Pure Art a gallery extraordinaire

While art galleries come and go, there is one that has been a mainstay on Grand Cayman for more than 20 years. The Journal takes a trip to Pure Art to see what is on offer.

Grand Cayman is blessed with a handful of professional art galleries.

But one of the oldest and best known sits unassumingly at the corner of Denham Thompson Road and South Church Street in an historic waddle and daub Caymanian house.

Pure Art is more than 20 years old and is home to a treasure chest of cultural and artistic representations of Cayman’s history.

It’s owned by artist Debbie van der Bol and heavily features works of local artists as well as part-time residents.

“My business plan has always been to focus on exhibiting and selling Caymanian art and local products and gifts,” says van der Bol. “We work with Cayman’s corporate collectors, providing in-house gifts of hotels/condominiums, interior designers and personal new home, apartment or office spaces looking to live and work with our wonderful Cayman art on their walls!”

The building that houses Pure Art was originally owned by van der Bol’s son Peter’s great grandmother, Erma Eldemire. She passed it on to her daughter, Sandra van der Bol who urged Debbie to use it as a retail outlet.

“I’m a painter and it seemed a natural progression to establish a shop selling art work for locals and tourists,” van der Bol said. “There were no art galleries on Island and I thought it was a good move as people were crying out for such an establishment.”

Local artists like Janet Walker, Maureen Andersen, Lorna Griggs, April Bending, Avril Ward, Elaine Grieves, Maureen Lazarus and Shane Arquat, creator of the well-known Dready have been featuring their works at Pure Art since it first opened in 1987.

As Pure Art is a gallery, potential customers can get some good advice from Debbie and her staff.

For starters, art doesn’t have to perfectly match a room.

“A tip on buying original paintings is to purchase art which really appeals to you emotionally, spiritually, personally.  You should love the colour or love reacting to it.  This way, you will never tire of it,” van der Bol advises. “If you really love the original art, it will go along with your home or personal workspace or second holiday home simply because you bought it to suit your personality.”

The gallery is also a good ambassador to the Cayman Islands. Much of the art work sold at Pure Art has gone international.

“The international sales we’ve done of Cayman art, I think of being ‘out there’ and telling the world of Cayman through the art which has sold,” she said.

“Art is international. Artists create as we breathe. Our Cayman art continues to evolve, progress, grow…be gorgeous or historical or art for art’s sake,” van der Bol said.

“All are important creations I strive to educate the public to invest in and to live with – to value forever. Give yourself permission to buy Cayman art.”