Artists’ evolving styles emerge

A collaboration of Cayman artists recently unveiled their talents at the latest art show created by the successful partnership of Cayman Traditional Arts and The Gallery of The Ritz-Carlton. Titled Evolution, the exhibition brought some lesser known artists into the fore, combining their work with the creations of established artists, producing an exciting range of work that ought to be visited at least once before the show ends in February.

Evolution is an interesting term for this latest CTA exhibition as it aptly describes both the evolving styles of some of Cayman’s most well-known artists (such as John Broad, Nasaria Suckoo Chollette, Lorna Griggs and Shane Aquart), as well as giving viewers a glimpse of the talents of less well known artists (such as CJ Viggers), now able to showcase their own evolution into mainstream art here in Cayman.

John Broad’s style has been indelibly stamped with colour, vivacity and spontaneity (he is well known for his ability to capture a mood at a special event in just a few short hours), yet his pieces at the Evolution exhibition have evolved to a more mellow format, without losing any of their fresh individuality. A series of cat boat crew paintings appear on his newly forming trademark thatch work, which has been woven together to create a blank canvas on which the artist wields his brush.

The resulting paintings are full of movement and life; evoke a sense of yesteryear “an old time effect” as John puts it, with subjects exuding the history of the Islands. The crew discusses tactics in one painting, sets sail in another and ultimately wins the race, weaving around buoys as they go.

“I based the paintings from the views I had of a cat boat race earlier this year; the team that I observed actually won the race,” he says. 

Unusually for John, he also decided to exhibit some wonderful water colour and pencil observations at the same time.

“I used some paintings that I had produced from a National Gallery sketching workshop that I had run earlier in the year,” he explains. “We went to the beach and observed the scene. I particularly like the way the sea grape frames the paintings,” he comments.

Although using her trademark appliqué and metallic effect paints, Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette has really reached further into herself this time around, with a collection of mixed media works that are a throwback to Cayman circa 1960, featuring photographs of her family (especially her mother – Virginia Suckoo) and herself as a youngster.

“I took time to research the era,” she says. “I wanted to create something that spoke about my mother’s life bringing up her family in Cayman, with little money and four children to bring up. My husband Randy calls her a “hot biscuit” and it was good to feature her.”

A vivid picture has been carefully layered together using photos, newspaper cuttings, thick bright paintwork and even embroidery, which Nasaria says she has recently learnt to create. There are references to the Daisy Dairy, which fed the children ice cream in George Town, Christmas beef (an annual excitement) and even references to catalogues, from which ladies would excitedly order their latest fashions.

“I feel I’ve created a diary of my mum’s life, from my perspective,” Nasaria says.

Nasaria has called her work whimsical names such as ‘The girl who danced with elephants’ and ‘the boy who swallowed life whole’.

“My paintings are named after books I’ve always wanted to read!” she explains.  

Virginia Suckoo adds: “I must say, even though I knew that my image would be in the paintings I was a bit taken aback to see myself.  It sure did bring back good memories from the Sixties.  I am sure Nasaria realised that by doing so she would be limiting the sales potential somewhat, but that is just her, it is never about the money. 

I hope that everyone who goes to view the paintings will take the time to really study them and in so doing will gleam an insight in that part of the past that was so simple and carefree.”