Up and Out, a street art exhibition put on by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, has recently travelled for its official Cayman Brac opening at the Heritage House, writes the National Gallery’s Mona Lisa Tatum-Watler.
Street art is a modern art movement and the focus of a year’s work by participants of the Gallery’s Outreach programmes in Grand Cayman. Through street art, these emerging artists were able to express their personal commentary on global and local social issues.
In attendance at the exhibition opening earlier this year and with opening remarks were Cayman Brac District Commissioner Mr. Ernie Scott and the Deputy (Acting) Premier Ms Julianna O’Connor Connolly.
Simone Scott, the National Gallery’s Sister Islands officer, was thanked by Commissioner Scott for facilitating the artistic display on the Brac. Mr. Scott hopes more people will come out to see the work. “As this exhibit shows, that everyday people can produce great pieces of art,” he says. “People can be inspired by it to do positive and creative things instead of recent negative activities.”
Ms O’Connor Connolly also encouraged the community to push the youth of our Islands to pursue the arts, giving them a positive area to channel creative energy. She commented: “The piece that grabbed me as I walked in the door was the one with Gandhi.”
Ms Conolly recalled the quote in the piece ‘An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind’ and explained: “We must therefore find positive outlets for our emotions other than violence and art is a good way to do that as these pieces of artwork show us.”
Although street art uses the same techniques of spray painting, tagging and stencilling as its predecessor graffiti, those in attendance soon understood the distinctive difference between the two: street art can be used as a learning tool and has the ability to raise awareness about social issues in a constructive way.
Looking at the expressions of the women portrayed in the image titled ‘The Scream’, one viewer commented that she could “feel the anguish radiating from it”, evidence that this developing art form is indeed a positive outlet to express one’s feelings. Another visitor said she was glad she had been given the opportunity to view the exhibit.
“We don’t often get to see this type of art in the Brac and I’m very excited that the public is embracing it,” says Simone Scott. “I’ve seen people who normally never come out to exhibits, attending to view this work specifically and they’ve been excited over it.”
The exhibition was accompanied by a lecture discussing the premise of Street Art and its origins and a street art workshop was held the following day at the Cayman Brac Heritage House.
Jessica Wallace, the Gallery’s Education and Outreach coordinator, was impressed with the workshop participants’ creativity and their ability to enthusiastically express opinions on social justice issues. Many of which said going forward, they would use the techniques learned on the day in their own work.
For more information on events and programming happening in the Sister Islands, contact Simone Scott on 939-5306 or email [email protected]