inspires me is hearing my father
telling stories of those fishing trips he had to the Mosquito Kays just off the
Central American coast.

I love painting boats and the sea because
there is so much movement and the colours and always changing.

“Lately I have been painting our
local tropical plants and foliage, especially our Silver Thatch Palm which I
find challenging but rewarding.

For Christel Ibsen, the National Song was an opportunity
to indulge in her passion the “beauty and charms of Caymanian nature.

She said: “For almost a
decade, I have been inspired by the crashing waves on Seven Mile Beach. When
some years back I first heard the National Song, a chill went down my spine. It
was as if all along this beautiful ode to Cayman subconsciously had been
humming in my head while I was on the beach or in some tranquil grove painting.”

The show will
run until June 2010.

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