Visitors to paradise are keen to take some of that beautiful feeling home with them. Whilst memories can be eternal and photographs are wonderful memory aids, sometimes it’s the more tangible aspects of Cayman-ness (Caymanity?) that catch people’s eyes.
One place that visitors (and residents, of course) gather is art galleries, including Pure Art, which is as ever exhibiting plenty of works by local artists and artisans.
“Cayman items are often purchased for gifts by our residents and visitors alike who travel,” Debbie van der Bol says. “Examples are wooden trays (of my paintings of Cayman) with laminated art as designs; Cayman CDs of local music take our sound globally from Swanky to Barefoot or Hi Tide; Cayman art gifts range from photos or watercolours of Cayman as souvenir magnets to high end coasters or place mats with colourful Cayman scenes on them by local artists.
“I imagine a family in New Zealand or Hong Kong serving dinner on the place mats and realising how beautiful Cayman is. My prints alone have gone to five continents which I know of. They may be displayed in home or office, viewed by many who may see Cayman by them. The same applies through the original paintings and art sculptures which have such high quality creative and expressive views of the Cayman Islands,” she tells us.
It’s a small world and an art piece can lead to conversations about the Cayman Islands. In that context, Debbie says the pieces of art serve as ambassadors in their own right.
“Art pieces have gone to Japan, China, Europe, parts of South America, and a visitor from Russia buys our wooden cutting boards every five years or so. Other teachers and professionals have taken Cayman prints and art back (as gifts) to Ireland, the [United Kingdom], Scotland, Europe, and the Middle East, not to forget the [United] States and Canada, and of course the Caribbean.
“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the close relationship I have with my Cayman artists. I am continually e-mailing or phoning them for the upcoming month’s exhibitions, and they really are self-motivating and creating these fantastic paintings and sculptures for Pure Art to my continued amazement and appreciation.
“It is pure love of painting, for example, which inspires such wonderful paintings from Cayman catboats to grazing horses or sunny ocean views or brilliant poinsettia blossoms. An artist’s Cayman inspiration is always changing, so I appreciate locals often just coming to browse and often one views a painting they just have to purchase for home, office, or cottage,” Debbie says.
She says the art community here is continually inspiring as is the fact that these pieces, often to the surprise of visitors, are genuinely created here in the Cayman islands. Any final thoughts?
“I just wish our politicians would stop saying, ‘Nothing is made in Cayman, we produce nothing.’
“It really makes me wish everyone would help promote our local hand crafted/hand made gifts, household items, etcetera as well as our local art.
“We have really great artists, and can truly appreciate them daily.”