It was a night to celebrate all things Caymanian at the Harquail Theatre, as the Cayman National Cultural Foundation held their National Arts And Culture Awards evening, and those artists, craftspeople, historians and recorders of Cayman’s past, as well as those who interpret Cayman’s culture for the present, and who have often worked so tirelessly behind-the-scenes, were finally recognised. It was also the official launch of Cayfest, the CNCF’s annual culture and arts festival.
In a video presentations, Cayman Islands Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin said: “I want to congratulate the recipients of this year’s award for their contributions to art and culture and for the development and preservation of the Caymanian heritage, and Minister of Culture Hon. Dwayne Seymour said: “The Cayman Islands may be but a small speck in the Caribbean Sea, but the talent here is magnificent and Cayfest is such a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate and honour these talents. Art and culture gives us the opportunity to express our essential self, and enrich our national identity.”
The Outstanding Volunteer Awards were presented to while Ileann Powery, Hazel Brown, and Raj Ramasubbu. The Chairman’s Award is given for outstanding long-term support of the work of the CNCF, and this year is awarded to Sandra Watler, by CNCF Chairman Martyn Bould.
Heritage Cross Awards (Gold, Silver and Bronze) reflect the contribution that Cayman people have made, to the cultural and artistic life of the Cayman Islands. Debra Barnes-Tabora, was among the Gold Heritage Cross Award recipients. Her passion for Cayman’s history started when she was still at high school. She joined the Cayman Islands National Museum in 1989 and has dedicated her life to the collection, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of Cayman’s cultural heritage. Isaac Jeralow Rankine another recipient of the Gold Heritage Cross Award. Mr. Rankine is recognized as a culture ambassador of the Cayman Islands, for his work in the net-making tradition, a discipline he learned by watching his father and by watching his elders. Gold Heritage Cross Award recipient Anne Walton, from Booby Point, Spot Bay, Cayman Brac has excelled in the preservation and promotion of Caymanian heritage and traditions, and has significantly contributed to the shaping of cultural identity of the Cayman Islands, particularly Cayman Brac.
Henry Muttoo said: “Whenever a piece of art is manifested it carries with it the potential to help open the eyes of engagers to the beauty, truth, and ugliness of the society and world around them. Despite the systems working against you as artists, you have made an incalculable difference to the quality of life in these Cayman Islands. Know that your contributions are thoroughly appreciated by CNCF and by our wider society.”
Gold Star for Creativity Awards were presented to Wray Banker, Conroy Ebanks, and Silver Star for Musician George Jones.