The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands’ latest exhibition series celebrates Cayman’s maritime identity – past present and future.

Seeking to engage visitors with the story of maritime heritage and national identity, the program runs until April 20.

Artists

The project begins with a collection of maritime-inspired figurative work by local artists. On display in the Community Gallery, “Saltwater in Their Veins,” pays tribute to the men who went to sea and to the vessels they sailed. Works by John Broad, Randy Chollette, Capt. Charles “Chuckie” Ebanks, Horacio Esteban, Freeby, Miguel Powery, Saba, Alexandra Simonova, Gordon Solomon, Suzy Soto and Monte Lee Thorton highlight stories of courage, hardship, heroism, determination and faith.

The second part of the series, titled “Upon the Seas,” takes a contemporary look at Cayman’s evolving relationship with the ocean. Artists included in this series are Shane Aquart, David Bridgeman, John Broad, Chris Christian, Bryony Dixon, Al Ebanks, Davin Ebanks, Kerwin Ebanks, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Jamie Hahn, Bendel Hydes, Capt. Kem Jackson, Chris Mann, Elena McDonough, Yonier Powery, Courtney Platt, Brandon Saunders, Simon Tatum and Avril Ward.

Working from a variety of perspectives – historical, cultural, economic, and ecological – as well as a variety of mediums, the works offer thought-provoking insights, and the entire program challenges viewers to become active participants.

Respecting the ocean

Gallery director and curator Natalie Urquart explains, “As islanders, our national identity is intrinsically tied to the surrounding ocean. Historically, it provided our primary means of sustenance and economy, while in recent years we have come to rely on a maritime-based tourism industry and the seaborne importation of our food and goods.

“The ocean is a realm of potentiality and a place of exploration, loss, and salvation. We are thrilled to launch this exhibition series and look forward to upcoming discussions and further explorations.”

Education and outreach

The exhibition series is being held in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association, the Cayman Catboat Club, and the Cayman Islands National Archive.

Programs associated with the exhibition, curated by Natalie Urquhart and sponsored by Butterfield, include family fun days, film screenings, lectures, site visits, art workshops and school tours.

Education initiatives will also include a community outreach program where gallery educators will visit school-aged children throughout the districts to discuss maritime heritage and culture and work on maritime-themed art projects.

For more information about special lectures, workshops and family programs related to the exhibition, visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

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