A free gallery with rotating exhibits, worth the visit.

Quick Info

Located just off the highway (there is only one) and surrounded by lush tropical gardens is the Cayman National Gallery. This location just opened in 2021 so it is still very new. The gallery is split into two: Upstairs is traditional Cayman art. Downstairs hosts rotating exhibitions. Let’s check it out!
We will start with the downstairs exhibition. When I visited it was called Pop and the Popular. It is an exploration of the influence of pop on contemporary Caymanian art featuring reused materials. This piece by local artis Wray Banker called “Our Way”. It is meant to represent the influence of American consumer culture and the resulting erosion of traditional Cayman traditions. Fun fact, the Cayman Islands is one of the few places in the world you can still legally eat turtle meat. It is farmed for consumption so that wild turtles are not hunted.
This brings back memories. The mix tape, by Carlos Garcia. This piece is designed to evoke nostalgia of music from a bygone era where the boombox, cassette and CD were regular parts of everyday life. The pile of tape is a reminder of the obsolescence of these technologies.
How about some custom skateboards by local artist Morgan Olley. Morgan was originally a graffiti artist but after moving to Cayman switched mediums.
This portrait is made entirely of painted green army men. Check out the next picture for a close up. Titled Farm Solider by Marc Laurenson.
This piece is called “Ode to Milo, Pass me sum dem nails, 1999”. Inspired by Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans painting, Wary Baker set out to explore the imagery in advertising with a Caribbean spin. The milo can is a staple in the Caribbean and could be found in almost every household. I personally had never even heard of it, but my dad said growing up in Jamaica they would always have Milo around. If you are wondering, much like I was, it is kind of like a chocolate milk drink.
JMB by Jason Kennedy. Jason normally likes to capture everyday people in a moment of everyday activity with a focus on Caymanian subjects. But in this case, it is a portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat, who was an 80’s pop icon and a protégé of Warhol.
Moving from the downstairs exhibit to upstairs. The upstairs exhibit is permanent and is traditional Cayman art where the theme is home. Here is a typical Caymanian home in watercooler by Joanne Sibley (b 1930). The house incorporates a zinc roof that was typical in the 1920’s. The artist was originally from Canada and arrived in the Caymans in 1980.
I was interested to see a seismograph in the gallery. A couple years ago I was in the Caymans during a 7.7. You can read about that experience here: https://www.tripbagger.com/tag/cayman-earthquake-2020/
Watercolor of downtown George Town. See the next picture for how it looks today. Note the white building with the red roof.
George Town Today. Note the small white building with the red roof on the left. It is one of the original buildings in Cayman and has been preserved as a small museum.
Combination digital print by Courtney Platt featuring the famous 7-mile beach with a combination of photos from the past and present.
When you are done enjoying the art. The gallery is surrounded by lush tropical gardens you can also enjoy for no cost.

1 Comment

Ted Lawrence · November 14, 2022 at 1:27 am

Great descriptions of artwork and nice diversion from your normal hiking descriptions.

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