ART AND PART OF BERMUDA
Artist Graham Foster’s paintings bring to life a Bermuda both real and imagined.
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.