ART AND PART OF BER­MUDA

Artist Gra­ham Fos­ter’s paint­ings bring to life a Ber­muda both real and imag­ined.

Yachting - - ISLAND ICON - By Kristin Baird Rat­tini

For a crash course on ber­mu­dian cul­ture, there’s no bet­ter source than Gra­ham Fos­ter. This 47-year-old na­tive artist is cel­e­brated for his de­tailed paint­ings of Ber­muda’s peo­ple and places, flora and fauna, of­ten in a style he calls mid-At­lantic sur­re­al­ism. ¶ Fos­ter spent more than 7,000 hours cre­at­ing the Hall of His­tory for the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ber­muda at the Royal Naval Dock­yard. It’s a 1,000-square-foot mu­ral that chron­i­cles five cen­turies of the is­land’s his­tory. “It can feel a bit of vis­ual over­load,” he ad­mits. “There are more ob­vi­ous parts that tourists will pick up on — Ber­muda Cathe­dral, Hamil­ton City Hall — and more sub­tle de­tails that lo­cals will rec­og­nize.” Look for the Easter eggs: Gombeys pa­rade on stilts, a pack race tears up a street, and leg­endary diver Teddy Tucker hoists an emer­ald from a Span­ish ship­wreck. ¶ Cruis­ers can find Fos­ter’s work at Fly­ing Colours on Hamil­ton’s Queen Street, the Ber­muda Arts Cen­tre at Dock­yard, and on his web­site, gra­ham­fos­ter.com.

How would you de­scribe mid-At­lantic sur­re­al­ism? It’s an al­ter­nate uni­verse where any­thing is pos­si­ble: gi­ant mech­a­nized rain­bow wheels on the shore­line, a troop of colo­nial-era sol­diers march­ing off a pier where a tiger shark awaits, etc. All of th­ese sce­nar­ios take place in a uniquely Ber­mu­dian en­vi­ron­ment. How did Ber­muda be­come your prime sub­ject? Af­ter knock­ing around Ber­muda for the last 40-plus years, I have the iconog­ra­phy of Ber­muda in­grained in me. Liv­ing on a 20-squaremile is­land, you are con­stantly aware of the hori­zon where the sea meets the sky, so this fea­tures as a back­drop in many of my paint­ings. What do you hope vis­i­tors take away from your paint­ings? On cold win­ter nights, I hope they feel warmed by th­ese Ber­mu­dian im­ages and re­mem­ber the great time they had here and what a beau­ti­ful place it is.

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