Cayman artists to take center stage at Harquail

From left, prior recipient Anita Ebanks, Miguel Powery, Peter Kosa, Jessica Eden, Aston Ebanks, CNCF artistic director Henry Muttoo, Susan Howe, Minister of Culture Dwayne Seymour, Jean-Eric Smith, Mary Anne Kosa, Marcia Muttoo and Jennifer Ahearn, chief officer of the Ministry of Culture, at Monday’s press conference naming the 2018 Arts and Culture Award recipients.

Cayman’s arts community is taking the time to recognize some of its most talented artists.

The Cayman National Cultural Foundation announced its annual list of recipients Monday for the National Arts and Culture Awards, which will be distributed Thursday night at the Harquail Theatre.

Four people – Morgan DaCosta, Jessica Eden, Steve McField and Jean-Eric Smith, also known as Notch – were awarded Cayman’s Gold Heritage Cross.

Seven Cayman artists – Maureen Andersen, Susan Howe, Peter Kosa, Charles Long, Marcia Muttoo, Miguel Powery and Gordon Solomon – were awarded the Gold Star for Creativity.

Aston Ebanks received a Silver Star for Creativity. Kerri-Anne Chisholm earned a certificate for her work, and actress Mary Anne Kosa was given the Chairman’s Award in recognition of her service to the CNCF.

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Dwayne Seymour, Cayman’s minister of culture, presided over a press conference honoring the artists Monday and said he was proud to be a part of celebrating their respective crafts.

“The level of talent that exists in our community never ceases to amaze me, and that is certainly true of this year’s awardees,” he said. “Their passion for their craft – be it the performing or visual arts – is evident in the numerous accolades and honors they have received. Their successes are also a great influence on the wider community and inspire young and old to explore their own artistic expressions.”

Ms. Andersen was awarded her Gold Star posthumously, but the other artists will have a chance to be lauded in public at the Harquail Theatre on Thursday from 7-9 p.m.

Henry Muttoo, the artistic director for CNCF, proudly acknowledged that his wife Marcia is among the award recipients, but he said the awardees have all been chosen by their fellow artists.

“When you receive an award from the Cultural Foundation, you know there’s no favor,” he said. “You are peer reviewed. Your work is judged with the highest standards we can judge it with.”

The Arts and Culture Awards have been distributed for 24 years, and they have gradually become an opening act for Cayfest, Cayman’s national festival for the arts. The sixth annual Dress for Culture Day will be held on Feb. 23, and Red Sky at Night will close out Cayfest on March 3.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate the rich and vibrant culture of diversity that exists in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Seymour said. “It’s also a time to honor and celebrate those that have contributed their time and talent and creative expression to building our dynamic and thriving artistic community.”

Mr. Muttoo, who has been part of the Caribbean arts community for four decades, said it’s important both to recognize the local artists and also to include them among their regional peers.

“If you look at the whole Caribbean, it’s a people that have had to stitch together from disparate elements where they had nothing when they came here but fragments of memory,” he said. “We’ve created one of the most dynamic cultures anywhere in the world. Our music and our art influences huge countries that are a million times bigger than us. If you look at Jamaica right next to us, there’s nobody, politician or anybody in Jamaica whose name would be recognizable if you put it next to Bob Marley.”

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