The 17th Annual Arts and Culture
Awards Gala to honour contributions to the arts was held at the Harquail
Theatre on Friday, 22 October in front of a capacity crowd.
The evening, which was televised by
Cayman 27 and featured performances from an array of home-grown talent, started
off warmly with a serenade by the Cayman National Folk Choir. They were nearly
outdone by Premier Mckeeva Bush, however, as the politician, who is also known
for his singing, broke out into folks songs during his address to those on
Mr. Bush said it was his sincere
hope and challenge to the Islands’ musicians that some of the old time
Caymanian songs would be covered by the members in the Cayman Music and Entertainment
The Premier said, “When I was in
school, we did not learn Caymanian folk songs, but instead learned songs from
other Caribbean countries and only later did we find out that they were not our
own.” He added that this exercise of celebrating the works created in the Cayman
Islands over the years is an important part of Caymanians defining themselves
and their culture through the arts, which are the soul of any country.
Mr. Bush’s rendition of some of the
old-time classics was assisted by Aunt Julia Hydes, who helped lift the
celebration as well.
A message was offered on behalf of
the National Cultural Foundation Chairman Martyn Bould, who praised the development
of the arts over time and those who had worked to keep the movement alive.
“For the past 26 years, CNCF, with
the efforts of our hard-working and dedicated staff, volunteers and the
contribution of our board has carried out its mission of stimulating,
facilitating and preserving artistic expression generally, particularly the preservation
and exploration of Caymanian performing, visual and literary arts.”
He praised Miss Lassie’s paintings,
Swanky’s music, Al Ebanks and Horacio Esteban’s sculptures, Bendel Hydes’ art,
Leonard Dilbert’s poetry, Dance Unlimited’s dance, Aunt Julia’s drumming,
Cardinal DaCosta’s singing, Dave Martin’s Run Down, Frank McField’s plays, Roy
Bodden’s writings, Radley Gurzoung’s fiddle, the quadrille performed by youth
groups, adding that the list goes on.
CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo
said the programme had seen its fair share of economic cuts but pointed out
that they were continuing to make strides in all areas.
“However, we must not become
complacent and imagine that we can carry on producing at the rate we have been
without the necessary resources,” said Mr. Muttoo.
Those receiving awards on the
evening included Allan Veeran of the Save Miss Lassie’s House Committee, and
Government Information Services for their documentation of such undertakings.
A Heritage Cross – Gold award was
given to Julia Hydes, while a Heritage Cross – Bronze was awarded to Beatrice
Dilbert and Rita Estevanovich and the Bodden Town Heritage Committee, Anne
Goulden, Marie Martin, Samson and Mary McCoy, Raymond Scott Tibbets and Bernard
Tibbetts took home a Heritage Cross – Silver.
Also receiving a Heritage Cross –
Gold were Elridge Montgomery Albert Ebanks, Earl La Pierre and Marcia
Sponsor of the year went to the
Cayman Islands Film Commission and the Star for Creativity in the Arts – Silver
was awarded to Natalie Urquhart and the Star for creativity in the Arts – Gold
went to Luelan Bodden. Broadcaster
Rick Alpert, choreographer Howard Daley, choreographer/educator professor Rex
Nettleford and artist-teacher Samantha Pierre, all of whom passed away during
the year, were also honoured on the evening.