A fusion of Caymanian tastes, sights and sounds came together Saturday evening during Red Sky at Night, part of the fifth annual festival of the Cayman National Culture Foundation.
The final evening of Cayfest, a nine-day cultural celebration, showed off local performing and visual artists across five stages and an artisan walk that offered a visual treat at the F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre.
Stands of local foods, and workshops on Caymanian crafts such as catboat making and thatch plaiting, added to a well-rounded program that engaged all of the senses.
Speaking atop the center’s outdoor, second-level stage, emcee Rita Estevanovich described the evening as “ideal for those who know Cayman and are getting to know Cayman.”
Intermittent rain disrupted outside activities, forcing attendees to seek refuge inside the theater, where a program of local works took the stage. Cayman Islands Folk Signers danced and sang to fiddle music and wore traditional outfits that paid homage to the islands’ heritage.
Other theater performers included the Cayman National Choir and the Koalition dance group, which closed the evening of stage performances.
On the theater’s outdoor stage, festival-goers were treated to pop singer Shameka Clarke, calypso band Lammie and the final act, DJ Philipp Richter.
The mix of seasoned and up-and-coming artists on the Thatch Walk featured the islands’ diverse and active arts community.
Art collective 3 Girls and a Kiln joined the artisan market with ceramic and visual creations that captured Cayman’s island style.
“They’re all inspired by living here in Cayman. We really take inspiration from the things around us, from the people to the flora and fauna, and of course the ocean itself. Everything feels like Cayman,” said artist Aimee Randolph.
The collective, also including artists Claire Rohleder and Deborah Kern, has operated in Grand Cayman for four years.
First-year vendor Karen Samuels showed the international inspirations that influence Caymanian arts. Driven to develop her handmade beads and jewelry, Ms. Samuels sought out an online tutor in British Columbia to learn her medium. She now has a small jewelry business, Hands in Heart Artisan Jewelry, and has begun showing at events.
“I figured, why not let my hobby finance itself,” she said.
Regionally inspired creations included “Kyarrot Jooce” creative learning books by Cayman Prep teacher Karlene Buckle. The materials draw on local themes from the Cayman Islands and in alternative versions, Jamaica, to drive student development.
Carnival Nationz showed off its costume adaptations for Batabano, with bright and showy designs inspired by Cayman’s banana orchid, blue iguana and parrots.
Young artists with Splash of Cayman also shared their handmade wares, including tie-dye bags fashioned from re-purposed pillowcases. Jianne Wood said the experience was nerve-wracking but exciting for the Junior Achievement team, sponsored by Cayman Airways. Proceeds from their sales will go to the Cayman Islands Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.