Miss Lassie

ABOUT MISS LASSIE

A 4th generation Caymanian, Gladwyn K, “Lassie” Bush began painting at the age of 62, after what she describes as a visionary experience. Strong Christian themes run through her work, which she painted not only on canvas, but also on the walls, windows a and furnishings of her home. Mrs. Bush was awarded a national honour, Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1997 and received the award during the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in Grand Cayman on 15 June 1998. She was also a recipient of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Heritage Award. Her work is documented in the 156-page art book, My Markings – the Art of Gladwyn K. Bush, published by the Cultural Foundation. Examples of her work formed part of the UNESCO supported travelling exhibition of contemporary Caribbean Art, ‘Carib Art’, in 1993 and she is one of the artists profiled in books on intuitive art worldwide: Raw Creation (Phaidon Press), Caribbean Art (Themes and Hudson) and Fantasy Worlds (Benedikt Taschen Verlag). Her work is in private collections in England, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, Germany and the Cayman Islands, and in the collection of the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Miss Lassie passed away on Monday, 24 November 2003 at the age of 89.

MIND’S EYE – THE VISIONARY WORLD OF GLADWYN K. BUSH, “MISS LASSIE”

Mind’s Eye

MISS LASSIE’S HOUSE

Miss Lassie’s House is an authentic turn of the century Caymanian wattle and daub abode, built by her father and grandfather, who started to work on it in 1878.  The living and sleeping quarters were completed three years later, in 1881.  In the early part of last century, the house became a major hub (way-station) for travellers to George Town from the Eastern districts. It boasted many hammocks where travellers could rest and refresh themselves before continuing their journey.  13 people lived in the house at one time or other – Miss Lassie’s mother and father and eleven siblings, of which she was the last.

When Miss Lassie started painting what she saw in her “mind’s eye”, as she described it, she painted on the walls, windows and ceilings of the house, transforming it into, not only a place of historic relevance, but also a piece of art in and of itself. 

In 2009 after her death and that of her only son, the Cayman Islands Government purchased the property and vested it in the Cultural Foundation.  Since that time, CNCF has meticulously restored and preserved the artist’s home for the people of the Cayman Islands to experience an embodiment of their cultural and artistic heritage, to keep alive the memory of the artist as a National Cultural Treasure and, by its use, to educate, promote, develop and research Caymanian and intuitive art, culture and heritage.

The single-storey, 5-bay timber-framed building comprises two distinct parts with timber partitioned rooms. Fronting onto the street is the older 3-roomed cottage of local hardwood that resists insect attack – “ironwood” posts with infill panels of local “candlestick” wood, pasted over with local lime daub with a local binding agent taken from the cactus “tuna” plant.  Called the “Ironwood Portion” the cottage has a timber floor about 2’.6” inches from the ground and hip roof measuring approximately 32’ by 17’.  There are five windows and four full door openings, shuttered by half panels, that open in opposite directions. Its original covering was silver-thatch palm leaves, later changed to wood shingles and now corrugated metal. But for the change of roof covering, this cottage is an authentic example of classical Caymanian vernacular architecture.  In 1949, a 3-room, metal shed-roofed, attachment – the “Clinker-Siding Portion” was added by Miss Lassie’s brother, Floriston. It is attached to the Southern end of the cottage and sits directly on a concrete slab, approximately 32’ by 12’.  Timber batten doors and windows, some from pine, are hinged to the House with salvaged ship parts. 

A duplex, backing onto the sea, was built in the 1980s as an income-earning property.  It is also timber-framed with metal gable roof, industrial horizontal windows, and wooden doors.

The home has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and local television programming, and on the World Monument Fund’s 2012 Watch List, bringing international attention to the unique heritage site.

Dummy
VISITING MIND’S EYE

CNCF offers guided tours of Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie. Guided tours are scheduled from 10 to 11am on the second and fourth Saturday of each month and are by appointment only. Admission US$10 per adult and US$5 for seniors and children under 12. Please note that tours can accommodate groups of up to eight (8) persons maximum. Visitors are able to view the inside of the wattle and daub house, where the walls and ceilings are covered in Miss Lassie’s paintings. The house has been restored to replicate what it would have looked like when Miss Lassie and her family lived there.

Mind’s Eye is located at #4 South Sound Road, at the intersection of Walkers Road and South Sound Road. To book a guided tour please contact CNCF at cncf@artscayman.org or call (345) 949-5477.

STUDENT TOURS

The heritage site is open for student tours during the school year.

The programme, designed to cater to students from ages four to 16-plus, allows students and their teachers to access the site during school hours and participate in life-enriching cultural activities. Participants learn valuable lessons about traditional Caymanian architecture, Caymanian shipbuilding in the community, and pivotal moments in Cayman Islands’ history, such as the ’32 hurricane.

In addition, the daily life in a Caymanian household, traditional life in the South Sound community, and the activities of a seafaring family are brought alive for today’s youth as they walk through Miss Lassie’s house and yard.

Tours are led by CNCF’s lead docent, Virginia Foster, a retired educator, assisted by a Cultural Intern, or volunteers who help with age appropriate art activities and videos. They all enjoy the opportunity to share Miss Lassie’s home with the students, to celebrate Caymanian heritage and to inspire future generations with the creative talents of Cayman’s own unique visionary intuitive artist.

“Prior to the recognition of Miss Lassie, all of the critically acclaimed intuitive painters in the English-speaking Caribbean were men. In her, we have discovered an uncommon artist, a female intuitive painter of a calibre equivalent to America’s Ma Moses, Mattie Lou Kelly and Sister Gertrude Morgan,” wrote Karl Jerry Craig, former Deputy Dean, Faculty of Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica in the book Introduction to My Markings: The Art of Gladwyn K. Bush, Caymanian Visionary Intuitive, 1994.

Contact CNCF at 949-5477 or send an email to cncf@artcayman.org

  • Interview with Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director
  • Interview with artist Sue Howe
  • Painting Conservation Update by Gregory Howarth

MIND’S EYE – THE VISIONARY WORLD OF GLADWYN K. BUSH, “MISS LASSIE”

Mind’s Eye

ABOUT MISS LASSIE

A 4th generation Caymanian, Gladwyn K, “Lassie” Bush began painting at the age of 62, after what she describes as a visionary experience. Strong Christian themes run through her work, which she painted not only on canvas, but also on the walls, windows a and furnishings of her home. Mrs. Bush was awarded a national honour, Member of the British Empire (MBE)in 1997 and received the award during the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in Grand Cayman on June 15,1998. She was also a recipient of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Heritage Award. Her work is documented in the 156-age art book, My Markings -the Art of Gladwyn K. Bush, published by the Cultural Foundation. Examples of her work formed part of the travelling exhibition of contemporary Caribbean Art, ‘Carib Art’, and she is one of the artists profiled in books on intuitive art worldwide: Raw Creation (Phaidon Press), Caribbean Art (Themes and Hudson) and Fantasy Worlds (Benedikt Taschen Verlag). Her work is in private collections in England, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, Germany and the Cayman Islands, and in the collection of the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Miss Lassie passed away on Monday, November 24, 2003 at the age of 89.

Dummy
VISITING MIND’S EYE

CNCF now offers guided tours at Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie. Guided tours will be scheduled from 10 to 11am on the second and fourth Saturday of each month and will be by appointment only. Admission US$10 per adult and US$5 for seniors and children under 12. Please note that tours will accommodate groups of up to eight (8) persons. Visitors are able to view the inside of the wattle and daub house, where the walls and ceilings are covered in Miss Lassie’s paintings and the house will be set up to replicate what it would have looked like when Miss Lassie and her family lived there.

Mind’s Eye is located at #4 South Sound Road, at the intersection of Walkers Road and South Sound Road. To book a guided tour please contact CNCF at cncf@artscayman.org or call (345) 949-5477.

STUDENT TOURS

The Heritage Site is now open for student tours throughout the school year.

The programme, designed to cater to students from ages four to 16-plus, allows students and their teachers to access the site during school hours and participate in life-enriching cultural activities. Participants learn valuable lessons about traditional Caymanian architecture, Caymanian shipbuilding in the community, and pivotal moments in Cayman Islands’ history, such as the ’32 hurricane.

In addition, the daily life in a Caymanian household, traditional life in the South Sound community, and the activities of a seafaring family are brought alive for today’s youth as they walk through Miss Lassie’s house and yard. Above all, Miss Lassie’s paintings, and art as a medium for self-expression and national identity, are evident in her paintings, which visitors see up close and personal on her walls, windows and doors, and that are presented in Miss Laddie’s own accounts as recorded on video.

Tours are led by CNCF’s lead docent, Virginia Foster, a returned educator, assisted by one of our Cultural Interns, along with volunteers who help with appropriate art activities and videos. They all enjoy the opportunity to share Miss Lassie’s home with the students, to celebrate Caymanian heritage and to inspire future generations with the creative talents of Cayman’s own unique visionary intuitive artist.

“Prior to the recognition of Miss Lassie, all of the critically acclaimed intuitive painters in the English-speaking Caribbean were men. In her, we have discovered an uncommon artist, a female intuitive painter of a calibre equivalent to America’s Ma Moses, Mattie Lou Kelly and Sister Gertrude Morgan,” wrote Karl Jerry Craig, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica in the book Introduction to My Markings: The Art of Gladwyn K. Bush, Caymanian Visionary Intuitive, 1994.

This cultural education programme is made possible by the generous corporate sponsorship of APPLEBY. Class teachers receive printed materials to help them continue the learning experience in the classroom.

Schools who have not already done so are encouraged to book their tour dates early for the academic school year. Contact CNCF at 949-5477 or send an email to cncf@artcayman.org

  • Interview with Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director
  • Interview with artist Sue Howe
  • Painting Conservation Update by Gregory Howarth

Conserved and restored by CNCF for future generation. We are currently seeking sponsorship for this initiative.

Email: cncf@artscayman.org to support Mind’s Eye