Great art: 101

Cayman Traditional Arts again joined forces with The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton to showcase some sizzling summer art. This time the remit was an ambitious one – 101 pieces of artwork that reflect the artists’ interpretation of summer time. The work of well established local artists stands side by side with brand new artists who are showing at the exhibition for the very first time, a deliberate attempt by the organisers to give undiscovered artists the chance to shine along the ‘old masters’. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull went along for a viewing and reports in a series of articles.

This latest exhibition at The Ritz-Carlton’s Gallery that straddles the West Bay Road is a wonderfully exciting and exhilarating start to an incredible collection of art work that showcases 27 artists, many of whom are exhibiting multiple pieces of work. Newcomers to The Ritz-Carlton exhibition include Allister Clarke, Jim Hellemn, Bethany Tomkins, Aaron Reberchek (all photography) and Megan Compton, Kerwin Ebanks, Michelle Bower, Simone Scott and Deborah Brookes-Mangan in fine art.

Continuing our meander along the length of the Gallery, we are greeted by evocative paintings by newcomer Kerwin Ebanks, whose detailed accounts of everyday Caymanian life are given a contemporary touch with clever references to the popular culture of today, thus ensuring that while he concentrates on typical Caymanian themes, Kerwin manages to look to the future with his work, rather than dwell on the past.

Kerwin, an art teacher at Clifton Hunter School, says his work sometimes takes years to fully mature into a finished piece.

“I developed a lot of ideas for paintings while I was studying at college. I would sketch the idea down and then pick it back up again maybe years later,” he confirms.

“I put a great deal of effort into researching my subject matter and then piece the ideas together into a concept.”

Working hard for his Ritz-Carlton debut, Kerwin says he managed to paint nine pieces of work in just a month, totally between 40 to 50 hours of effort. The result is a collection of intricately portrayed scenes that speak volumes about the Cayman Islands of today.

Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette is a well-known artist within the community and among her work at the Gallery is a painting that literally stops people in their tracks. Long Celia is a dramatic depiction of the courageous female slave Long Celia, who stood up to the slave owners and told slaves of their coming emancipation, for which she was severely punished. It’s a powerful symbol of the emancipation of women as well as the tragedy of the salve trade and is a stunning piece of artwork, employing mixed media to accentuate the message.

Avril Ward’s work is always a crowd pleaser. This well established artist is showing a collection of her finest, with her trade mark dogs playfully lapping up the water and her touching portrayal of a father and son fishing, both thickly painted to give texture as well as colour, highlighting yet again that Avril’s work just goes from strength to strength.

The beauty of Renate Seffer’s work is that it changes almost with the seasons, so there is always something new and exciting to look forward to from this gifted artist. Her trademark sense of humour, though a little silent of late, bursts forth with gusto in her collection, with a tremendously saleable group of paintings that catch the mood of sunbathing or swimming on a beach.  Heavy set ladies in bikinis and skinny dippers are all rapturously created in this sun-filled collection, which, if it hasn’t sold already, will without be snapped up very soon.

The sensitivity in Deborah Brookes-Mangan’s first exhibition of paintings is a joy to behold, as she explores themes of flowers, fruit and wine glasses in three carefully crafted pieces. Deborah’s compositions immediately draw the viewers eyes into her work and she has a talent for realism which again means that she is a highly commercial artist whose work will sell, sell, sell!

Michelle Bower, another newcomer to exhibiting at the Ritz-Carlton, works for Cayman Traditional Arts and has produced some great work for a first-timer. Michelle, an illustrator by trade, says she had great fun “doodling more than painting”. Her work in the exhibition is based on sketches of beach scenes and the result is a delightful collection of scenes that have caught her eye. Conch shells, paddle boards and sunsets all play their part in this fresh and lively collection of work.

Simone Scott, who works for the National Gallery on Cayman Brac has also entered into a Ritz-Carlton exhibition for the first time and she, too, depicts Caymanian scenes which have caught her eye and stirred her heart. Simone uses a vividly bright colour palette which takes the viewer directly into her sun-filled world of playing on the beach under the se grape trees. Another saleable collection and yet another demonstration of the wide artistic talent pool with which we are blessed here in the Cayman Islands.

Summer 101 is a collection of 101 art pieces at The Gallery of The Ritz-Carlton that capture that summer feeling. The exhibition ran until 8th November 2010 and included photography on canvas and aluminium, watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings, pen and ink drawings, stained glass work, and mixed media compositions. All the art work is for sale.

An exhibition of children’s art work was shown simultaneously from 25th September until November.