Bendel Hydes catalogue donated to schools and libraries

A new generation will appreciate important local artist's work

The National Gallery's senior education coordinator, Maia Muttoo, presents the catalogue to students at the Lighthouse School.

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, along with lead project partners Susan Olde and the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, is presenting the Bendel Hydes Retrospective catalogue to district and school libraries across the Cayman Islands.

The 200-page, full-colour publication accompanies the large-scale exhibition currently on view at the National Gallery. It aims to present the most comprehensive survey of Hydes’ career to date, tracing his artistic legacy through early figurative drawing to the remarkable ‘luminescent’ abstractions of the last decade.

Known affectionately as the founding father of the contemporary art scene, Hydes was the first Caymanian to attend formal art school, the first to represent the Cayman Islands at significant art events such as the Sao Paolo Biennial and multiple Caribbean groups exhibitions, and the first to receive critical acclaim internationally.

“The importance of Hydes’ contribution to the formal development of visual art in the Cayman Islands cannot be overstated. Through this exhibition and accompanying catalogue we aim to honour that contribution and celebrate all that Bendel has achieved,” said exhibition chief curator Natalie Urquhart.

Drawing on multiple primary interviews with Hydes’ family members, friends and prominent collectors of his work, along with extensive archival research, the publication explores Hydes’ legacy through a detailed biography, essays, a career timeline and more than 200 artworks. It traces the stylistic evolution of his practice from early representational watercolours and traditional maritime scenes, through his quasi-surrealist, semi-abstract and expressive paintings of the mid-1980s and early 1990s and, finally, to the large-scale, all-over abstractions with which the artist is synonymous today.

Due to the support of the ministry and Olde, copies of the catalogue are being donated to local schools, as well as to district and service club libraries.

Speaking on the importance of the book, Olde said, “This career survey of Hydes’ artistic practice offers a thoughtful celebration of his remarkable legacy – bringing to life, in a definitive fashion, the singular vision of Cayman’s pre-eminent visual artist. It is perhaps impossible to overstate the significance of Bendel Hydes within the history of Caymanian art, and we are thrilled to present this catalogue to schools across the island in the hope it will inspire the next generation of artists.”

About the National Gallery
Established in 1996, the gallery is the country’s leading visual arts museum and education centre, 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 programmes, school tours, community festivals, and ongoing research projects. Holding up to six exhibitions annually at its central exhibition space and satellite venues around Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands, the gallery’s 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 more than 25 education and outreach programmes monthly, across all three islands. These programmes aim to capture every age group in the community, from the youngest pre-schoolers to senior citizens, in addition to marginalised members. They combine arts education with enriching creative experiences which foster creativity, help build self-esteem, and provide explorations of culture, cultural heritage, national identity and community values.

| The Bendel Hydes Catalogue is available for general purchase at the National Gallery Gift Shop. The exhibition runs until 30 Jan. 2020, with limited school tour bookings still available under the gallery’s Dart-supported Minds Inspired programme. For further information about the catalogue or to book a tour, email [email protected]
or call 945-8111.

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