Installation art carries message against violence

| 02/10/2009

(CNS): Local artist and poet Joseph Betty Gumba used the medium of installation-performance art today (Thursday 1 October) to draw attention to the increase in gun violence in Cayman. With his eyes, ears and mouth taped shut, the artist lay in front of the George Town Court House to send a key message of peace to the community. Calling on the famous and powerful words of Mahatma Ghandi, Gumba reminded people that an eye for an eye will leave us all blind.

Using his own body and boards adorned with symbols, famous quotes and lines from Cayman’s National Song to help convey his message of non-violence, the artist drew considerable attention. Tourists, locals and even the police all stopped for a moment to appreciate and contemplate Gumba’s powerful message.

Art has long been used as a medium for protest and installation art can be particularly powerful. Using installation art as a mode of protest came to prominence during theanti-Vietnam war demonstrations in the 60s and has since become a popular means of visual protest. Anti-globalisationists, environmentalist and feminists have all utilized the medium to send political and social messages.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    “An eye for an eye”: is a just act and proper use of the legitimate civil government power to punishment person A for a wrong done against person B.  However, the power of the State to punish person B should not be misunderstood as substitute for person A’s right to use up to lethal force where necessary to defend his or her own person or property or the person or property of some another person from imminent attack.

    Petitioning for the cessation of violent crime is admirable, but I would like to remind the public of the importance of situational awareness and readiness as the likelihood is that criminals will ignore Joseph’s request.  It is not a matter of if, but when it will happen again.

    Therefore, we should remember that Gandhi also said: "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." – Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446 (Beacon Press paperback edition)

    What are your plans?

  2. Anonymous says:

    well done


  3. Joe Average says:

    Good on you Joseph.

    "there’s so much trouble in the world.

    all we gotta do is …."      -Bob Marley

  4. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the comments from "This is a good example why we".  You are most assuredly not speaking for all Caymanians.  I (a Caymanian) am honored that someone would care enough about my Islands to put himself so openly in the public, with the certainty of ridicule from small-minded people such as yourself.  Grow up please!  We need people who show such open compassion!  And as to the statement that "…citizens are now blowing up their buses and trains…crazy situation but will not happen here", are you standing as guarantee for that???  We never thought we’d see the crime level here that we currently have – what makes you think it could not escalate to greater heights?  I thank the demonstrator for his peaceful exhibition and if he is indeed a foreigner, I applaud Immigration in their decision to accept him into our Islands!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. Thank you. I am a Caymanian as well. And I have to say I’m very proud of this man for what he did.

  5. anonymous says:

    This is a good example why we have to screen incoming folks at Immigration!!

    I Support the message but what image did we give 4000 visitors yesterday…I hope he had a permit from the Police for this…and if he did, we need to see why he could get one.

    I expect anti-Caymanian bashing to begin with this blog,….,however folks really need to understand that this country cannot entertain all and sundry. The UK has taken this situation to the point where their own citizens are now blowing up their buses and trains…crazy situation but will not happen here. We do not need to go down that road. Visit us, live with us in harmony, but leave your baggage at home.

    • Anonymous says:

      You poor thing. What a shame that you expect anti-Caymanian bashing because of this performance art type of protest.

      Image?? IMAGE?! I sincerely doubt that the 4000 people that saw this silent protest will be going home with a bad taste in their mouths to tell their friends not to come here because there are artists protesting…

      It sent a message and was cleverly done. I felt proud of this guys message and the way he went about presenting it. So well done!!

      The crudely/hastely written posters would not have been as effective had he lined it up and rendered it perfectly. It was so well done!!!!

      And you, you Jackass at post 11:34, you missed the point as well.

      Power on Joseph. you do indeed have a lot of respect from a lot of people.

      I sent the photos to several friends and we thought it was absolutely  brilliant!


      An expat

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t think he walked thru Immigration like that……:)

      Visitors understood the message.

      Hasn’t anything to do with ‘Anti-Caymanian bashing’….?

      Freedom of expresssion. Well done, Joseph!

    • Unidentified says:

      It’s called freedom of expression that happens all over the world. Do not think that visitors are somehow shocked by this, they more likely appreciate this single soul to express himself for the greater good.

      CNS allows anonymity so more people from all walks of life can come out of their box and state their concerns. This artist literally throws it in our faces. Good for him! It’s peaceful and to the point. Get used to it.

      If you expect anti-Caymanian bashing as a result of this, you as an individual are very much part of the problem. I doubt anyone will follow your assumption.

  6. Anon says:

    Kudos to him!

  7. Concerned young caymanian mother says:

    POWERFUL!!!!! 1 man CAN make a difference!!! Cayman, the rest of US need to be as BOLD and as BRAVE!!! Kudos to you, you are a work of art! God Bless ;o))

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful. And extremely effective. I bet there will never be any violent crime ever again after this.

  9. Anonymous says:


    Well done my have much respect from a lot of people.

    Keep spreading the messages.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No that’s thinking out of the box!


    I believe the delivery of this message shows the desperate times and URGENT ACTION that is required to stop these few wannabees from ruining our way of life.

    It is high time that those in charge STEP UP and TAKE ACTION and NOW.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully this will catch the attention of the police & other government officials and really bring light to the fact that people want something done. We should not have to wait hoping that criminals will be caught while knowing that they will be let off due to "lack of evidence".

  12. Let's Get Real says:

    Powerful message Sir. It always starts with one.