The Cayman National Cultural Foundation has unveiled a Sponsors Plaque at the home of one of Cayman’s most famous visionary artists, Gladwyn K. Bush, fondly known as Miss Lassie.
A fourth-generation Caymanian, Miss Lassie never painted before age 62, but her home and works continue to make cultural history in these islands.
Miss Lassie died in 2003 at age 89. Her home was opened to the public in December 2012.
The plaque, which is a part of the Mind’s Eye project that resulted in the preservation of Miss Lassie’s home, acknowledges those who were instrumental in the restoration and conservation of the house.
“The plaque is our way of saying thank you to the many persons who helped us to get the project to where it is now,” Henry Muttoo, artistic director of the Cultural Foundation, said during the unveiling at Mind’s Eye on Saturday.
“Obviously we could not put all the names on the plaque, but what we have done is issued certificates to others who helped with renovations after the house was turned over to the National Cultural Foundation,” he said.
Mr. Muttoo said work on the Mind’s Eye project is ongoing.
“It is work in progress. It is an old house, over 135 years old and very delicate, so we have to continue monitoring and looking after it. The house is stabilized and the original windows with paintings have been removed and stored in a safe place. Keeping them there would have resulted in deterioration, so what we have done is replaced them with replicas,” Mr. Muttoo explained.
However, the original windows will be on display sometime next year, Mr. Muttoo said.
In the meantime, he said, the Cultural Foundation continues to receive sponsorships, which allows them to have schoolchildren visit Miss Lassie’s house for educational exercises. The tour encourages them to them to paint their own windows, write their own stories and learn about Miss Lassie and her works, he said.
In the near future, the house will also have a full-time caretaker on the grounds, he said, and a gift shop at the back of the property.
The gift shop will have “products of Miss Lassie’s works [and] the beach will be open to come and relax and see her works,” Mr. Mutto said.
The cultural treasure of Miss Lassie’s property was acquired with the support of the Cayman Islands government. Minister of Culture Osbourne Bodden, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush were among those at the ceremony.
Miss Lassie was a recipient of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Heritage Award and Queen’s honours. Her work is documented in the book, “My Markings… the Art of Gladwyn K. Bush,” published by the Cultural Foundation.
Miss Lassie’s work is in private collections in England, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, Germany and the Cayman Islands.