By Lindsey Turnbull
A stunning collection of art work depicting that most evocative symbol of service to country – the poppy – can be found online. Created by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, it is the product of their team work with local artists who have got together to honour Caymanian service men and women and their colleagues around the world and to acknowledge the ongoing work of the Cayman Islands veterans Association.
Natalie Urquhart, Director of the National Gallery gave some background: “The exhibition was something I wanted to pull together after speaking with Loxley Banks from the Veterans Association and hearing an excerpt from the Radio Cayman show he was developing [which aired at noon on Friday 12 November] in honour of Remembrance Day,” she advised. “He played an excerpt from the oral history archives where a Caymanian veteran is speaking about his experiences during the Dunkirk evacuation. He manned aircraft guns for 13 hours straight. I was so moved by this word (he is now passed) as it personalised the remarkable moment in history – which we are all aware of it but sometimes in a more abstract sense.”
Mr Banks had mentioned that, due to the current limitations with school visits, the CIVA were having to rethink how to connect with the community this year, as they normally do assemblies at this time of year. This as where Mrs Urquhart’s idea came about to do a virtual exhibition on social media with local artists to honour our Caymanian serviceman and women and their colleagues from around the world, and to acknowledge the ongoing work of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association through a series of poppy-inspired paintings.
“I sent out a call to artist colleagues to see if they would help raise viability for this important day of remembrance, and, in doing so, the ongoing work of the Veterans Association. Participating artists are June South-Robinson, Larisa Sved, Al Ebanks, Courtney Platt, Nasaria Suckoo Chollette, Gordon Solomon, vitlana (Lana) Gilyun, and Sarah McDougall. And I am sincerely grateful to them all for creating work,” she said.
Mrs Urquhart said she found one comment from an artist particularly moving. They wrote: “Thanks so much for the inclusion. Every year I just google and post a mass-produced image and it never occurred to me that we could generate our own. This gave me time to think about the words and the significance of 'remembering' those who gave us our freedoms.”
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