Owners give back Miss Lassie paintings

| 31/08/2021 | 54 Comments
One of Miss Lassie’s paintings returned to the Cayman Islands with Minister Bernie Bush (left) and local musician Michael LeMay

(CNS): An American couple who bought several paintings from the artist Gladwyn K Bush, better known as Miss Lassie, more than 20 years ago have given the paintings back to the Cayman Islands. Lyle Lawson and Gordon Jaynes recently shipped the three pieces of culturally significant work to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation from London and the crate was opened at the Harquail Theatre on Saturday.

Culture Minister Bernie Bush opened the box to reveal Simeon and Jesus in the Synagogue (oil on glass), The History of Cayman, and Let There Be Light (oil on canvas), which will now form part of the National Collection and will be stored in a temperature-controlled room.

“I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to all concerned for the safe arrival and return home of what can only be described as three magnificent pieces of local art,” said Bush. “Such unique artwork, which the CNCF is holding in trust for the people of the Cayman Islands, is well worth sharing. The ministry is therefore eager to support public awareness initiatives and exhibits, which will bring the work of our local artists to wider attention,”

Martin Bould, the chair of the CNCF board who introduced the couple to Miss Lassie, said it was heart warming to see the paintings returned to Cayman.

“In some ways it completes Miss Lassie’s collection of which the Cultural Foundation is the custodian, and in addition, her house which is on the World Monument watch list,” he said.

Miss Lassie started painting at 62 years old and is widely acknowledged as the Mother of Caymanian Art and a visionary artist. This latest donation brings the total number of Miss Lassie’s work in the National Collection to 140. Speaking of the significance of the pictures, Henry Muttoo, the CNCF’s Artistic Director and expert on her work, said the paintings represent three key points in her life

Simeon and Jesus In The Synagogue is brilliant, perhaps her most ‘painterly’ work with a strongly religious theme while also referencing her personal history,” he explained. “Let There Be Light portrays Christ as the light of her life, while the third, The History of the Cayman Islands, gives a pictorial chronology from Columbus’ sighting of our islands right up to the time of when it was painted,” he added.

Miss Lassie work has previously featured in the Carib Art Exhibition (Curacao) and both the Surinam and Guyana CARIFESTAs. The last major on-island retrospective of Miss Lassie’s paintings was at the Harquail Theatre in 2003.

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Category: Art & Entertainment, Local News

Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And yet they are so anti the expats who don’t look like them, 5:15, just like so many from that island they come from.

  2. Anonymous says:

    to put this out into the world as our culture is embarrassing.

  3. Tony says:

    Perhaps I was too harsh. It would look good on the fridge.

  4. Anonymous says:

    LOLL apparently everybody is picasso in this comment section.

  5. Tony says:

    That painting looks like Old Man Winter puking fire.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I lived down the street from Ms Lassie growing up. She was an absolute lunatic who threatened my life many times for no good reason other than her being a crazy person. She was nuts and not even close to a nice person. The fact she is a national treasure now with these crap paintings is embarrassing. Know your history …

    • Anonymous says:

      We used to think she was a witch at CCC and talk about how she’d put out broken glass for trespassers. Not sure if either are true…

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t know about the glass in the yard but she had a crazy notice pinned to a tree, threatening anyone who came in the yard.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I always wonder about retrospective veneration of artists after they pass on, like Van Gogh – hailed as a great artist today, viewed as stark starting bonkers by his contemporaries. Does anyone know how her fellow Caymanians at the time viewed her and her painting – call me cynical but I suspect they were not as effusive about her art as Mr Muttoo.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Art is extremely and completely subjective. But really, this is quite a primitive painting similar to that of a child.
    And some see that as art. Mostly you can find these attached to refrigerators by magnets. And it can be lovely! To the eye of the beholder.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I clicked on the green sad emoji but only because it seemed lonely at 0%

  10. Anonymous says:

    I guess they did not get their Status and got fed up looking at this piece of work and it just reminded them of the piece of paradise they lost.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Lassie could outpaint Mark Rothko any day of the week. Hell, I could probably paint like that myself.

    And any of us can open a can of paint and let it drip on canvas, but when Jackson Pollock does the same thing it is worth millions. Just saying.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It took them 20+ years to find their glasses?

  13. ELVIS says:

    Speechless artwork

  14. MR says:

    Ah yes, Miss Lassie. She does spirs up people’s imagination. She was known to be a very spiritual woman. But I don’t know why her paintings got so much recognition in far away places … and by whom ??? Who started giving her a good name? But … yes, I am a Caymanian that believe things happen for a reason. I even dreamt about meeting Miss Lassie at her doorstep and we chat. When I asked someone about my dream and its location, I learnt it was Miss Lassie’s house I dreamt about. Never met her alive, but in my dream. And that’s how interest took me and I started learning about her. I later learnt she claimed to have had visions and dreams. Hmmm … And she did many of her paintings off the visions and dreams. When she had no paper or material to paint on, she was moved to paint on her wooden house, inside and out. But someone, I believe (dont know if this is absolutely true) had no sense of the value of her art, and painted over much of what she painted. I guess they thought her house looked too cartoon. [Shake my head] … It is almost like how we tore down the original ancient pedro castle remains, and replaced it with a modern day painted building.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’d send them back too.

  16. Anonymous says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    Only in the Cayman Islands could ‘art’ like this be of cultural and historical significance. That really is grasping at straws.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Can’t be exhibition be called “Lassie Come Home”?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hardly remarkable.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Looks like it was drawn by a child

  21. JTB says:

    My five year old daughter regularly does better

  22. Anonymous says:

    Can we not send them back to them? At their expense?

    • Bewildered says:

      Lawson and James must be laughing all the way to the Bank. Please let us know how many million dollars we paid to bring this garbage back. My guess they paid a couple of dollars for each painting. Please tell me that this isn’t real it is just an April Fool’s joke in August.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely garbage paintings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because it doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t make it garbage.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are right – its the complete lack of any artistic skill or talent in creating the painting that makes it garbage.

  24. Anonymous says:

    More for the WTE plant.

    • Anonymous says:

      But first let’s have another cocktail party at CNCF expense and get my picture with the Governor.

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