National Gallery unveils public sculpture

“Adjacent,” Davin Ebanks’s 8-foot onyx and glass sculpture representing Cayman’s iconic catboat, has been unveiled at the entrance to the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. 

The sculpture represents two half-models of the catboat standing upright and intersecting to symbolize the bow and the stern of the vessel – connecting the historical and contemporary cultural environments of the Cayman Islands.  

Mr. Ebanks, who is from Cayman, is Artist in Residence at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, in the United States. He was among the six finalists of 20 artists in the competition, a joint effort last year of the National Gallery and with the Water Authority-Cayman. 

Natalie Urquhart, the National Gallery’s director and curator, said the gallery was thrilled to unveil the important piece of public art which stands as a permanent celebration of the island’s maritime heritage. 

“Davin’s piece aims to blend past and present Cayman by drawing a half-model form of a traditional Caymanian catboat – an iconic shape that will resonate across all members of the community – and reworking this as a minimalist concrete and glass sculpture,” Ms. Urquhart said. 

“Public art plays an important role in society and is often a forum through which to express a country’s unique iconography. Importantly, by bringing artwork ‘outside’ the traditional walls of an art museum and into the public domain, it makes the work accessible to the public at all times,” she added. 

Mr. Ebanks received $10,000 in prize money and financial assistance from the Water Authority for the project’s production and installation. 

The jury, in making its selection last year, noted in particular that the sculpture manages to be striking without being overpowering and is “current yet timeless in its appeal.”  

“In a pure, simple design, the artist has shaped a time-honored symbol of Cayman culture – the catboat – into an ageless piece which is both reflective and progressive in theme and form,” Eme Paschalides, culture project manager at the gallery, said earlier this year. “This avant-garde sculpture will continue to speak meaningfully about Cayman’s past and Cayman’s future and will be an inspiration for generations to come.” 


Sculptor Davin Ebanks, center, with collaborators Nathan Weinbaum, left, and Steven Durow unveil their statue Tuesday evening in front of the National Gallery. – PHOTO: CHRIS COURT

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