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Art & Architecture

 
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The Cayman Islands are known for their unique and diverse variety of local arts and crafts. The art is reflective of the fun spirited people that created with, as well as the rich culture and heritage that they share. Whether it’s the stress free environment of a Caribbean Island, or pure talent, the Cayman Islands is where you’ll find some of the most unique, intricate, and inspiring pieces of work.

Cayman’s artistic traditions are strong and growing stronger. For ages, the superb art exponents have strived to explore the vibrant people and the beauty of the seas in simple, yet appealing paintings based on various hues of the Cayman beach life. Many independent galleries dot the islands, offering a mosaic of the influences that create the spectrum of Cayman style.

In 1997, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands was formed, solidifying a place for Cayman art in the public eye. The hidden treasures of original Cayman art continue to be developed and unearthed as the gallery has expanded.

Do you know that most of the Caribbean art works featured from the 1950's to the late 1960's unfold the most thorough artistic exposition on lifestyle of the Caribbean society during that period of the West Indian history? Yes, all the works of art, including Cayman art (by artists of the Cayman Islands), Cuban and Jamaican art (by artists of Cuba and Jamaica) depict the landmarks of this period, thereby giving them a transcendental appeal to art lovers of all generations.

Preserving Tradition

The Cayman National Cultural Foundation is an important champion for Cayman art. Seeking to preserve artistic expression, the foundation supports performing, visual, and literary arts of the Cayman people. CNCF crusades to protect rich cultural monuments such as Miss Lassie’s House, a living masterpiece and one of the most prolific homes in the Cayman Islands.

To learn more about the Cayman National Cultural Foundation please visit www.artscayman.org

Celebrate Expression

Several art festivals take place at different times throughout the year in the Cayman Islands. Cayfest is the National Festival of the Arts in the Cayman Islands. Sponsored by the CNCF, this festival is a vivacious display of Caymanian expression that takes place over a few months. Fashion shows, comedy hours, musical performances, art exhibitions—Cayfest’s offerings are enticing and vast.

Gimstory is The Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival. Bringing together storytellers the world over, the festival takes place through the late fall. Admission is free—as is fried fish, fritters, and “Swanky”, Cayman style lemonade.

Cayman Architecture is as unique as its art. Like Cayman art which draws influence from their diverse beginnings, Cayman architecture has been described as a Caribbean mask on varying styles with a Caymanian charm. Early Cayman Islands architecture is reflective of those that came to the Islands in the 1700’s. Early Caymanian architecture consisted of basic structures built from local timber and palms. These thatch-work buildings were meticulously crafted from the leaves of Cayman’s National Tree, the Silver Thatch Palm. Built from the ground with sand floors, these structures were not dependable under dense weather. The discovery of water resistant Ironwood, a material unique to our island, helped to make homes stronger. With increased influence from the US over time, bungalows became popular beachside structures.

Today, architecture in the Cayman Islands is varied; some buildings still taking stylistic cues from original settlers. From unique carpentry and stone work to timber-based and bricked, architecture of the Cayman Islands developed as the population did.

Today, the Cayman Islands remains one of the top destinations in the Caribbean not only for their beaches, restaurants, shopping, and luxury spas, but for their rich culture, art, and architecture that allows visitors to peer in and to explore Caymanian history, just a little bit more.