July 3, 2022

Cayman Islands: Blurring the boundaries between craft and art

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From The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands Opens REVIVE! – Celebrating contemporary and traditional craft from the Cayman Islands.

7 October 2017 – 11 January 2018.

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) presents a new exhibition titled,REVIVE! – Celebrating contemporary and traditional craft from the Cayman Islands. The exhibition showcases the best in Caymanian craft and features over 50 artists from all six districts. Works include a diverse range of objects by makers who are using traditional and cutting-edge techniques across diverse practices including: basketry, ceramics, textiles, fibre, paper, glass, metal, and wood craft.

Urquhart explains, “Craft has a long tradition in the Cayman Islands. Initially born out of necessity, functional crafts soon became highly decorative, evolving into our earliest tangible forms of creative expression. Today, the boundaries between craft and art continue to dissolve. Where thatch baskets were once purely functional, Caymanian artisans have begun to experiment with forms and decoration. This exhibition seeks to explore our evolving traditions and to connect our young people to these remarkable artforms.”

Many of the featured artists seek to maintain and revive longstanding traditional forms, while others combine age-old techniques with modern materials. “The connecting thread is that all of the featured work involves the hands of a maker – at their very root the works of art are about process, technique and material,” adds Urquhart.

Running in conjunction with REVIVE! is a solo exhibition by acclaimed sculptor and artisan Horacio Esteban, featuring the artist’s new series of three-dimensional works carved out of reclaimed Cedar wood. The collection includes both sculpture- large insects, birds, and an elephant – along with functional items, again blurring the boundaries between art and craft.

Through REVIVE! the National Gallery will create a platform for discussions about the role that craft plays in our society and illustrate the ways in which Caymanian traditions continue to evolve in the 21st century. In addition to the objects on display there will be literature highlighting the individual artisans as well as the agencies like the Cayman Traditional Arts Council and Cayman Traditional Arts – who are working to preserve our traditional artforms. The extensive education programme accompanying the exhibition will include craft workshops, panel discussions, tours, and special events.

The temporary exhibition, REVIVE! – Celebrating contemporary and traditional craft from the Cayman Islands opens to the public Saturday, 7 October 2017 and runs until January 2018. A special Members’ Reception will be held Friday, 6 October 2017 from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. For more information about memberships, special lectures, workshops and family programmes related to the exhibition, visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

Featured artists (grouped by district): Marlena Anglin, Wray Banker, Sue Brooks, Carlene Carter, Deal Ebanks, Effie Ebanks, Erna Jane Ebanks, Rose May Ebanks, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Horacio Esteban, Marcie Ann Hydes, Len Layman, Miriam Muirhead, Maryke Nieuwoudt, Lizzie Powell, Nasaria Suckoo Chollette, Cecilia Urdaneta (West Bay); Geetha Alagirisamy; John Bird, Rachel Christ, Danswell Davidson, Davin Ebanks, Kathryn Elphinstone, Dinah Green, Jose Inga, Keith Neale, Karoly Szucs (George Town); Alan Darvill, Virginia Foster, Francine Gardner, Maureen Lazarus, Agnes McCoy, Eileen McLaughlin, Janice “Nurse Josie” Solomon, Stalin Webster, Marcie Wood, Doreen Small, Simon Tatum, Twyla Vargas (Bodden Town); Iva Adene Chisholm Panton, Cynthia Whittaker (North Side); Vernet Bodden, Carmen Connolly, Darney Edney McLean, Bridget McPartland, John McPartland, Grashala Solomon (East End); Vernell Brown, Annelee Ebanks, Annie Joy Ebanks, Coleen Gibson, Norma Scott, Starrie Scott, and Debbi Truchan (Sister Islands).

IMAGE: Calabaza by Cecilia Urdaneta. Courtesy of the National Gallery.

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