An artist she is.
Manuela Dack was asked to be part of the Persistence of Memory exhibition at the National Gallery, so she produced a piece inspired by her latest fashion collection.
“The concept for both my collection at the exhibition piece investigates garments that are handed down generations and the memories connected with those,” she says. “I have produced a fabric, resin, glass and canvas installation piece for the exhibition.”
Progressing from that work, she chose to look back at her own memories associated with water and colour.
“My new fashion collection, which I am working on simultaneously, is inspired by Cayman, in particular the period I spent growing up here and moments that I feel were key to my own personal creative development,” she says. “I have been fascinated by water, specifically the light, colour and layering created, for as long as I can remember and the influence of this is evident throughout my work.”
Cayman youth revisited
“I think growing up in Cayman and being surrounded by artists such as Bendel Hydes and Ed and Barbara Oliver, and working alongside them – I worked with Bendel on his Star Marker project and spent many afternoons at Ed and Barbara’s house and workshop – still influences my work today,” she says.
“I also vividly remember my dad taking me to meet Miss Lassie when I was really young and her letting me paint on her wall,” she adds. “I thought having walls you could paint on was really wonderful.”
Those experiences had a major impact on the way she works.
“They were all doing things in quite a different way even back then, working with installation and found materials, which gave me a fresh perspective on art, and is perhaps part of the reason why I moved into fashion,” she says. “Fashion is largely just art installation on the body – the two are not really that far apart.”
While at university she worked with Hussein Chalayan, a London-based fashion designer whose work is famous for crossing the boundaries into art.
“This really gave me an insight into how the two can work together and the importance of informed, intelligent aesthetic decisions in fashion and art,” she says.
The exhibition is on view at the National Gallery, Harbour Place.