For several months, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands worked for the Grand Opening event held on 1 February. Now open, the gallery has received generous compliments from those involved with the facility, who feel the entity will transform visual arts education in the Cayman Islands and provide additional resources for artists, school groups, families and visitors.
As such, the 9,000-square-foot facility is capturing the attention of the wider community.
One community group, the Cayman Islands Traditional Arts Council was given a special tour and lunch hosted by the gallery director, Natalie Urquhart. The purpose of the tour was to familiarise the group with the facility, to strengthen ties between the organisations and to encourage the islands’ artisans skilled in traditional techniques to become further involved with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and its programmes.
In an effort to cherish Caymanian heritage, works by many arts council members are on display in the National Collection including well-known artisans Carmen Connolly, Annie Joy Ebanks, Rose May Ebanks and Edney McLean – thus demonstrating the creative talent and hard work of traditional Caymanian artists.
Products made of silver thatch have also been incorporated in the Gallery Gift Shop as merchandise. Works by Lizzie Powell (who created an exclusive clutch purse collection for the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands) are must-have items and Mrs. Powell’s contemporary spin on a traditional art form is helping to bring awareness of the art form to younger generations.
“Artists often draw inspiration from their culture in the choice of subjects and materials used. The most striking examples are in paintings incorporating silver thatch as mixed media or using plaited thatch as a support,” said Eme Paschalides, National Gallery of the Cayman Islands education manager. “The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is working towards strengthening its relationship with Cayman’s traditional artists and currently displays works that are transformed from their utilitarian existence to the realm of fine art”.
The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands has noted its appreciation of the Cayman Islands Traditional Arts Council continuously supporting the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands at events such as [email protected] Governors, select exhibitions, courses and workshops.
The National Gallery is open to the public weekdays from 10am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm. For more information on the National Collection (comprised of works from the permanent collections of the National Museum, Cayman National Cultural Foundation and the National Gallery) contact the Gallery on 945-8111.