The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands’ latest exhibition will feature a collection of images by celebrated musician and author D. Randall Blythe titled, “From Whence We Came.” Drawing upon the John F. Kennedy quotation “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came,” it is a celebration of the artist’s deep visceral connection to the water and waves.
Blythe defines his craft as capturing those split seconds of beauty that constantly occur all around us, yet all too often quietly pass by unnoticed in today’s hectic world. Looking through the viewfinder of his camera, he attempts to step outside his own self to pay true attention to his surroundings. He says, “Photography is a method for becoming more aware of the world around me, and while I enjoy photographing all different sorts of landscapes and people, none catches my eyes as much as the sea and those who live by her.”
As a surfer, Blythe spends as much time as possible in the ocean, which he feels is the most protean landscape on earth. “She [the ocean] provides endless and constantly changing artistic subject matter,” he explains. “The variations of light, texture, and color that the sea provides are infinite. Shooting photos of the ocean and those who ride her waves is my attempt at artistically sharing that connection, and hopefully inspiring respect for that universal place “from whence we came.”
The exhibition is the third in the gallery’s photographic series that celebrates the medium of photography. It is also an important fundraiser for the organization with 100 percent of the sales of Blythe’s works being donated to the gallery’s collections and education programs. The exhibition and fundraiser is made possible by the generous support of The Mill Cayman. Director of the National Gallery Natalie Urquhart explains, “This beautiful series is an ode to the ocean, something we as islanders can deeply relate to. Ranging from the calm beauty of still seas to the immense power of waves in a storm, it is a true reminder of the awe-inspiring power of nature. We are delighted to feature Mr Blythe’s remarkable work and very grateful to The Mill Cayman for supporting the project.”
About the artist
Randall Blythe was born in Maryland and grew up in the coastal regions of Tidewater, Virginia, and Cape Fear, North Carolina. Accidentally becoming a photographer after initially purchasing his first camera for its video capabilities, he quickly discovered the work of the great French master, Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose philosophy of capturing “the decisive moment” has shaped Blythe’s approach to photography.
Blythe’s first exhibit, “Show Me What You’re Made Of” had a successful two month run in New York City’s Sacred Gallery. His work has been featured internationally in publications from Australia’s veri.live to America’s Rolling Stone. A published author, Blythe penned the best-selling memoir, “Dark Days,” and writes about music and culture for various outlets. He is the singer of the four-time Grammy nominated rock band, Lamb of God. When he’s not traveling the world, Blythe splits his time between Cape Fear, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia. Besides his wife, family, and friends, he loves the ocean more than anything else.
About the National Gallery
Established in 1996, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is the country’s leading visual arts museum and education center, charged with promoting and encouraging the appreciation and practice of the visual arts in the Cayman Islands. This mission is achieved through exhibitions, education/outreach programs, school tours, community festivals, and ongoing research projects.
Holding up to six exhibitions annually in the gallery’s central exhibition space, and satellite venues around Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands, the curatorial team strives to create a balance between exhibitions of quality Caymanian artwork with art from further afield. This is achieved by working with a broad cross-section of artists and ranging from site-specific work to more traditional gallery-based projects.
The gallery is at the forefront of visual arts education in the Cayman Islands hosting over 25 education and outreach programs monthly, across all three islands. These programs aim to capture every age group in the community from the youngest pre-schoolers to senior citizens, in addition to marginalized members of Cayman. They combine arts education with enriching creative experiences which foster creativity, help build self-esteem, and provide effective and invaluable explorations of culture, cultural heritage, national identity and community values.
The exhibition, ‘From Whence We Came,’ opens to the public on Saturday and closes on April 26. A special members’ reception will be held on Friday from 6-8 p.m. Blythe will also be hosting a free photography workshop for teens on Saturday. For more information on the workshop and other programs related to the exhibition, email [email protected] or visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.