The Cayman National Cultural Foundation on Friday will unveil local artist Horacio Esteban’s latest collection “Ce’Da’Art.”
Esteban, undoubtedly one of Cayman’s finest sculptors, was raised in Cayman Brac. Although best known for his work in the semi-precious indigenous stone, Caymanite, Esteban is also an accomplished wood sculptor and designer.
“Ce’Da’Art: one piece at a time” features works crafted from raw, reclaimed, fallen Cayman cedar wood (cedrela odorata), which is estimated to have been growing in the Cayman Islands for approximately 200 to 300 years.
“What really struck me was how remarkable and resilient the cedar wood is, just like our country,” says Esteban. “The growth on some of these trees started in the mid-to-late 1700s and they lived for about 100 to 200 years. The mortality rate was subject to climate change, drought and salt contamination due to hurricane impacts over time, but because Cedar is impervious to bugs, it has incredible longevity in its natural untreated state.”
The artist searches for raw cedar wood and then begins work in his studio. Studying one piece at a time for form and shape, he begins to assemble two- and three-dimensional animal sculptures and functional art.
Esteban creates the works in small, medium and large formats and frequently embellishes the sculptures with accent pieces of Caymanite, limestone, stainless steel, brass, bronze and glass.
Esteban’s inspiration to produce from this local material came when he was 11 or 12 years old. His industrial arts teacher, Edmond “Eddy” Scott, would often select certain students to accompany him on his Bluff excursions to collect local cedar. He would then use the material to be part of a classroom project with all of the students.
“He did the most incredible work – it was magical,” recalls Esteban. “He was my gateway to just about everything – woodwork, sculpture … I did Caymanite later, and I’ve found a way to make a living out of art here.
“For 40-plus years it seems I’ve waited for the right moment in time to pursue an archive of countless dreams and ideas, derived from the joy of carrying this awareness around for so long,” he says, referring to his latest collection.
“Ce’Da’Art” will have a private opening at the National Arts and Culture Awards ceremony on Thursday, followed by a reception for the general public from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Harquail Theatre.
The exhibition will be available for viewing in the main theater on weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until it is moved outdoors to be a part of an art installation at Red Sky at Night on Feb. 25.
For his body of excellent, inspiring work over a prolific and yet unfinished career of 40-plus years, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation will honor Horacio Esteban with the Artistic Director’s Visionary Award for 2017. The award will be presented to Esteban at the National Arts and Culture Awards on Thursday at the Harquail Theatre.
For more information about his work or the exhibitions, email Horacio at [email protected]