Watercolor enthusiasts should mark their diaries for the Cayman Islands National Gallery’s latest exhibition, “A Legacy of Light,” which opens to the public on June 30.

The exhibition will feature a selection of works from the early collections of the National Gallery and the Cayman Islands National Museum.

Visitors will be able to take a trip down memory lane with paintings of traditional Caymanian cottages, many now no longer standing. Artwork by Janet Walker.
Visitors will be able to take a trip
down memory lane with paintings of traditional Caymanian
cottages, many now no longer standing. Artwork by Janet Walker.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to exhibit artwork that is rarely seen or to display popular works within a new format,” said Natalie Urquhart, gallery director.

The exhibition features works by many different watercolorists including Jane Walker, Joanne Sibley, Lois Brezinski and Debbie Chase van der Bol, alongside other artists who may have painted in Cayman only for a short period.

Featuring landscapes, seascapes and architectural studies, the exhibition follows on from the gallery’s current exhibition, “Native Sons – Twenty Years On,” showcasing work by Native Sons, a group of Caymanian artists who are recognized as being among the most prolific and respected artists in Cayman.

Urquhart said “Legacy of Light” will pay homage to Cayman’s cultural heritage and will celebrate Cayman’s unique natural environment.

“It’s a fitting show to host back-to-back with the ‘Native Sons’ exhibition as this was the type of medium – watercolor – that was prevalent before the group, and other contemporary artists, emerged in the mid-1990s.”

Indeed, according to Urquhart, few artists would experiment with different genres or subject matter before the mid-1990s due to a strong demand among collectors in Cayman for representational art, as well as a desire by local artists to capture the light and colors of Cayman’s landscapes, flora and fauna.

‘Caymanian House’ watercolor, by Debbie van der Bol.
‘Caymanian House’ watercolor, by Debbie van der Bol.

“Realism is a very popular genre in the Cayman Islands given its accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature,” Urquhart said. “Many of the scenes are instantly recognizable, such as Joanne Sibley’s ‘Fisherman at Hog Sty Bay.’ Importantly, many of the artworks feature traditional Caymanian cottages, many of which are no longer standing, so it offers an important vista into our heritage.”

Urquhart added, “Watercolor is a medium that has become synonymous with the early development of the visual arts in the Cayman Islands. As an art form capable of producing an astonishing variety of effects, from subtle atmospheric washes to brilliant tropical hues, it is perfectly suited to capturing the light and palette of the Caymanian landscape.”

The free exhibition runs until Sept. 23. For more details, visit nationalgallery.org.ky.

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