An extension of the National Gallery’s Cayman Islands Biennial exhibition – ‘Cross Currents’ – was formally opened at the Little Cayman Museum by Governor Martyn Roper and his wife Elisabeth Roper on March 15.

This latest showcase is a continuation of the partnership between the gallery, the Little Cayman Museum and the Cayman Islands Legacy Fund. The relationship enables the gallery to continue its commitment to making art and art education as accessible as possible by travelling exhibitions regularly from Grand Cayman to venues in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

‘Cross Currents’ replaces the inaugural travelling exhibition, ‘Coral Encounters: Photographs from Our Underwater World’, which has now moved to Cayman Brac where it is on display at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort.

The Biennial Project, which is supported by Butterfield, seeks to showcase the very latest developments in the contemporary art scene every two years and is conceived as a multi-venue project in which exhibitions, public art, and programming take place across all three islands simultaneously.

Following an open call for participation and a rigorous juried process, 42 local artists were selected for the Grand Cayman element of the exhibition, which opened on Feb. 8 at the National Gallery’s main venue. Works selected for both sites include a wide variety of media: from painting, photography and video, to collage, textiles and sculpture. A further seven artists were selected for the Little Cayman extension: Davin Ebanks, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Paige Jordison (emerging artist category), Kathryn Elphinstone, Jeremy Walton, Julie Corsetti and Claire Musser.

Honouring tradition while reinvigorating historical themes, the 40 participants in this year’s Biennial each represent, in their own distinct way, different approaches to the question “What is contemporary Caymanian art?” with the Little Cayman Museum artists specifically addressing environmental and marine themes. Through their innovative use of new media and techniques, as well as their engagement with timely social, political and environmental concerns, the artists in ‘Cross Currents’ offer a window into contemporary art-making on these shores.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Little Cayman Museum and to travel an element of ‘Cross Currents’ to the Sister Islands,” says Gallery Chairperson Susan Olde. “This landmark exhibition represents a diverse survey of the best and brightest contemporary artists in Cayman and is a true watershed moment for the islands’ burgeoning art scene.

“Just as the National Gallery has entered its third decade, this exhibition reflects the growing maturity and sophistication of contemporary art in the Cayman Islands, as well as the crucial role played by [the gallery] in supporting the arts, both through the institutional platform it provides for creative practitioners to showcase their work, as well as through the ongoing opportunities it offers to both young and established artists to develop their careers, both locally and abroad.”

Speaking about the partnership, Director of the Cayman Islands Legacy Fund, Michael Tibbetts, says, “The Little Cayman Museum is pleased to celebrate the ongoing collaboration with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, of which [Linton Tibbetts] was also a supporter, to display a rotating series of exhibits from the National Gallery’s collection. The current exhibition is a part of the larger exhibition ‘Cross Currents’ shown at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. The artwork tells the stories of the artists and their relationship and experiences with the islands, in the past and present.”

Each exhibition is designed with related programming ranging from school tours to workshops, lectures and screenings, along with pop-up art classes in Little Cayman. Entry to these programmes and the exhibition will be free of charge.

About the Little Cayman Museum

The Little Cayman Museum exists to preserve and protect Little Cayman’s cultural heritage for the enrichment of present and future generations. In support of this mission, the museum collects, conserves and interprets artifacts, documents, and published materials related to the history of Little Cayman. The museum has grown out of the personal collection of Linton and Polly Tibbetts. Linton Tibbetts, known to many as “Mr. T,” appreciated the importance of preserving the Sister Islands’ cultural heritage.

Governor Martyn Roper, centre, formally opens the ‘Cross Currents’ exhibition at the Little Cayman Museum, with Tanja Laaser, Little Cayman Museum Manager, left, and Natalie Urquhart, National Gallery Director, right.

In 1997, he opened the original Little Cayman Museum and in 2009 opened the Little Cayman Maritime Museum honoring the island’s seafaring heritage. Giving tours of the museums was one of Mr. T’s great joys, and he deeply appreciated the necessity of both preserving and transmitting his Caymanian heritage.

The professionally curated displays combine the collections of the previous Little Cayman Museum and the Maritime Museum, boasting five galleries interpreting Little Cayman’s people and culture, as well as safe and secure storage for the growing collection.

For a full list of the exhibition schedule in Little Cayman, email [email protected] or visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

The museum is open from Monday to Thursday from 1:30-4 p.m.; on Fridays from 2-5 p.m.; and on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For appointments outside of the opening hours, call 925-7625. Admission is free but donations to maintain this non-profit organisation are highly appreciated.