Iconic catboat reinterpreted for gallery top spot

| 30/06/2014

(CNS): A unique new sculpture by local artist Davin Ebanks will be unveiled Tuesday at the entrance of the National Gallery. The eight foot piece, which was the winner of a national competition launched by the gallery and sponsored by Cayman Water Authority at the end of 2013, will sit permanently in the prominent location. In his winning proposal to the judging panel, Ebanks said his piece aimed to blend past and present Cayman. To achieve that goal, he drew on the form a half-model of a traditional Caymanian catboat and reworked this as a minimalist concrete and glass sculpture.The sculpture is two halves of a bow and stern stood upright and situated side by side to create a dynamic form. 

At the centre of Ebanks’ piece is a focal point made out of glass, which captures the light and beauty of the environment. The fragile reflective inset, encased by two onyx-coloured concrete columns, will be made even more striking by the contrasting solemnity and solidity of these two forms.

Whereas virtual images of this sculpture have been published, the physical sculpture itself has yet to be seen by anyone. “Being able to see it in 3D and walk around it will be an entirely different experience from judging it on paper,” said the competition organiser Emé Paschalides. “The back of the sculpture will be a surprising discovery, like an envelope letting out a secret or a flower blooming open.”

The public sculpture will be a reminder to Gallery visitors and passers-by of the importance of thinking creatively and passionately, allowing on-lookers the opportunity to meditate upon the beautiful whole that can be created when cultural variations are brought together, officials from the gallery stated ahead of the unveiling.

“We are thrilled to be unveiling this important piece of public art which stands as a permanent celebration of our maritime heritage, and are extremely grateful to Water Authority Cayman for their vision in partnering with us on this project,” said National Gallery Director, Natalie Urquhart. “Public art plays an important role in society and is often a forum through which to express a country’s unique iconography. Importantly, by bringing artwork “outside” the traditional walls of an art museum and into the public domain it makes the work accessible to the public at all times.”

In its location immediately in front of the gallery’s entrance Urquhart said it will serve as a dynamic introduction to the other artworks in the National Collection which are housed inside the Gallery.

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  1. Kraken says:

    The  Cat Boat design is utilitarian and not claimed by any country, It has been utilized and modified to meet geographic needs.  The Cayman Cat Boat is certainly UNIQUIOE  in it's design and construction compared to other Cat Boat designs. 

    This amazing schulpture captures the essence of the Cayman design of our fore fathers from decades ago and stands to connect our past with the future.

    Well done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The cat boat design is as "Caymanian" as the quadrille dance and wattle and daub, i.e. not at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      It certainly is not an icon.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, the only really Cayman element was using them to slaughter a species to the edge of extinction.  It is the biodiversity equivalent of celebrating Zyklon B cannisters.