A new exhibition, “Mediating Self – Identity and the Body,” is on display at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. The exhibition, curated by Kerri-Anne Chisholm, draws on the permanent collections of the National Gallery, the Cayman Islands National Museum, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and private collections to investigate the ways the human form is used in artworks to think about identity.

The works highlight different aspects of our individual and collective identities, and spans a time line of more than 40 years of art production. Artworks in the exhibition include drawings, lithographs, watercolor and pastel on paper, paintings on canvas and board, sculptural works, photography and video installations.

Taking direction from traditional portraiture, the show considers the functions of the human body in artworks such as historical documentation, biography, memorial and identification functions. The artworks are grouped into two main categories: self-reflection and work and social life. Within these categories are further discussions of familial expectations and cultural and social practices, along with work and the evolution of careers and gender.

Ms. Chisholm, the gallery’s assistant curator, notes, “The way that we portray ourselves is a nonverbal statement. The human body expresses statements of race, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnicity. Our bodies communicate signals. Our dress choice, language and very presentation of our bodies actively express our sense of self. Within occupations, social and familial responsibilities, affiliations and expectations held we construct and navigate our identities. Multiple identities are necessary and are constructed both consciously and unconsciously.”

In the exhibition, visitors can find an education space designed for kids and families. The space includes videos on the history of portraiture from traditional oil paintings to modern digital selfies, interactive artworks, and a time line of significant artists and portraits from the early historical artists. The family space is designed to provide children of all ages with information which they can then use to engage with the larger exhibition.

The exhibition, which opened on June 30, closes on Sept. 21.

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

‘Looking Glass’ by Simon Tatum (2015)


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