Miss Lassie’s home receives world monument listing

| 10/12/2012

lassie.jpgCNS): The Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) will be opening the restored and renovated house of one of Cayman’s most famous local artists this weekend. The 'Mind's Eye’ project, which has resulted in the preservation of the home of Miss Lassie, Cayman’s world renowned visionary artist, will officially open on 15th December. This site is where Gladwyn K "Lassie" Bush lived her entire life and extensive work has been undertaken to restore and preserve both the buildings and her paintings, many of which are on the property itself.  The unique markings on the walls add to the cultural significance of the home and earned it a place on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch List.

"The 2012 WMF Watch List designation is quite prestigious as it recognises the importance of the property in a global context and, by extension, the life and work of Cayman's mother of art, Miss Lassie," the CNCF stated. “It brings the local cultural heritage site, now called 'Mind's Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie', to the attention of other like-minded international institutions and gives CNCF greater leverage in seeking and obtaining funding.”

Last year the Minister for Culture announced that the government was continuing its support of the project by injecting $500,000 dollars into it over a four year period. 

"To think the Cayman Islands has a cultural treasure that shares the company of amazing sites such as the Great Wall of China, Quetzalcoatl Temple, Taj Mahal and Valley of the Kings, is truly inspiring," said Martyn Bould, Chairman of the CNCF Board.

Miss Lassie, a fourth-generation Caymanian, had never painted before the age of 62. It was only when she began to have religious visions that she picked up a paintbrush. From then until her death in 2003 she painted prolifically with any kind of paint she could lay her hands on. Miss Lassie painted not only on canvas but also on the walls, windows and ceilings of her house. Even some of her pillows and furniture were decorated with her images. 

The opening of the museum will be marked with a special celebration in partnership with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI), which will be displaying 25 original works from the CNCF collection for its 'Prayer Canvases' exhibition, which opens on 18 December until 15 March, 2013.

Natalie Urquhart, NGCI Director, said, "We are delighted to be partnering with the CNCF on the Miss Lassie exhibition 'Prayer Canvases' and to help celebrate the end of what has been a remarkable year in the preservation of her home and work. CNCF and their supporters are to be commended for their efforts in securing her legacy for future generations,"

Once Miss Lassie's House opens to the public on 15 December, the CNCF said it will offer guided tours and intuitive arts sessions. Tours will be scheduled from 10am – 11am on the second and last Saturday of each month and will be by appointment only. The waterfront duplex, known as the Mind's Eye Intuitive Art Centre, will also become available for hire for private functions and events.

Lorna Bush, CNCF Programmes and Public Education Officer, commented, “All of us at CNCF are looking forward to working even harder in the coming year as we continue the essential work of preserving the cultural heritage that tells our islands' story."

The CNCF revealed that it is still in need of cash to help maintain the national treasure for future generations. The generosity of the community has allowed the foundation to stabilise Miss Lassie's House and to partly restore the Mind's Eye Intuitive Art Centre on the property.

However, the cultural foundation says that work remains to be done and funds are still needed. It appealed to anyone wishing to make a donation to send a cheque made out to CNCF to PO Box 30201, Grand Cayman KY1-1201, Cayman Islands, or call 949-5477 for credit card or debit card donations.  To book a tour, intuitive art session or enquire about rentals, interested parties can contact CNCF at cncf@candw.ky or call (345) 949 5477.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh goodie I will be 62 soon and I can start painting my visions – especially being in the Brac cause we need our own world recognised monument- think it will work????

  2. Anonymous says:

    The full cultureal imersion experienced by visiting when Miss Lassie was alive is not to be forgotten. Chairs, pillows and bedding were all painted. The kitchen was a chaos of open tins of food gone bad, the beloved dog tied out back in the dust, the quiet, bearded son moving about just out of sight, and the hundreds of fleas jumping on your legs while you stood (no space to sit in the chairs that were covered with paintings, paint and painted household items). There was a painted guitar and a broom with a paintbrush tied on to it for painting the ceilings. She even painted her chain link fence. She welcomed even total strangers to her home with a shy smile and spoke of being ready to meet her Lord. I hope the people in charge retain this authencity, if only with photographs. It was a messy place, and while we can't ask for spoiled sweet milk and flies and fleas, Let's not clean and refurbish the place and erace the environment where she lived and worked. Truly, she was a bit delusional, but in the nicest possible way; and her work, called "primitive" or "intuitive" has a special charm. She had a special charm herself, that won't be recaptued in this building that was her home without some "out of the box"thinking. I just hope they don't sterilize the place and lose her spriit.

    • Anonymous says:

      OK so she was an eccentric untidy woman…does this justify the lofty pronouncements of World heritage staus…? Some people do take themselves very seriously indeed.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Grandfather Troll says:

    $500,000 already spent on this fiasco?  INCREDIBLE!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    reminds me of a story I was told as a child, the one about the Emperor's New Clothes!

  6. Anonymous says:

    In Retrospect ……….. Bulldozing Fort George and rebuilding it twice, using the Slave wall as foundations for the present airport runway and having a blatant disregard for anything truly cultural were possibly all bad ideas.

    So why bother with this?

    • Anonymous says:

      At least some use was made of the vertical rubble called Fort George and Slave wall.

      This house can be relocated to the Museum site for preservation and the very valuable land given to the public as apicnic beach….but then the CNCF photo op people would miss out  their moments in the press..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Embarrassing nonsense and poor old Martyn Bould has to spout that awful drivel (sharing the company of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, for God's sake) because that is what is expected of him and others related to the Arts in Cayman. Ms Lassie's stuff would be unnoticed anywhere else except Cayman.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a joke. The delusional scrawls of hyper religiosity which coat-tailed the end of the aboriginal naive art fad bubble is not worthy of any recognition whatsoever.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great wall of China ? Taj Mahal…?  We'd better hurry and expand the airport.

  10. Anonymous says:

    O Give me a break…!!