(CMR) Bendel Hydes will receive the Visionary Award for Visual Fine Arts at this year’s Cayman National Cultural Foundation National Arts & Culture Award on 17 February.
As the Cayman Islands’ foremost visual artist, Bendel Hydes is rightly recognized as the founding father of contemporary art in the Cayman Islands. During his 50-year career as a professional artist, he has carried the torch for Caymanian culture locally and overseas. Hydes’ work has been exhibited in prestigious art institutions, including the Commonwealth Institute in London and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. His work has also been featured in several of the most prominent international exhibitions of Caribbean art.
Hydes was instrumental in co-founding the National Theatre, the precursor to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI). He has also taught numerous artist’s workshops at both CNCF and NGCI, helping to train the next generation of Caymanian artists.
In 2004 Hydes was made cultural attaché to the United States, serving as a cultural ambassador for Cayman and helping to further support the promotion of Caymanian culture overseas.
The importance of Hydes’ work in art historical circles is reflected by his inclusion in seminal publications on Caribbean art and artists. He also has the distinction of being the only Caymanian artist to receive a FULL career retrospective at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in 2019, which was accompanied by a 200-page scholarly publication.