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Masterworks draws from the elements for heritage shows

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Quarrymen and guests at Southlands, Warwick, circa 1913 (File photograph)

Bermuda’s heritage in land, sea and stone is being showcased at the Masterworks Museum of Art.

The Paget gallery has marked Heritage Month with two permanent collection shows to run through this summer: Bermuda: Land, Sea & Stone and (Un)Traditional.

Both exhibitions reflect the island’s collective cultural experience from traditional and non-traditional standpoints.

Land, Sea & Stone, in the museum’s Mezzanine gallery, highlights Bermuda’s long traditional trades of farming, fishing and quarrying.

Fishing at Ducking Stool Park (File photograph)

Agriculture has played an essential role in Bermuda culture and natural heritage – while fishing represents the longest continuous human activity in the island’s waters.

Stone explores the work of Bermudian quarrymen of the early 20th century, with stone cutting marking a basic Bermudian trade across centuries.

Bermudian historian Lawrence Mills loaned several of the visual elements incorporated in the Stone display, including the chisel and pole used to pry stone from the quarry face.

Men planting Easter Lily bulbs, possibly on the farm of Howard Smith, St David's Island, around the historic Carter House (File photograph)

The (Un)Traditional exhibition in the Butterfield gallery incorporates nearly 50 works taken from the Masterworks permanent collection.

The show brings together artworks telling Bermuda’s story from “new and unseen perspectives”, said the museum.

It includes rarely seen works from local artists Bruce Stuart, Sharon Muhammed (née Wilson), Graham Foster, Otto Trott and Charles Zuill.

Jasmine Lee, the exhibitions officer, said each trip she took into the museum’s vault – where works are stored when not on display – it felt like “I uncover something new each time”.

“With this exhibition, I really wanted to showcase some of our hidden treasures, of works by local, living artists, of the many contributions of our past artists in residence, and of artists who push or pushed Bermuda’s art into the contemporary.”

Risa Hunter, the museum’s executive director, said the two exhibitions highlighted “the importance of uncovering underrepresented visual narratives of our island culture”.

“The hidden gems of our collection come to life in these colourful shows that exemplify the dynamic and varied interpretations of Bermuda.”

A tribute to the late botanical artist Christine Watlington continues in the museum’s Rick Faries gallery until June 14.

(Un)Traditional and Bermuda: Land, Sea & Stone are on show through to August.

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Published May 25, 2022 at 7:49 am (Updated May 25, 2022 at 7:39 am)

Masterworks draws from the elements for heritage shows

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