On 30 January over 100 artists, crafts people and designers will be demonstrating their talents at the annual [email protected] event. In the years since its inauguration in 2000, [email protected] has become the only festival of its kind in the Cayman Islands to display such a large amount of visual art forms, growing each year and to date includes; paintings, ceramics, sculpture, leatherwork, body paintings, jewellery, stained glass, quilts, photography and traditional thatch crafts. The National Gallery’s Mona Lisa Tatum Watler reports.
By popular demand and to the delight of local collectors and artists, we have extended our festival to include the grounds at Governor’s Square. Here, well known and emerging artists in our community will have the opportunity to sell their works. A section of the parking lot at Governor’s Square, located just across the street from the Government House, will be the venue for the commercial sales area where artists will set up their display booths. The fee to register is only CI$25.00 and the registration deadline is Friday, 15 January, at 5pm.
Each year these artists welcome all visitors to meet with them on a one on one basis to discuss their works and techniques; it is also the perfect forum for collectors to discuss the prospect of commissioned works.
Simultaneously, on the lawn of the Government House will be a variety of entertainment and activities for adults and children alike. The Gallery has collaborated with local musicians, story tellers, face painters, and artists who will demonstrate their crafts as well as other government departments. These groups and artisans will host several activities that promote Conserving Cayman’s Oceans—the theme of this year’s [email protected] event. Some of the activities are geared specifically towards marine conservation and biodiversity. Bringing awareness to environmental issues relating to the Cayman Islands and will teach participants how they can help to conserve our underwater resources.
This year we are also launching an annual [email protected] School Art Competition, called the Governor’s Cup, where the governor will award a prestigious trophy to the school with the most participation, as well as prizes for individual students of different age categories. The works created by the participating school students will be on display at the Governor’s House on the event date. Teachers and parents interested in entering their school should contact the Gallery’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Jessica Wallace by calling 945-8111 or stop by the gallery located in Harbour Place on the Waterfront.
Also, this year’s featured artist and future International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame inductee, Robert Wyland is renowned as an advocate of marine conservation. Wyland is famous for his huge murals called “Whale Walls”, which have been painted on the sides of buildings. These walls can be seen around the world and are completely unique to his style. He is an accomplished painter, sculptor, photographer, writer, and SCUBA diver. Wyland will be available throughout the afternoon to talk about his work and discuss ocean conservation. Special thanks to the Department of Tourism for organising Wyland’s appearance at this year’s event. For more information on the featured artist, visit the website wyland.com.
There is much to see and experience at the annual festival; in past years the event has included traditional craft displays; cultural booths; demonstrations by the Cayman Islands Cadet Corp, art tours, music by high school bands and One World Entertainment, dance performances and afternoon tea.
Visitors can look forward to these types of activities again this year and also take home a ceramic vase moulded by Danswell Davidson, experience a Catboat ride with the Cayman Catboat Club, hear stories from local storyteller Twyla Vargas, create a paper mache sculpture in a group setting and climb through a 40 foot blow up shark, all the while learning about Conserving Cayman’s Oceans. Interested persons can also sign up for a Gallery membership and visit the other non-profit organisations to learn how to become more active in our community.
This year with our extended venue the Gallery hopes to spotlight art within our community, promote local artists and artisans and encourage young artists to develop their talents. Additionally by providing such a wide variety artistic styles, spectators will also have the opportunity to view the differences and similarities of traditional Caymanian heritage craft and contemporary arts of the islands, and the ways in which one has inspired the other.
The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands along with Governor Duncan Taylor and his family and the staff of Government House encourage the public to support the [email protected] 2010 art festival and our artists by attending on Saturday, 30 January from 1pm to 5pm. The event is entirely free and all are welcome to attend.
For information or to register call the National Gallery at 945 8111 or email Kerri [email protected]