Local art community mourns death of Bendel Hydes

| 13/06/2024 | 3 Comments

(CNS) The founding father of contemporary art in the Cayman Islands, Bendel Hydes from West Bay, died at the age of 72 on Tuesday morning, a family member confirmed to CNS. The pioneering artists was said to have laid the foundation for the development of the local professional art sector and put Cayman on the road to what is now a vibrant and diverse artistic cultural community.

In a tribute, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands said that Hydes, who moved between Cayman and New York City, was the first Caymanian artist to receive international acclaim for his work.

“Bendel’s practice spanned half a century of creativity, from his early depictions of traditional Caymanian homes in his beloved West Bay, through experimentation with Surrealism and Expressionism, and ultimately to the purely abstract visual language that Bendel referred to as ‘luminescent abstraction’, evidenced in his career-defining series Circumnavigating the Globe (2008-2010),” the gallery said in a press release.

Hydes’ paintings sought to capture his personal and collective experiences and distil these down to the essential elements of light and colour, the release said. Preoccupations with form and colour accelerated artistic debate in the islands, as he advocated for an official cultural infrastructure, taught classes, and eventually co-founded The Inn Theatre, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, serving on their boards for many years.

Throughout his long career he regularly exhibited and taught at home, helping to inspire the next generation of Caymanian artists. The National Gallery has a number of his pieces in its permanent collection and his work is part of several public collections and in private homes, locally and overseas.

In 2019, NGCI’s Cayman Islands Biennial award was named in his honour, positioning Hydes’ work as the pinnacle of artistic excellence. “With his passing, we have lost an artist of extraordinary skill but his endless spirit of discovery and deep ties to home form the basis of a remarkable legacy that will continue to serve as an inspiration to us all,” the gallery said.

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Category: Art & Entertainment, Local News

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A true inspiration to all Caymanian creatives. RIP Bendel.

  2. Schism says:

    Yes these are the icons that deserve to have or are worthy of roads named after them not these rinky dink Lodge minions and their corrupt hegemony of senior or influential jobs in society! Rest in Peace Bendel !

  3. Orrie Merren 🙏🏻🇰🇾 says:

    Sincerest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Hydes.


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