Artist’s latest works outrage Cayman Brackers

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.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. What Foots is doing is ART. and many Brackers enjoy his work even though we will agree that it is controversial it does not mean that there is anything wrong or illegal about it. I have taken numerous visitors to Foots Gallery and property and not one has been offended by his work and interpretation, in fact they all rave about it. I have seen the same type of artwork displayed here in Grand Cayman at the National Gallery and I am not hearing any uproar about that. I have also seen many Government Ministers and high ranking civil servants at the National Gallery enjoying and publicly commenting on the standard and diversity of the work. So why should the Brac be any different.

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    • Marcel , how many citizens of the Brac agree with his Art work ? And how many disagree with it ? I know that Art is way of expression , but sometimes that message can be be shown in a different way . We have to remember that the Artist opinion is not everyone’s opinion about subject .

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  2. Mr Kynes , said he’s basically a loner I believe it , but how can he say that Mr Ebanks are a minority, , what makes the loner think he’s anything different . He should be made known that Cayman Brac is not his world , and the Islands are governed by Laws , and he should keep his Art work in closed inside if he’s not sure that everyone would love it or hate it .

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  3. Mr. Ebanks is correct in that the majority of the people of Cayman Brac is appalled by his latest “artwork.” Why don’t the Cayman Compass show his “artwork” if it’s so wonderful? You didn’t even tell people what it was. It’s disgusting and to imagine that taxis are driving by showing children this disgusting thing. It’s pornography. Foreigners think they can come here and do whatever they want: bring in firearms and bullets, pedophiles living in tents, and now this washed up man that just want to show is finger to the people who welcomed him. People like them are the reason that Caymanians are getting fed up with expats. Even the expats in Cayman Brac don’t like him. Almost all of the Brackers work for Government so they won’t say anything.

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    • ‘Even the expats in Cayman Brac don’t like him.’ Really? I thought their only issue was Foots was that his presence might impact their property values – isn’t that also why they’ve consistently opposed any kind of tourism development along that coastline? Fact is that the majority of ex-pats who own property in that area aren’t even residents.

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  4. This is a classic example of a few people fearing what they don’t understand.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting to Foots. Whilst I don’t particularly agree with some of his views and certainly don’t understand some of his work I respect him as an individual and also respect his right to do things that a minority might object to. The fact is that most people on the Brac regard him as a local character or a harmless eccentric. This is a complete non-story.

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