The Visual Arts Society’s latest “Artist of the Season” exhibition will feature two different artists working in completely different media. The exhibition opens today, Friday, 8 June, at Watler House in Pedro Castle.
Longtime potter, Alan Darvill will be displaying his collection of original ceramics and upcoming artist Cira Bush will be showing a series of paintings.
“It is with great pleasure that the VAS has two artists for our upcoming “Artist of the Season” show. Watler House will be transposed into a real gallery offering guests a chance to view and buy the popular ceramic pieces of Alan Darvill, as well as being introduced to a relatively new painter, Cira Bush. Both artists offer a range of artwork which not only demonstrates their enormous talent, but proves that art can be affordable to everyone,” says Ivan Burges, chairman of the Visual Arts Society.
Although some may be familiar with Alan Darvill’s often whimsical pottery, from the Lighthouse Restaurant or the signature ashtrays he donates to the humane society for fundraising, this is his first show in Grand Cayman.
Alan has not always been a potter: he once made a profession of being a daredevil it seems, having served in the Royal Marines and set six Guinness World Records for abseiling, sky diving and scuba diving.
True to his nature when his “love affair with mud” began, he built himself his own wheel and kiln and took a week-long course in throwing clay. From there he perfected his technique and added different materials to his repertoire, including earthenware and Raku pottery.
Alan will be exhibiting 30 ceramic pieces employing all these techniques at the show. He combines form and function, producing items such as tea pots and wine coolers, that have practical as well as aesthetic value.
“When I moved here 17 years ago, I brought with me my wheel and one gas kiln along with some glazes and tools,” he tells Weekender.
“Since then I have extended my studio to include two wheels, five kilns including the most recent Raku kiln that I have just finished building in readiness for the Visual Arts Society’s Raku event. I work mainly in earthenware, but occasionally I will do a kiln load of stoneware. Mostly my pieces are functional although every now and then I will make some nonfunctional pieces – just for fun,” he says.
The Cayman Islands, he says, has been great for the creative process.
“In earlier years, I have dabbled in painting – oils and acrylic – mainly to fill gaping spaces on the walls of my house. But since retiring to Cayman where I have been studying to be an accredited beach bum, I really have not devoted as much time as I would have liked, to potting or painting.
“However, my recent membership to the Visual Arts Society has rekindled the spark and I am now potting every week,” he says happily.
Complementing Alan’s ceramics is the debut collection of paintings by Cira Bush.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Cira has been in Cayman since 1993. Although always creative, it was not until she became friends with well-known Cuban artist Anet Leon and his wife, that Cira was inspired to put paint to canvas. Under Anet Leon’s guidance, Cira began to experiment with colours and different materials, finally settling on oil and acrylic painting. She later enrolled in the National Gallery’s “Art Sisters” Programme where, under the tutelage of artist Lorna Reid, she furthered her technique. Cira’s work is characterized by bright, vivid colours as exemplified by her paintings of Cayman fish and turtles combined with delicate but defined brush strokes. Any lover of Caymanian scenery will appreciate her many renderings of our natural habitat, which the artist herself says she strives to bring to life.
“Creativity is a wonderful gift,” she says.
“I like to experiment with colours and different materials to bring the painting alive. I have to be in the correct mood, ideas just come to my head and I just have to take a brush and paint.
“I formally trained on acrylics with famous Cuban artist Anet Leon, also with Lorna Reid at the Arts Sisters National Gallery programme,” says the Dominican Republic-born artist of her two inspirations.
The opening night of the exhibition runs from 6pm to 9pm and those who attend will have the chance to meet both artists. The exhibition continues Saturday, 9 June and Sunday, 10 June, from noon to 4pm, at Watler House in Pedro Castle.