Ogier celebrates local artists

The first annual Ogier Art Award
culminated in a well-attended awards ceremony at Camana Bay on 30 June.

The event, which rounded out the
art competition and exhibition, was organised by Ogier law firm in partnership
with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and showcased the 40 pieces of
local art at Cassia Court.

The awards ceremony began with an
outdoor reception, which was animated by the music of the Swanky Kitchen band.
There was also an open bar and an assortment of hors d’oeuvres 

Ogier Partner Peter Cockhill and
Natalie Urquhart, director of the National Gallery, gave the winning
announcements and presented the cheques to the three prize winners.

Mr. Cockhill said that Ogier
planned to help elevate the status and opportunities for local artists by
having the annual award, and added: “I was pleasantly surprised by some of the
artistic investigations into Cayman-wide issues and identity. The collection
reflects the diverse and talented artistic spirit that resides in the Cayman Islands.” 

The award winners

The first place cheque of $5,000
was given to Theresa Grimmes for her painting titled West Bay Skyline. When
asked what the inspiration behind her piece was, she replied, “My drive to work
every day. I go past all these houses that I painted. So, I just kind of put
all the images together to make one painting from that.” When asked what her
plans were after winning the award she said, “I’m going to go home and do it

Robert McKendrick, who won second
place and $3,000, said: “I’m on cloud nine. This has never happened to me
before… to have a competition with over 40 artists and to win [an award]. I
still can’t believe it.”

The judges awarded Avril Ward third
place and $1,000 for a sketch of her Gestures sculpture. Ms Ward mentioned that
she would be mounting a solo exhibition in January.

Special mentions were given to
three artists for outstanding work: 
Joseph ‘Gumba’ Betty for Windows of Reflection, John Broad for his
innovative use of silver thatch in Catboat Race, and Rita Powell for her use of
video installation to explore human memory.

Emerging artists

As well as celebrating the winners
of the awards, the event also gave up-and-coming artists the chance to showcase
their work in conjunction with those of more established artists. 

A new face to the local art scene
is 18-year-old Sarah Bartell, who moved to Cayman last year from Portland,
Oregon, and took Advanced Placement art classes at Triple C School.

“My teacher and fellow students
were great to work with… as I adjusted to island life,” she said.

“My favourite piece [in the
exhibition] is [my] photograph of the lightning storm. We were flying home from
a summer trip when I saw the thunderhead out the window… I had never seen
anything like it in all my life. [it] looked like it was jumping from one cloud
to the next.” 

Michael Daley was another young
artist participant. Interested in art from a young age, he got serious about
his work when he took AS level art at Cayman Prep and High School.

“The Ogier Art Award competition
was the first event in which I presented art pieces. Hopefully during this
summer I will do some more,” he said.  He
also has plans to further his artistic skills at university.

“This year is certainly a pivotal
point in my life… I got accepted… at Savannah College of Art and Design, in
Savannah, Georgia, for the fall 2010,” he said. “I intend to major in a Bachelor
of Fine Arts: Architecture. [It’s a] great opportunity to expose myself to
different cultures and various styles of art.”

Mr. Cockhill expressed Ogier’s
gratitude for all the submissions and announced that the winning pieces would
shortly be hung in the law firm’s Camana Bay office.