By Christopher Tobutt
Artistic Blooms was a very special and unique kind of art exhibition, and it was Rhonda Edie’s very first one. She held it in the garden of her home, in Savannah Meadows, and lots of people came to see and wish her well, including Deputy Premier Hon Chris Saunders. Quite a lot of people were invited to contribute something artistic too: perhaps a poem or a song. The whole spectrum of Cayman’s artistic talent was represented, with musicians and poets including Ms Edie herself, who has been writing beautiful poetry for more than two decades. But there were all kinds of visual arts, too, and Ms Rhonda’s paintings have really taken off since she retired three years ago, she said.
Ms Edie’s studio (which doubled as an art gallery) is really a large garden shed, and it was full of paintings for sale. Some of her visual work is quilt and fabric work, and there were several quilts she calls, ‘Memory Quilts,’ in honor of the memory of her two beloved sisters who passed away. All her work seems to be concerned with the passage of time, and marking of events; about different seasons of our lives and of Cayman’s collective soul. There was even a mini fashion-show, with one of the skirts Ms. Edie has made to commemorate the 300 facemasks she sewed for friends, neighbors and family during last year’s lockdown, to try to keep everyone safe. There is a lot of mixed-media, and paint-on-fabrics to create a kind of collage, as well as traditional painting on canvas. There were even some people painted onto a canvas, with heads fashioned from perfectly oval pebbles; it was a beach painting, of course.
She read two beautiful poems. One of them was entitled, ‘When Sleep won’t Come, “All about a certain time in my life when the kids started going off to school, leaving home, and then there was a stage in my life when I was losing sleep at night and when I couldn’t sleep at night I got up and I did poetry,” she said. The other one was a poem of reflections on the things in life her mother had taught her.
Her son, Devon, known for wonderful saxophone playing, and granddaughter, Amelia, both gave musical performances on the ukulele. MC Karen Edie, herself a famous singer, introduced another of Ms Edie’s granddaughters, the very-talented eight-year-old Zoe Anderson, recited a poem written by Virginian Suckoo called ‘Its Allotment Day,’ while Ms. Edie showed one of her works of art which illustrated it. The poem is all about the time, not-too-long-ago, when Cayman’s women would wait, once a month to cash the check sent from their seafaring husbands, far away: “It’s allotment day on the 20th…all lining up at the shop, jostling for the front of the line; listening to hear if their names will be called… All able bodied men from the Island are missing from this celebration. They are on national bulk tankers all over the world.”
There was a real treat, too from Cayman’s most senior musician, 106 year-old Wesley Howell who played some lovely tunes on the saxophone, and Karen Edie sang a wonderful praise song to bring the exhibition to an end. But it wasn’t quite the end, because there was a raffle, so that guests could win one of Ms. Edie’s beautiful and unique works of art to take home and treasure forever.