Art for the heart

Cayman Heart Fund’s second annual Valentine’s Day Red Dress Gala dinner will be enhanced even further this year by a unique auction of local art all kindly donated to the cause by the artists themselves in order to be auctioned and thereby hopefully raising some serious funds for this incredibly worthy cause.

Art lovers, Cayman Heart Fund supporters and simply anyone out to enjoy a wonderful evening of fun, food and dancing should mark their calendars for Friday 13 February when the Cayman Heart Fund will host its second annual Red Dress Gala dinner at The Westin Casuarina Resort just in time for Valentine’s Day, of course a traditional time of year focusing on all matters of the heart.
This year a host of popular local artists will donate their work to the cause so that event-goers will get the chance to purchase their very own one-of-a-kind artwork in a silent auction to be held throughout the evening.
Some of Cayman’s best loved and most collected artists will be participating, including Bendel Hydes, David Bridgeman, John Broad, John Doak, Chris Mann, CE Whitney, Charles Long, Chris Christian, Gordon Solomon, Maureen Lazarus, Guy Harvey, Nickola McCoy, Teresa Grimes, Avril Ward and Al Ebanks.
Gordon Solomon decided to work on an abstract piece especially for Cayman Heart Fund and says he started the drawings for his piece early in the New Year. “I began after a long in depth consideration with myself thinking about where the heart really is,” he says. “The answer came to me: the mind is the heart! And so this is the basis of the new piece, an abstract creation on a 16 x12 canvas.”
John Broad’s work is always infused with pure colour, movement and passion for the human spirit. He is well known for his unique ability to ‘speed paint’ at special events, having created memorable artwork at such events as the National Gallery’s most recent fundraiser, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ as well as at many other fundraisers and special occasions. The Cayman Heart Fund is delighted to welcome John at Art for the Heart where he will be putting his talents to good use, creating a special painting at the event itself, to be auctioned for the charity.
Another local artist well known for her love of vibrancy, colour and movement, Nickola McCoy-Snell has been busy creating a special and unique piece for the Art for the Heart charity auction called Father’s Eyes. Nickola’s work is an eclectic mix of abstract, contemporary, modern, whimsical and realism and her work has gained her much recognition, including two McCoy Prize wins (in 2002 she was awarded the McCoy Prize for Excellence in Caymanian Art and in 2007 she was awarded the McCoy Prize people’s Choice Award).
Infused with a local flavour, whether that is fruits, a familiar scene of the ocean, C.E. Whitney’s artwork is instantly recognisable and highly collectable (her paintings are in collections in the US, Canada, London, Australia as well as the Cayman Islands), always a vivid careful study of light, colour and form. Carolyn is also happy to donate artwork to the Cayman Heart Fund’s special Valentine’s Day event.
Another highly collectable artist who has kindly agreed to donate some unique work to the Art for the Heart event is Charles Long. “I do not usually donate my artwork,” he offers, “but Cayman heart Fund Chairman Suzy Soto asked me specifically and so I was happy to do so, as it is for such a good cause.”
Charles has been a pioneer of Cayman art since his arrival in the islands in 1969 and enjoys depicting everyday Cayman scenes in his own inimitable type with Lowry-esque figures and deep turquoises and blues trademarks of his success.  The painting that he has donated for auction portrays boats off North Church Street with two men jogging along the water front against a backdrop of wall pealing green paint, another iconic Charles Long which will no doubt fetch a high price at the Art for the Heart auction.
Al Ebanks is another well known and much loved local artist. He is donating ‘Sumting fishy’ (series) to Art for the Heart, a 30” by 30” acrylic on canvas. “Sumting fishy is a series base on Cayman marine life, but the title can tell you something else!” Al says.
Architect John Doak is well known for his creativity when it comes to buildings in the Cayman Islands, having been the architect on numerous well known buildings such as Citrus Grove, Ugland House, UBS House and the new Tiki Beach, however he might not be quite so well known for his furniture design, three dimensional artwork and sculpture. A whiz in 3-D paper sculpture as well as pen and ink and watercolour designs, John says he envisages donating to the Art for the Heart event an artistic creation similar to the House in a Bottle piece in the photograph.
Working mainly in oils and acrylics, Teresa Grimes has exhibited at various galleries in the Cayman Islands along with various visual art shows over the years since she first became a resident in 1986. Most recently, Teresa held a solo exhibition at Calypso Grill entitled Mangroves and Moods, a collection of acrylic, oil and water colour paintings all highlighting Teresa’s passion for the mangroves as well as other scenes that are dear to the artist’s heart. Teresa has decided to kindly donate a painting from this series to the Art for the Heart event.
A prolific and internationally renowned artist, Guy Harvey has made his living giving artistic expressing to the world of nature, especially the aquatic kind. It is therefore exciting that his painting to be donated to the Art for the Heart event depicts two birds. His ‘Red Heads’ artwork is a framed limited edition paper giclee and will no doubt be highly sought after.
David Bridgeman’s work reflects his appreciation of nature and his donation for the Art for the Heart event is no exception.
He explains: “My Bluebells and Birch painting depicts an imaginary woodland filled with bluebell flowers and red birch trees.  It is a painting that is part of an exploration of the link between Britain and Cayman.  It is also an experiment, looking at the past and in particular, childhood memories.
“As an artist I am asked on many occasions to donate artwork for various charities and it’s not possible to honour all requests.  However, with the experiences I have had over the last two years with close friends, I am in no doubt that the Cayman Heart Fund is a cause that needs the full support of our community.  It gives me great pleasure to donate a piece created especially for this occasion and I hope the public will donate generously for a charity that is so important to the Cayman Islands.”
Maureen Lazarus is no stranger to Cayman’s art world, having created some memorable pieces of art reflecting her love of nature, in all its colourful glory, especially sea grape and coconut trees. Maureen is currently enjoying pushing her artistic boat out even further incorporating three dimensional sculptured pieces.
One local artist who likes to keep her work fresh for viewers is Avril Ward, a conceptual artist always striving to create artwork from new ideas and themes. Avril’s work changes and evolves as she is always interested in exploring new avenues. Skilled in oils, acrylic, charcoal and mixed media, she usually works in series of a particular medium. Her sculpture ‘Too much cake’ will also be donated for Art for the Heart.
Avril says: “I didn’t initially know exactly what the charity was about, but because Suzy Soto afforded me the opportunity of showing my work at her restaurant the Cracked Conch, when I first arrived on the island, I was happy to oblige her with a donation for a cause she was supporting. Now I know the charity’s cause, I am doubly happy to donate a piece.”
Well known artists Bendel Hydes, Chris Christian and Chris Mann are also kindly donating artwork for this highly worthwhile event.


Artists John Broad and Maureen Lazarus