Cayman’s maritime heritage subject of new exhibition

As the new National Gallery’s first temporary exhibition draws to an end, a new exhibition is being prepared.  

Founded Upon the Seas, is inspired by the maritime heritage of the Cayman Islands.  

“The history of our islands is inextricably linked to the sea. This is a story that everyone in Cayman has a connection to, a story of heroism, hardship, adventure, loss and most of all deep faith,” says Natalie Urquhart, gallery director and exhibition curator.  

Featuring paintings by artists Miguel Powery, Bendel Hydes, Gordon Solomon, Guy Harvey, John Broad, Randy Chollette, Conroy Ebanks and Christel Ibsen, flanked by first-hand accounts of life at sea from the National Archives’ oral history collections, Founded Upon the Seas celebrates this remarkable story and the men and vessels at the heart of it. 

The exhibition and accompanying programme schedule bring together several organisations in Cayman, including the Seafarers Association, the Cayman Islands National Archive, the National Museum and the Cayman Catboat Club. It was very important to the NGCI when creating this exhibition that they collaborated with the many individuals and entities already working to keep this part of Caymanian heritage alive. “There are so many excellent resources on this subject available to the community, many of which are underutilised, says Natalie. “Our hope is that the exhibition will encourage more interest in this remarkable story and that visitors will visit one the partnering entities to learn more about the subject.” 

The exhibition will last three months and during that time visitors will be able to view the works of art, experience a photographic exhibition with images from CINA, listen to firsthand accounts of life at sea by members of the Seafarers Association, learn about the history of the catboat, and enjoy interactive family activities based on the maritime theme. In addition, information will be provided on each of the partnering entities and their resources.  

The National Gallery has partnered with Butterfield Bank to put on this exhibition. Sheree Ebanks, Director and Head of Wealth Management at Butterfield, says, “As avid supporters of the arts we are excited and proud to once again partner with the National Gallery and lend our support to such an important exhibition.  

With much of our history and culture stemming from our maritime past we look forward to the communities reaction to these local artists’ unique and diverse works as we look to our seafaring past, present and future in the Cayman Islands.”  

Founded Upon the Seas opens for public viewing on 9 June.  


For further information on the exhibition and supporting exhibition and programme schedule call 945-8111. 

Randy Chollette piece

Once Upon a Time – Legends by Randy Chollette. From the collection of Desmond and Cathy Kinch.