An exhibit by Simon Tatum was formally opened at the Cayman Islands National Gallery by newly appointed Culture Minister Dwayne Seymour Thursday evening.
Mr. Seymour congratulated the local artist and said he was proud of Mr. Tatum, especially because he is a Bodden Towner like himself.
The contemporary exhibition titled “Looking Back and Thinking Ahead” features Mr. Tatum’s Memory Tank Series, consisting of 14 sculptures that resemble traditional Caymanian house graves. The tanks, filled with water, contain individually sculpted ceramic busts surrounded by arrangements of artificial flower bouquets.
“Each tank – although unique in its assemblage – functions with the same purpose, to memorialize the development of the Caymanian people though colonial influences, and encourage the discussion of Caymanian ideals through its post-mortem mementoes,” explained Mr. Tatum.
Mr. Tatum said he was excited to bring his University of Missouri project back with him and feature it at the Gallery. He hopes it can stay as a permanent feature so the Caymanian people can see it.
In addition to the tanks, Mr. Tatum’s exhibition presents a series of screen prints made from acrylic ink and graphite powder placed on newsprint. The photographs are sourced from the Cayman Islands National Archive, private collections and advertisement imagery used within various tourism pamphlets and magazines.
National Gallery Director Natalie Urquhart said Mr. Tatum is a remarkable young graduate and is inspiring to them at National Gallery.
Mr. Tatum completed his undergraduate degree in visual art from the University of Missouri this summer, and the exhibition draws from Mr. Tatum’s final project, as well as his experience participating in the Caribbean linked residency this past August in Aruba.
Thanks to the support from NGCI, he was able to travel and work in Aruba with other Caribbean artists, curators and residency staff, all influencing the works in his showcase.
Mr. Tatum’s work has been featured in several group exhibitions that include, “Open Air Prisons: Las Antillas para los Antillanos” at the LACE Gallery in Los Angeles, California; “Tidal Shift – Explorations of Caymanian Identity” at the National Gallery; and the “Caribbean Linked IV” exhibition in Oranjestad, Aruba.
His series “Discover and Rediscover” was the subject of a solo exhibition at the University of Missouri art gallery.
The exhibition at the National Gallery is open to the public until June 16