(CNCF) – The winners of the 24th annual National Arts and Culture Awards were announced at a press conference today (19 February). Fifteen individuals, and one company are honoured for their significant contribution to the arts and culture of the Cayman Islands.
Minster for Culture Hon. Dwayne Seymour, Ministry of Culture Chief Office Jennifer Ahearn, and CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo were all on hand to name the winners.
The winners are:
- Jessica Eden – Heritage Cross Award (Gold)
- Steve McField – Heritage Cross Award (Gold)
- Jean-Eric “Notch” Smith – Heritage Cross Award (Gold)
- Morgan DaCosta – Heritage Cross Award (Gold)
- Susan Howe – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Peter Kosa – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Marcia Muttoo – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Charles Long – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Miguel Powery – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Maureen Anderson Berry – Star for Creativity (Gold) *Posthumous
- Gordon Solomon – Star for Creativity (Gold)
- Aston Ebanks – Star for Creativity (Silver)
- Kerri-Anne Chisholm – Star for Creativity (Certificate)
- Sponsor of the Year – Greenlight RE
- Chairman’s Award – Mary Ann Kosa
“The level of talent that exists on our island never ceases to amaze me” commented Minister Seymour. “Throughout history art and culture has been used to share the story of a people. I’m so pleased that we have this vehicle to honour those who are telling the story of our people.” During the press conference past recipients Horacio Esteban (Star for Creativity Gold & 2017 Visionary Award), and Anita Ebanks (Heritage Cross Gold) share their perspective on the significance this award hold for the recipients. Mrs. Ebanks noted that awards allows a society an opportunity to celebrate creators of the art we appreciate, and that it acts as the social justification for supporting the arts. Mr Esteban added that “the greatest thing we can do as human beings is honour our peers.”
Before announcing the winners of this year’s award Mr. Muttoo reflected on the significance of the Arts and Culture Awards. “This is about all of us and not being afraid to say we, and our art, are important.”
Recipients will receive their awards at the Arts and Culture Award Ceremony on Thursday 22 February, at the Harquail Theatre. The winner of the Volunteer of the Year award will be announced on the night of the ceremony. The nominees are Sandra Watler, Tafari Alleyne and Joseph Domingo.
The awards scheme, which began in 1990, recognises artists who have attained a high level of merit in their artistic discipline, individuals who contribute to the preservation of the Caymanian culture, as well as individuals and companies who support the work of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF). Nominations are submitted by the public, then reviewed and selected by the CNCFGrants and Award Committee.
The ceremony also serves as the kick-off event for Cayfest. Cayfest, the Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts, showcases the artistic talents and cultural diversity of the Cayman community. Other events plans for Cayfest include Dress for Culture Day (Friday 23 February) and Red Sky at Night (Saturday 3 March).
About the Awardees:
Jessica Eden is a graduate of Mico Teachers College, Royal Academy of Dance, the Edna Manley School of Performing Arts, and the University of Warwick. She is a founding member and the Assistant Artistic Director of the Cayman Islands National Dance Company and School-Dance Unlimited. Jessica has been teaching dance for 19 years. Her vast knowledge of dance is continuously being shared with her many students throughout the islands as she develops their appreciation and understanding of dance as an art form filled with cultural influences. Jessica has been a dance ambassador for the Cayman Islands on numerous occasions as a member of the Cayman contingent to Carifesta and the Multicultural Festival in Holland. In 2003, she was awarded the CNCF Artistic Endeavour Award for Dance.
Steve McField was called to the Bar in London, England at the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn in 1977 and served as Crown Counsel in the Legal Department from 1997-1998. He has published many articles in the print media and narrated several short documentaries on the Cayman Islands. In 1988, he, the late Orman L. Panton and other Cayman lawyers founded the Caymanian Bar Association. He is a founding member of the Inn Theatre Company and the National Cultural Foundation. In 2011 he was awarded the Cayman Medal of Honour, Commander Class. In 2016, the University College of the Cayman Islands conferred on him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Jean-Eric “Notch” Smith:
Jean-Eric ‘Notch’ Smith has been singing professionally since the late 1970’s, starting at the tender age of 11 as the lead singer of the boy band, The Juveniles. At 20-years old he become the lead singer for Mainstream. When Mainstream disbanded, he formed the band Local Motion, and soon after began promoting major musical concerts through Young Blood Productions. Young Blood has promoted some of Cayman’s most memorable concerts featuring both international and regional artists. Notch also formed the Cayman Craft Market at the old Almond Tree through a partnership with former food and beverage colleagues. He has always been a part of the Cayman and Music Entertainment Association, serving as President for the last eight years. During his tenure, he has been integral in the growth of the MUZAIC Festival Weekend which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2018.
Morgan DaCosta has been entertaining audiences for many years, starting at home in front of his family and friends. In 1995 he joined the cast of Rundown and was an active member up until 2008. In 1997 Morgan joined the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) Board. Since then, he has greatly impacted the preservation and development of arts and culture in the Cayman IslandsAlways wanting to give back to the community, Morgan was a part of the CoDAC Savannah Community Group which helped with the Pirates Week District Day and various other community outreach programs. A past President of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce (2006), he has served as Chairperson for Native Sons and assisted them in organising several of their shows in the early days. He has been involved in taking culture into the schools through “Pass It On” and has been a staunch advocate for the arts and culture in the Cayman Islands.
Susan Howe, originally from Canada, has lived in Grand Cayman for over 25 years. She is a multi-disciplinary artist who has achieved distinction, producing works at a very high level, in both the visual and performing arts. Since 1996, her paintings, drawings and photography have been published and exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Cayman. She is a member of the Visual Arts Society, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, Moving Art and the pre-Hurricane Ivan group, Native Done. Sue has been a member of the Cayman Drama Society, serving on both the membership committee and executive committee, involved with both social functions and as Head of Productions. She has been involved in numerous stage productions as an actor, director, producer, writer, creator, set design/painter and photographer.
For the last 20 years Peter Kosa has worked in virtually every area of the performing arts in Cayman. Equally at home as an actor, director or writer in live theatre, film and radio, and a natural storyteller, Peter’s list of local productions is notable for its size and breadth as he has appeared in 16 Cayman Drama Society (CDS) productions and 4 Cayman National Productions over the years. His other interests include supporting school productions by working in set design, construction and lighting and, often, acting coach for productions at the St. Ignatius Catholic School. He also worked as a morning DJ on Kiss FM, and has acted in two local films, ‘Zombie Driftwood’ and ‘Tripping Through’. Above all else, Peter always works for the good of each and every production with which he’s ever been involved.
Marcia trained as an actress at New York’s Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. She earned her Bachelors (Drama) from New York University and holds a Masters (Arts Management) from City University of New York, where she was a Graduate Fellow.As a member of Groundwork Theatre Company, she toured the Caribbean performing and conducting drama-in-education outreach. She had lead roles inTwo Can Play (Trevor Rhone), Doubt (John Patrick Shanley) and Collected Stories(Donald Margulies), and played the mother of Zoe Saldana and Anthony Mackie’scharacters in Frank E. Flowers’ film Haven. Under the sobriquet, Maya, she hosted Cayman’s leading morning drive broadcast on KISS FM. She feels fortunate to have once opened for Caribbean folk icon, Louise Bennett, and is a member of the Cayman Islands Folk Singers. Since the 1990s, Marcia has been the Managing Director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, while volunteering her time and efforts to Vision 2008, Pirates Week, Batabano, the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, the Schools’ Spelling Bees, and the Steering Committee of the first National Culture and Heritage Policy of the Cayman Islands 2017.
Charles Long was born in Nigeria, West Africa and moved to Cayman Islands with his parent in 1969 and has been a pioneer of Cayman Art since his arrival.Charles is a founding member of the Visual Arts Society of the Cayman Islands. He has created artwork for the cover of the Nor’wester magazine, produced a set of four prints which are now collectors’ items, and in 1976 painted a mural on an interior wall for Radio Cayman which is now in the permanent collection at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.Internationally, Charles has exhibited at Carifesta and the Biennial of Painting in Santa Domingo. Charles is the recipient of a 2000 Artistic Achievement Award from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. Now retired from his job at the Department of Environment, he paints full time from his studio in Savannah. His work remains in high demand and can be viewed and purchased at his studio.
Miguel Powery knew he wanted to be an artist after visiting Mr. Arthur’s General Store as a young boy and discovering a set of paints and brushes.
In the years since Miguel has established himself as one of Cayman’s premier artists. He is a founding member of the Native Sons and has exhibited both locally and overseas with the group and in solo exhibitions. His proudest accomplishments to date include a solo exhibition at The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in 1999; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation in 2003; representing the Cayman Islands at Carifesta in Trinidad; and recently having work commissioned for the Premier’s Office. His work can be found in the collections of The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, The Cayman Islands National Museum and many prominent private collections. Miguel is also a master jewellery maker who works in precious metals, gemstones, coral and amber. His unique creations can be found in stores across the Cayman Islands.
Maureen Anderson Berry:
Maureen Anderson Berry was born in Darby, England. Maureen started her formal art training at The Slade School of Fine Art at 18 years of age. There she gained her diploma alongside her close friend and classmate Jewad Selim, “the Father of modern Iraqi art”. From 1948 to 1950 Maureen’s work was accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London. In 1976 she emigrated to Cayman with her husband and two children. From the beginning, Maureen was struck by the natural beauty of Cayman’s flora and sea vistas and avidly used her watercolours and oils on canvas. She is a founding member of the Visual Arts Society. An active member of the art community in the Cayman Islands, Maureen taught art at the Cayman Brac High School and John Gray High School and was Head of the Art Department at the Middle School. She opened her Art Studio Galleria Marianne on Grand Cayman and the Brac. Her prints, postcards and originals captured the beauty of Cayman’s old houses, shops and seascapes on all three islands.
For Gordon J. Solomon “the love of art and the desire to create has ever been present” in his life. It was 1999 when Gordon was recognised as an aspiring artist within Cayman’s art community with his first ‘Native Sons’ art exhibition, using mixed media of oil and pastels. Inspired by the late Bob Ross, and missionary artist Thomas Kinkade, Gordon began to experiment with oil on canvas. He also gained knowledge of lithography printmaking techniques alongside several of Cuba’s most esteemed artists and spent six months at the University of Superior Art in Cuba developing his skills in fine arts. In 2002, while working at the CI Marine Institute as an Art Instructor, he took on the monumental task of illustrating the past and present history of our islands. The mural was painted on the outer walls of the school. Gordon also influenced the ‘Art Magnet’ youth development afterschool programme which helps youths to develop their artistic talents and has taught art at the National Gallery’s Art Zone afterschool programme. Gordon was the recipient of the 2002 CNCF Artistic Endeavour Award. He has participated in various solo and group shows, locally and internationally, and has received numerous awards.
Aston Ebanks was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Cayman before the age of one. He is a conceptual artist who works in a variety of media and has displayed his work in numerous exhibitions, winning the coveted McCoy Prize for Fine Art in 2005. He works with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands as an outreach Art instructor at Her Majesty’s Prison, Caribbean Haven and the Bonaventure Boys Home. He has organised and hosted the 2006/07 National Gallery’s ‘Eco Art’ party and the Design Tent section of the National Gallery’s 2007 Art Fair. He also works with children at ‘Generation Next’ during Easter and summer vacations. These camps focus on art and respect for the environment. Aston is Assistant Secretary of the Cayman Beautification Committee and as an activist, he promotes the committee’s charter to make Cayman ‘Cleaner and Greener’. His site-specific installation, ‘The Maze’ was erected on the grounds of the National Gallery as a solo exhibition in 2007.
Kerri-Anne Chisholm first became involved with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) through its Creative Careers programme while in high school, and further trained there as a Deutsche Bank intern and summer intern. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Fine Art from Oxford Brookes University and is a recent graduate of the University of Westminster, London where she received a Master of Arts Distinction degree in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary. In 2015 Kerri-Anne returned to Cayman as Assistant Curator of the NGCI with a keen personal interest in the hybridisation of traditional Caymanian heritage and contemporary art. She has assisted and organised a variety of curatorial projects, including co-curator of a posthumous exhibition Sominum Mundi in Oxford. She was also Assistant Curator to Lucy Kimbell for the Oxford Future Forum design exhibition hosted by Salid Buiness School, University of Oxford. Kerri-Anne volunteers her time with various events and research projects, and was selected as secretary of the Visual Arts and Crafts Sub-Committee which helped to draft Cayman’s first Culture and Heritage Policy in 2017.
Mary Ann Kosa:
Mary Anne graduated from the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Music, Honours degree. She later received a Bachelor of Education degree as a Music and Drama specialist from the same university. In 1998, Mary Anne came to Cayman as a music teacher for the CI Government for 4 years, then to St. Ignatius Catholic School where she has been teaching ever since. Cayman has offered Mary Anne many wonderful opportunities to become involved in the arts: with the Government schools, adjudicating and conducting young choirs and singers for the National Children’s Festival of the Arts; with St. Ignatius, conducting for NCFA, and directing and/or producing 5 musicals; with the Cayman Drama Society, acting, singing, directing, producing, and stage managing numerous productions; as a singer with the National Choir for several years; and as a lead actor in two local full length films. At the Cultural Foundation, Mary Anne assisted with the Young at Arts music programme; volunteered as stage manager of a major stage production, ‘Doubt’; and volunteered at ‘Rundown’ and ‘Cayfest – Red Sky at Night’. All in all, Mary Anne Kosa has been a consistent and important part of the Cayman Islands cultural community.