Curated by Kerri-Anne Chisholm, “Mediating Self – Identity and the Body” draws on the permanent collections of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI), the Cayman Islands National Museum (CINM), the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) and private collections to investigate the ways the human form is used in artworks.
The works highlight different aspects of our individual and collective identities, and span a timeline of over 40 years of art production. Artworks in the exhibition range from drawings, lithographs, watercolors and pastels on paper, paintings on canvas and board, and sculptural works, to photography and video installations. The exhibition opened in the lower exhibition hall at the National Gallery on June 30.
Taking direction from traditional portraiture, the show considers the functions of the human body in artworks such as historical documentation, biography, memorial, and identification functions. The artworks are grouped into two main categories: self-reflection and work and social Life. Within these categories are further discussions of familial expectations, cultural and social practices, along with work and the evolution of careers and gender.
NGCI Assistant Curator, Kerri-Anne Chisholm notes, “The way that we portray ourselves is a nonverbal statement. The human body expresses statements of race, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnicity. Our bodies communicate signals. Our dress choice, language and very presentation of our bodies actively express our sense of self. Within occupations, social and familial responsibilities, affiliations and expectations held, we construct and navigate our identities. Multiple identities are necessary and are constructed both consciously and unconsciously.”
In the exhibition, visitors can find an education space designed for kids and families. The space includes videos on the history of portraiture from traditional oil paintings to modern digital selfies, interactive artworks, and a timeline of significant artists and portraits from the early historical artists. The family space is designed to provide children of all ages with information which they can then use to engage with the larger exhibition.
The temporary exhibition, “Mediating Self” closes on Sept. 21. For more information about special lectures, workshops and family programs related to the exhibition, visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.