Think of the typical underpass on a road and how boring it is with its drab grey concrete walls.
Now think about the West Bay Road underpass that runs through Camana Bay. Over the course of this year, the concrete walls of this underpass have been turned into a gigantic work of art through the painting of several, colourful interconnected murals.
There are three different designs and together they tell a story, each suggesting a unique aspect to Cayman Islands’ life, which makes driving through the underpass something of an experience.
Fragile corals are kept company by a series of diagonal blue stripes, so that as each one flashes past it creates a rhythm just like big, blue waves breaking obliquely on the shore. Then there is another design — oranges and yellows, crimsons and purples, the colours of local flowers, complementing the lush greens of tropical foliage.
Dart's Keri Lawrence is one of the team of graphic designers who helped create the floral design, which was then given to Carlos Garcia, one of Cayman’s leading mural artists, to paint.
The inspiration for the design idea came from the "Focus on Flora" book that Lawrence worked on last year. That book, which was a collection of "Focus on Flora" columns that have appeared in "Camana Bay Times" since 2017, tells about various plants that grow in Camana Bay. Lawrence chose some of the flowers that appear in that book for her design.
“After I picked some flowers I thought were best, our team then matched the colours to the flowers that we thought fit,” she said.
The flowers included yellow-bells, hibiscus, orchids and bougainvillea. They — and the foliage, too – all appear in the Cayman landscape.
“We have put in some banana orchids since they are our national flower, and the silver thatch palm because it is endemic to Cayman with many different cultural references in our history,” Lawrence said. “We are hoping that the design adds some colour to the walls of the underpass for people to enjoy when driving or walking through. Not only did we want to create something beautiful for people to take photos with and enjoy, but we also wanted people to notice, talk about and possibly learn about the banana orchid or silver thatch palm and their significance to the Cayman Islands.”
Lawrence first came to Dart as an intern and has been a valued member of the Dart creative team for more than five years, doing mostly graphic design.
“I always did some form of art growing up, so I knew I would be in the art field somewhere and I landed on graphic design,” she said.
This article appears in print in the August 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Christopher Tobutt.
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