September 21, 2020

Duo featured in latest VAS “Artist of the Season” exhibition


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The latest Visual Arts Society of Cayman (VAS) “Artist of the Season” exhibition opening on Friday, June 8th at Watler House, Pedro Castle, features two distinct and different styles and genres of art. On display will be a collection of ceramic originals by long time potter Alan Darvill, as well as a series of paintings by up and coming artist Cira Bush.

According to VAS Chairman, Ivan Burges, “It is with great pleasure that the VAS has two artists for our upcoming “Artist of the Season” show. Watler House will be transposed into a real gallery offering guests a chance to view and buy the popular ceramic pieces of Alan Darvill, as well as being introduced to a relatively new painter, Cira Bush. Both artists offer a range of artwork which not only demonstrate their enormous talent, but prove that art can be affordable to everyone”.

Indeed, whilst many on the island are familiar with Mr.Darvill’s often whimsical pottery, as seen on display at the Lighthouse Restaurant or in his signature ashtrays he donates to the Human Society for fundraising, this is his first show on the island.

Eighteen years ago, Darvill came to Cayman, having had an adventurous life serving in the Royal Marines and as a successful shipping merchant. Along the way, he acquired 6 Guinness World records involving abseilling, sky diving and scuba diving, however, Mr.Darvill’s greatest passion actually rested in the arts, and having been given an original ceramic piece one Christmas 37 years ago, his “love affair with mud” began.

Not known for doing anything half way, Mr.Darvill then bought a book on building a pottery wheel and kiln, and immediately proceeded in building them. Over the next five years, he took a one week course with Master Potter John Solly learning how to throw clay on the wheel. He furthered his technique by taking a course with David Frith who specializes in Stoneware with green celadon glazes, and when he arrived in Cayman, he brought with him his wheel, gas kiln and some glazes and tools. Not content with this, Mr.Darvill then began working with earthenware, and later added Raku pottery to his repetoire. At present, Mr.Darvill has a studio containing two wheels, five kilns including a Raku kiln, on which he offers instructional classes.

As explained by Mr.Darvill, Raku is a type of Japanese pottery that’s traditionally used in the Japanese Tea ceremony, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is distinguished from the more traditional stoneware (a vitreous clay fired at high temperatures producing a glass-like effect) or earthenware ( a porous clay fired at a slightly lower temperature), because in Raku, clay is hand shaped rather than thrown, then fired at low temperatures and taken out of the Raku kiln whilst still hot achieving a unique effect. Employing all three techniques results in a broad selection of pottery items which are all on display in the VAS show.

Moreover, the beauty of the 30 one of a kind ceramic pieces on display lies not only in their physical attractiveness, but the fact that Darvill makes functional items, like teapots, wine coolers and candle votives. A piece of art is at once also an object of practicality and vice versa.

Complementing the ceramic objet d’art of Alan Darvill, is the debut collection of paintings by Cira Bush.

Ms.Bush is originally from the Dominican Republic but has been in Cayman since 1993. Although always very creative, it was not until she became friends with well-known Cuban artist Anet Leon and his wife, that Ms.Bush became inspired to take brush to canvas. Under Mr.Leon’s guidance, Ms.Bush began to experiment with colours and different materials, finally settling on oil and acrylic painting. She later enrolled in the National Gallery’s “Art Sisters” Programme, where under the tutelage of artist Lorna Reid, she furthered her technique.

Ms.Bush’s work is characterised by bright, vivid colours as exemplified by her paintings of Cayman fish and turtles. Her sea scapes on the other hand, illustrate delicate but defined brush strokes delineating fishermen on their catboats against a majestic and bold blue sea, as well as striking bursts of colours as is seen in her blow hole depictions. Any lover of Caymanian scenery will appreciate her many renderings of our natural habitat, which the artist herself says she strives ” to bring to life”.

Opening night of the VAS “Artist of the Season” exhibition and the opportunity to meet both artists is Friday, June 8th from 6pm to 9pm. The exhibition continues Saturday June 9th and Sunday June 10th, 12noon to 4pm, at Watler House, Pedro Castle.

For more information about the upcoming exhibition or the artists please contact: [email protected] or

VAS is currently accepting submissions for the next ‘A_r_t_i_s_t_ _o_f_ _t_h_e_ _S_e_a_s_o_n_’, deadline August 31st. If interested email: [email protected]

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