May 14, 2021

Cayman Islands Ministry of Culture supports growth of the National Art Collection

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The Ministry of Culture has supported the expansion of the National Art Collection at the National Gallery through the acquisition of five artworks. Each artwork is by a significant Caymanian artist, working in a contemporary context.

When asked about the acquisition, Minister for Culture Hon. Dwayne Seymour said “As Minister for Culture, I am delighted that we have been able to help acquire these important pieces for the National Art Collection. The five artists are masters of their craft and these particular pieces are works of the finest calibre.”

As part of the National Gallery’s (NGCI) acquisition strategy, significant works of art by Cayman artists are identified annually by the NGCI’s Collections & Exhibitions Committee with the hope that sponsorship will be secured to acquire the work for the National Art Collection. Work is selected based upon: the significance of the artist, the standard of work, the significance of the work in an exhibition capacity, and popular appeal (works that has received strong positive public feedback).

Four of the artwork selected for this donation are by preeminent Caymanian artists: Native Sons’s Wray Banker, Al Ebanks, Horacio Esteban, along with Aston Ebanks. The fifth is by the talented emerging artist Brandon Saunders, whose piece entitled Osiris was the breakout work in NGCI’s 2017 Upon the Seas exhibition. “Each of these artists is working in a wide range of media,” says NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart. “Their work is a vehicle through which to bring attention to our cultural heritage in new ways, to challenge existing borders, and to begin articulating new meanings for contemporary Caymanian identity in the 21st century. They are all excellent examples of the highly skilled, critically engaged work that is being practiced by our contemporary artists.”

NGCI Chairperson and Collection & Exhibitions Committee Chairperson Susan A. Olde, OBE said, “The National Gallery is honoured to receive these works in trust for the people of the Cayman Islands and we wish to extend our sincere gratitude to the Hon. Dwayne Seymour, Minister for Culture for his foresight in supporting the growth of the National Art Collection. Budget constraints have limited acquisitions historically, and this support has ensured that these five works of national significance remain on island and publicly accessible now, and for future generations.”

The National Art Collection is on display in the NGCI’s Upper Gallery. It is open from Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm, and closed on Sundays and Pubic Holidays. Admission is FREE. For further information call (345) 945 8111. Or view the collection electronically via NGCI’s Virtual Tour of the Upper Gallery at https://www.nationalgallery.org.ky/visit/ .

IMAGE:

Caption: Front row (l-r) NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart, Hon Dwayne Seymour, Minister for Health, Environment, Culture, and Housing, NGCI Chairperson Susan A. Olde, OBE and artists Brandon Saunders. Back row (l-r) Artists Wray Banker, Al Ebanks, Aston Ebanks and Horacio Esteban.

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About the National Gallery’s Collection
The National Art Collection at the National Gallery traces the historical and artistic journey of the developing Cayman Islands and tells the story of our people. Loosely assembled by decade, it begins with the visionary markings of intuitive artists like Gladwyn “Miss Lassie” Bush, and moves on to the work of the early realist painters who sought to capture the picturesque tropical island paradise before concluding with the more critically engaged, multi-disciplinary work that the islands’ contemporary artists are generating.

The collection forms the basis of NGCI’s principal schools’ education series ‘Minds Inspired’, supported by Dart Cayman, which uses artwork to provide cross curricular learning tours based on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) subjects along with literacy, Caymanian history and maritime heritage.
The National Gallery welcomes donations from anyone interested in supporting the future acquisition of local artwork. In addition to helping the institution secure art for the collection, funds also contribute to NGCI’s collections-based public education programmes, artwork conservation and related research projects. NGCI need’s your help to ensure that the collection continues to grow and to inspire visitors long into the future. For further information please contact [email protected] or visit our website, www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

About the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Established in 1996, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) 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 our central exhibition space, and satellite venues around Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands, the 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.
NGCI is at the forefront of visual arts education in the Cayman Islands hosting 25+ education and outreach programmes monthly, across all three islands. These programmes aim to capture every age group in our community from the youngest pre-schoolers to senior citizens, in addition to marginalised members of our community. They combine arts education with enriching creative experiences which foster creativity, help build self-esteem, and provide effective and invaluable explorations of culture, cultural heritage, national identity and community values.

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