A report from The Cayman Reporter.
Simon Tatum is a young Caymanian artist, currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in Studio Drawing at The University of Missouri, Columbia. Since beginning his studieshe has had his work shown in local galleries in Missouri, and is now a part of an artistic experience of a lifetime. Mr Tatum has been selected for the fourth installment of the Caribbean Linked artist residency programme and will be the first artist from the Cayman Islands to participate.
Funded in part by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI), Mr Tatum will have the time and space to work and develop his art practice. The grant towards Mr Tatum’s placement directly supports NGCI’s mission to promote Caymanian art and opportunities for local artists regionally.
Caribbean Linked is a regional residency project and exhibition organised across the Caribbean for young and emerging artists. The residency acts as the foundation of an entire community of artists from all over the Caribbean.
The programme provides a space for artists, creative activists, writers and critics to build relationships and connections across the creative industries, while developing a stronger portfolio and participating in global conversations. Given the major socioeconomic difficulties that emerging creatives face in the region, Caribbean LMr inked aims to assist with the sustainability of artists and intra-regional creative communities. The annual residency is organised by Ateliers ’89 Foundation in collaboration with ARC Inc. and The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. and takes place in Aruba this year.
Mr Tatum has exhibited in Columbia, Missouri along with several group exhibitions since 2014. In 2014 Mr Tatum was one of twenty-three artists featured in the exhibition tIDal shift – Explorations of Identity in Contemporary Caymanian Artat the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI). Through digital media, painting, sculpture, photography and drawing the exhibition explored what it is to be Caymanian, an artist and an artist practicing in Cayman. It was during this exhibition that NGCI Director, Natalie Urquhart introduced Simon’s work to Caribbean Linked executives.
“It is wonderful to see a young Caymanian artist chosen for such an exciting opportunity. Residencies, like Caribbean Linked, not only offer artists time to work but place artists in new communal contexts with new peers and mentors from all over the world. These factors create an environment where artists can make substantial jumps in their work in a short amount of time.The National Gallery is very proud to support Simon and watch him continue to achieve great things. We wish him all the best,” commented Mrs Urquhart.
Mr Tatum’s work focuses primarily on Caymanian history and uses appropriated photographs from the Cayman Islands National Archives. His work also draws upon themes ofcolonial history, migration, and the exploration of personal identity within the context of a Caribbean cultural background.
“My intention is to communicate to the Caymanian people the condition of our history and how easily it can be manipulated by outside sources. My work promotes information literacy to further stimulate a creative society,” he explained.
The National Gallery will be posting information throughout Mr Tatum’s residency on their website (www.nationalgallery.org.ky) and social media pages (@NatGalCayman). For more information on Caribbean Linked visit https://caribbeanlinked.com/. For more information about the artist visit http://www.voyagerart.info/. For more information about opportunities for artists, email firstname.lastname@example.org.