Caymanian artists Isy B. and Cera-Tan Kennaird’s collaboration “Rooted in Diversity” launched for the first time at the launch of the 3rd Cayman Islands Biennial at the National Gallery on 31 May 2023.
The Cayman Islands Biennial is a juried exhibition held every two years in which artistic works in all mediums are invited to be submitted around a specific theme. The theme for this biennial was “Conversations from the past in present tense.” From over a hundred submissions, the international jury selected the submissions that best interpreted the theme.
The artwork is a portrait of Isy B. by Kennaird against the backdrop of her own fabric print design based on the folktale "Adara and the Cheetah," narrated by Isy B. As a designer, Isy B. incorporates storytelling, particularly the narrating of folktales into her designs using the African folktale format as her inspiration for creating the new prints and patterns. The painting is an exploration of the different layers of Isy B.’s multicultural Nigerian, British, and Caymanian background as they have evolved in the context of modern Caymanian culture and the idea of finding one's home. Kennaird's portrait invites the viewer to follow the journey of a woman who remains connected to her cultural heritage while adapting to a new cultural environment. The painting celebrates the diversity of cultures and the rich history of co-existence of that diversity in the Cayman Islands. As an artist, Kennaird is interested in exploring the concept of "hybridity" in Caymanian culture, highlighting the ways in which different cultural identities intersect and interact within Caymanian society. "Conversations with the Past - In the Present Tense II" is a visual representation of this exploration, a conversation about cultural identity in modern-day Caymanian society.
Kennaird confides; “Not only was it fun to bring together our different styles in this meaningful artwork but an incredibly special relationship blossomed.”
With this collaboration, Isy B. is proud to exhibit at the Cayman Island Biennial for the second time, continuing her history of contribution to the art scene of the Islands.
A joint exhibition at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in 2017 titled “The Art of Fashion” in collaboration with fellow Caymanian artist and designer Jawara Alleyne resulted in Isy B. being awarded the bronze star from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation for her contribution to Caymanian arts and culture.
The 3rd Cayman Islands Biennial exhibition; “Conversations from the Past in Present tense.” will be on display at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and exhibition spaces across all 3 islands until September 2023.
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