Homage to this dear verdant island

A brand new art exhibition recently opened at The Galleries of the Ritz-Carlton entitled Beloved Isle Cayman, produced by Cayman Traditional Arts. Five artists captured Cayman’s treasured National Song on canvas, each interpreting the theme through their own unique artistic talents: Patrick Broderick, Dora Williams, Miguel Powery, Christel Ibsen and Mikael Seffer. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull reports.
 
Miguel Powery – Caymanian heritage on canvas
With water all around us, artist Miguel Powery says it is hard to not paint the beauty of the ocean. Thus interpreting the words of the National Song had a decidedly aquatic theme for Miguel, combined with some interesting depictions of Cayman’s flora and fauna in stunning detail.
 
“The subject matter that I chose to paint speaks to Cayman’s true heritage,” Miguel explains. 
 
In particular, Miguel cites his father, a seaman, as a great inspiration for him artistically.
 
“He used to come home and regale us with amazing stories of his adventurous voyages,” Miguel recollects. “The stories were told with great passion and I could really relate to them and imagine the life that they had to ensure.”
 
‘We going home’ is a great and colourful dedication to the Caymanian seaman and is a superb reflection of Caymanian heritage and spirit.
 
“I love to use lots of bright Caribbean colours in my work. They help me tell the story,” Miguel confirms. 
 
Not forgetting the “dear verdant island” words of the Song, Miguel’s depiction of Cayman’s National Tree, the Silver Thatch Palm, in a series of bright pieces full of movement and light, includes a rather playful interloper in the guise of an iguana among the branches.
 
“I thought people could relate to the interloper,” Miguel says with a grin. “They seem to be everywhere these days!”
 
Christel Ibsen – sensitive depiction of youth and vigour
A well-known artist in Cayman, Christel Ibsen is particularly identified with her seascapes and incredibly lifelike depictions of children. For Christel, her beloved isle Cayman is all about the people she holds dear.
 
The children in her paintings are based upon children near and dear to her heart, yet Christel always manages to keep their look generic enough so that her paintings could depict anyone’s child, thus making them appealing to a wide audience.
 
Keely’s Wave is one of Christel’s favourite pieces and she says the little girl in question is one of “my most favourite people in the world!”
 
Christel explains the symbolism in her work: “She is an 11 year old girl on the brink of womanhood reaching out to the sea through the waves with somewhat murky undercurrents underneath.”
 
Likewise her mother and child painting is a similar moment in time when the child is just breaking free of her mother not wanting to hold her mother’s hand and excited at the prospect of venturing forth on her own.
 
Continuing with her incredibly lifelike seascapes, Christel has ably depicted both peace and solitude in the stillness of Cayman Flats and crashing passion and excitement in Cayman Surf. Both paintings are studies in Cayman’s waters, one perhaps at the height of summer stillness and the other during a winter Nor’wester. Whatever the time of year, Christel’s talent is evident as she layers her work to give a spectacular effect, first with a drawing in acrylic, moving on to fresco painting with egg yolks and pigment, finishing with oils to give the beautiful muted effect that only oils can bring.
 
Moving slightly off her usual theme but still delighting her audience, Christel had fun depicting Cayman’s flora with Don’s Butterfly and Don’s Plumerie, both paintings drawing inspiration from photos taken by the Don in question. Juicy colours combine with an intensely clever eye for detail for some exquisite paintings from this talented artist.

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