Get dressed for culture, Cayman

Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts, Cayfest, is upon us once more and there is a series of events coming up that celebrate the culture of the Cayman Islands. 

Famously, Cayman is a melting pot of many different nationalities, over 100 working and living together on this two-by-four island. 

And to acknowledge this, explains Lorna Bush of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, the Dress for Culture Day takes place on Friday, 22 February. 

“The Foundation hopes to demonstrate that there is a virtual kaleidoscope of culture co-existing and working together in the Cayman Islands and that indeed there are many commonalities that should be embraced and appreciated,” explains Lorna. 

“There can be any number of variations to Dress for Culture Day depending on the type of business or organisation. Participants can show expressions of their culture in various ways, for example by wearing their national colours, or an item that demonstrates something specific and special to their culture, like Canadians with the game of hockey.  

“It could be something as simple as a tie in national colours, or decorating a section of the workspace to show the various cultures represented in the organisation or by sharing culinary delights from the country of origin,” she tells us. 

The ultimate aim of course is to raise funds for the youth programmes of the Cultural Foundation. Donations from staff and businesses help to raise this to showcase the fact that all cultures are working together for the benefit of Cayman culture in general. 

Dress for Culture Day was first held in May 2012. The dress up / dress down fundraiser highlights the virtual kaleidoscope of cultures that co-exist and work together in the Cayman Islands, and confirms our commonalities which can be embraced and appreciated. 

Cayman Free Press took part in 2012 with many dressing up plus a very successful bake sale which brought together delicious goods from around the world, explained marketing supervisor, Anne Guerrero. 

“Many of the staff dressed in something from their home country including rugby shirts, a sari and a Union Jack Dress. Members of staff baked something from their place of origin.  

“We had sausage rolls and HP sauce from England, Baleadas from Honduras, banana bread, chocolate éclairs, scones and jam and a whole host of world goods that we learnt the names and tastes of. 

“We’re doing it again this year and everyone is ready to outbake the other!” 

In the case of an office, decorating a section of the workspace with photos and mementos or sharing culinary delights to show various cultures represented in the organisation is a great way to celebrate. 

The foundation suggests donations of $3 for students and $5 for adults and many businesses and organisations have already become involved. 


Arts Awards set 

On Thursday, 21 February The National Arts and Culture Awards are given out. 

These recognise those who attain a level of merit in their artistic discipline, contribute to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands and support the work of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. The awards have undergone a change both in eligibility requirements and the physical award. 

What were previously The Cultural Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award (Radley Gourzong Award) and Cultural Heritage Award are now The Cayman National Cultural Foundation Heritage Cross Medal. The awards previously given for artistic endeavour, achievement and excellence are now The Cayman National Cultural Foundation Star for Creativity in the Arts Medal. Each medal has gold, silver and bronze divisions. Cayman National Cultural Foundation Artistic Director Henry Muttoo designed both awards. 

“[The Awards are] to acknowledge, thank and laud our artists, culture makers, sponsors and volunteers who weave their individual strands of creativity into the whole thatch plait, that identifies us as a community,” Henry tells us. 


Invitational awards 

Awards are also presented for Volunteer of the Year, Sponsor of the Year and the Chairman’s Award for outstanding long-term support of Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s work. The awards ceremony is a Cayman National Cultural Foundation initiative that began in 1990. 

The event takes place at Grand Old House and begins at 7pm. Entry is by invitation only. 

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