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New National Gallery book offers an overview of Cayman Islands’ art

small-copy_larissa-montoya-berry-and-susan-a-olde small-copy_ngci-collections-guide-group-photoThe National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) has released a beautiful fine art publication which offers the first comprehensive survey of visual art in the Cayman Islands, as seen through highlights from the NGCI’s permanent collection. The book, entitled The Art of The Cayman Islands – A Journey Through the National Gallery Collection, is fully illustrated with works by over seventy local artists with accompanying essays, artwork descriptions and artist biographies.

The publication traces a historical and stylistic journey that begins with the visionary markings of intuitive artists such as 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. This overview, which also functions as the gallery’s first collection guide, features essays on the history of art and the story of the National Gallery and its Permanent Collection.

Published by Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. who specialise in producing books for museums, galleries, libraries and heritage organisations around the world, the book has been written and developed by NGCI Director and Chief Curator, Natalie Urquhart and made possible with the support of NGCI Chairperson, Susan A. Olde, OBE. It has been designed to appeal to a wide range of readers, from those already familiar with Cayman Islands visual art and cultural heritage, to newcomers to the Island and art scene, and to schools students across the Cayman Islands. “One of our main motivations for developing this guide was to help connect students to their cultural history, as well as the works of art in the NGCI’s collection. The artwork tells this story through beautiful depictions of maritime heritage; thatch and craft work; our architectural history and the natural environment; and more recently, works which explore some of the more challenging social and economic concerns effecting our community today. Combined with online teaching resources that will be available for download on our new website, we hope it will serve as an invaluable teaching tool for schools across all three islands,” says Mrs Urquhart.

Accordingly, NGCI will be distributing free copies of the publication to all schools, libraries, and youth centres across the Cayman Islands furthering accessibility to arts education, and the NGCI Permanent Collection. Ms. Olde notes, “Through informative essays and stunning colour plates, the book serves as a celebration of the National Gallery’s own story thus far, highlighting the integral role that NGCI continues to play in the development of art education and fine art for everyone throughout our islands. We hope that it will inspire readers and give them the occasion to embrace the Gallery and the collection anew.”

The publication marks a first for the National Galley and a beginning of a journey for further publications and research on the culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands. Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, expressed congratulations to the National Gallery, “for this historical collection, which features more than seventy artists and will serve as a wonderful resource for all.” The Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs added that, “the collections guide and art history survey book will undoubtedly prove to be a great resource for schools and should inspire our next generation of Caymanian artists.”

All reproduction rights for the publication have been donated by the author and by the featured artists enabling 100% of proceeds from sales to go towards collections development and related education initiatives. This book can be purchased for KYD$35 / US$43.75 directly from the National Gallery store. Bulk orders can be ordered via the NGCI Retail Department at [email protected]. A discount will apply to orders of 20 books or more.

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 their 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 over 60 public programmes monthly, across all three islands. These programmes capture every age group from the youngest pre-schoolers to senior citizens, as well as marginalized members of our community. They combine art education with enriching creative experiences to foster creativity, help build self-esteem, and provide effective and invaluable explorations of cultural heritage, national identity and community values.

NGCI Site & Facility

The National Gallery building is a 9,000 sq. ft. facility situated on the western side of the Esterley Tibbetts Bypass, close to Camana Bay town centre and adjacent to the Harquail Theatre. The state-of-the-art development is home to two temporary exhibition areas, an art studio, library, auditorium, sculpture garden, Art Café and Gift Shop, and a permanent gallery space for the Cayman Islands National Art Collection. As part of the National Gallery’s long-term business plan, an auditorium and multi-purpose event space have been incorporated into the design to provide flexible venue options for conferences. The main conference sessions were held in the Dart Auditorium, which seats up to 100 persons and provides full audio/visual equipment and internet access.



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