Local artist featured in traveling exhibit

Local artist Simon Tatum, who is also an assistant curator at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, is one of 24 Caribbean artists included in a new traveling exhibit, “Arrivants: Art and Migration in the Anglophone Caribbean World.”

The exhibit opened at the International Museums Conference in Barbados, Nov. 7-10.

Mr. Tatum’s piece, “Tropical Forms,” is a three-dimensional construction of monotone paintings of legs, arms and other parts of the human form.

It was inspired by Mr. Tatum’s discovery, during a residency in Leipzig, Germany, that male Cuban contract workers had been sent to that city as temporary factory workers during the years of communist rule in East Germany.

The piece is meant to address issues of labor migration, belonging and displacement.

National Gallery director Natalie Urquhart said Mr. Tatum’s selection is one of the first successes of the gallery’s efforts to provide broader access to the local art community.

“We have been working hard to increase opportunities for Caymanian artists regionally for the past several years,” Ms. Urquhart said, “which has included inviting curators and leading Caribbean artists to the Cayman Islands to engage with our local art scene, as well as supporting network opportunities, residencies and artists exchanges.”

The National Gallery provided funding for Mr. Tatum’s time in Leipzig, as well as for a trip to Barbados, where he trained with exhibition curators and the installation team and met other artists in the show.

Other work featured in the exhibition includes recognized Caribbean masters such as Stanley Greaves, Aubrey Williams, Phillip Moore, James Boodhoo, Karl Broodhagen, Eddie Chambers and Ras Ishi Butcher, as well as a number of contemporary Caribbean artists.

Plans are now under way to showcase the exhibition in the United Kingdom, before exploring opportunities to travel the collection within the region.