One of Cayman’s most controversial artists, Ronald “Foots” Kynes, has taken on gay rights and religion in his latest sculpture series, displayed on his property in Cayman Brac.
The four-sculpture installment features several nude women, some performing sexual acts, and religious iconography that has stirred controversy among Cayman Brackers.
Two of the works, “Eva in Eve” and “LGBT,” depict two women physically embracing. Mr. Kynes said the pieces are a tribute to gay rights and the right to choose.
“That is their choice who they want to be with, whether you are black, white, green or yellow … It’s a matter of choice,” Mr. Kynes said.
Another sculpture, called “ISIS, Islam’s Anti-Christ,” displays an upside-down cross adorned with skulls and the numbers 666. Mr. Kynes said the work is a statement against terrorism and extremism.
“You have a lot of good people in the Islamic religion, plain and simple.… But ISIS is the anti-Christ of the world. It is just pure evil and wickedness,” he said.
Some Brackers, like Island Realty’s Dalkeith Ebanks, have taken issue with the works. Mr. Ebanks said he believes the installation violates building codes, as well as the dignity of women.
Mr. Kynes’s property has long been the subject of legal debate, in part due to its designation as Land for Public Purposes.
“There is the planning law. If you put something like this in your lawn, you need planning approval,” Mr. Ebanks said.
“I just want this gone. All the preachers on the island have gone to the police station. They’ve got calls from residents here.”
He said police requested he start a petition about the artwork. Given the large number of Cayman Brac residents that work for the government, however, Mr. Ebanks said many would not sign a petition.
Attempts to address the matter through government have been similarly fruitless, he said.
“The district administration said they are waiting on the ministry, and the ministry says they are waiting for police,” Mr. Ebanks said.
In addition to the sculptures, Mr. Ebanks said he and other Brac residents who had been critical of Mr. Kynes’s work had themselves become the subject of publicly displayed ire by the artist. Mr. Ebanks’s name, alongside that of business partner and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell and other prominent residents, is featured on a “wall of shame” that compares several government departments to Nazi Germany.
“He got upset at me for speaking out against all of these different things, so he added my name, my wife’s name and my company name to the list,” Mr. Ebanks said.
Mr. Ebanks said he is embarrassed that tour guides will often drive visitors past the property to view Mr. Kynes’s work. Many of the sculptures and signs are visible from the road.
Mr. Kynes said he believes critics like Mr. Ebanks are a minority and that most visitors have enjoyed the pieces.
“You’d be surprised the people who come here and they have no problem with it,” he said.
“People drive by and yell ‘Yay, Foots,’ and give me a thumb’s up.”
He contended many critics misunderstand the point of his work and are reacting out of fear of the unknown.
Mr. Kynes described himself as a loner on the island, with a limited social circle.
“I’m basically a loner. I don’t get out much. I have a few people, the expats I deal with, and one or two Brackers,” he said.
“Each day I don’t leave the driveway, that’s a good day because I’m in my own world creating my art.”
He encouraged those with questions about his work to come to the property and analyze the pieces themselves.
“To know me is to understand me. To understand me is to know me. When people don’t understand something, by human nature, they become afraid of it,” he said.
Mr. Kynes is best known for his underwater dive-siteinstallation, “The Lost City of Atlantis,” and his apocalyptic themes.