Art at the Airport beautifies Owen Roberts

'Cayman Panorama' by artist Shane 'Dready' Aquart being installed in the mezzanine of the Great Hall.

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands has partnered with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority for the Art at the Airport initiative, which has been developed by the Gallery to celebrate the reopening of the newly redeveloped Owen Roberts International Airport.

Art at the Airport precedes the launch of a formal airport public art programme, which is currently being developed by the partners. Situated across several areas of the airport, the inaugural displays are drawn entirely from the National Gallery’s permanent collection and past exhibitions, and include artwork by nationally recognised, award-winning artists and artisans.

“The new airport facility is now a world-class gateway for passengers to the Cayman Islands and our project is designed to further enrich the airport experience by providing visitors from around the world access to Cayman’s unique cultural life in a wide variety of visual art forms,” explains the Gallery Director, Natalie Urquhart. “Through excerpts of past National Gallery exhibitions, we have sought to explore key areas of Cayman’s visual heritage – maritime history, traditional thatch craft, architecture, and archival photography, as well as contemporary visual art. We hope to inspire visitors and engage them with our unique culture during their time in Cayman.”

The exhibition features pieces and excerpts from:

  • ‘Now & Then’ by Courtney Platt (Baggage Claim)

The popular photography series, which was developed by the National Gallery, the Cayman Islands National Archive and the artist in 2012, shows the Cayman Islands of the 1950s. The images merge scenes of the past with scenes of the present, side by side, and together they form a fascinating tapestry of an evolving society and industry.

  • Maritime Art from the National Collection (Greeting Hall)

This is an exhibition of reproductions of artwork from the National Collection, developed specifically for the unveiling of the new airport to honour Cayman’s intrinsic relationship with the ocean. Artists include Wray Banker, Gladwyn ‘Miss Lassie’ Bush, Randy Chollette, Chris Christian, Al Ebanks, Bendel Hydes, Charles Long, Miguel Powery, Brandon Saunders, Joanne Sibley, Gordon Solomon, Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, Simon Tatum and Janet Walker.

Art at the Airport board gives more information about the artwork for travellers.
  • ‘Cayman Panorama – Things That Exist Only in My Fading Memory’ by Shane Aquart (Great Hall)

A 105-foot-long survey of iconic Caymanian buildings, the vibrant images in this work capture Cayman’s landmark architecture in Dready’s signature style with pops of vibrant colour, irreverent humour and playful commentary. The popular series “wrapped” the Gallery’s Dart Auditorium Gallery in 2013.

  • ‘REVIVE – Caymanian Craft’ (Great Hall)

This exhibition, developed by the National Gallery in 2017, showcases samples of Cayman’s craft traditions. Works by celebrated craftspersons such as Marlena Anglin, Carmen Conolly, Annalee Ebanks, Annie Joy Ebanks, Deal Ebanks, Rosemay Ebanks, Horacio Esteban and Lizzie Powell sit side by side with contemporary craft makers and designers Isy B, Virginia Foster, Simon Tatum, and Kathryn Elphinstone to illustrate the ways in which local craft continues to evolve.

  • ‘Coral Tiles (Contemporary Anthropocentric Tile Design)’ by Kaitlyn Elphinstone (Great Hall)

The final exhibition features a single large format public artwork by Kaitlyn Elphinstone, who is one of 42 artists currently on display in the National Gallery’s Cayman Island Biennial exhibition. The digital collage is created from a combination of coral patterns and fretwork designs and comments on our intricate relationship with our surrounding landscapes. It was the only multi-site public art project submitted for the Biennial and can also be experienced in the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, the Little Cayman Museum, and at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport, Panama Canal Boat Launch, The Market Place and Brac Scuba Shack in Cayman Brac.

Maritime Art from the National Collection seeks to honour Cayman’s maritime history.

The Gallery’s Special Project Manager, Emerentienne Paschalides, is coordinating the project with National Gallery Director, Natalie Urquhart, and the curatorial team. Speaking to the selection process, Paschalides notes, “With the strong belief that public art reflects and reveals our society, we have selected a broad range of important key artworks, both traditional and contemporary, from representational to abstract styles and in a variety of genres and media, while remaining consistent with an overall theme.

“Seen collectively, these works begin to tell the story of our islands’ unique art history from past to present. It is the start of what we hope will be a long and creative collaboration with the airport that will provide multiple opportunities for artists moving forward.”

This initial showcase will be on display for several months while the Owen Roberts International Airport Public Art Programme is developed and launched.

“We are pleased to partner with the National Gallery in bringing local art to life at the airport to help enrich the experience of the travelling public,” says Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO, Albert Anderson. “This series, Art at the Airport, plays a special part in the grand opening of the newly redeveloped Owen Roberts International Airport and sets the stage for a wider visual arts initiative that is being developed [there] to feature both rotating exhibitions and permanent public art projects by some of the islands’ most acclaimed creators.

“We would like to thank the National Gallery and, in particular, Director Natalie Urquhart for her support and guidance in helping to bring our vision to reality for this exhibition and those that will be featured in the future.”

For more information about the exhibition, email [email protected] or visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

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