Gombeys was once chosen as the Premier’s Christmas card. *Photo Michael Ives
Gombeys was once chosen as the Premier’s Christmas card. *Photo Michael Ives
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Michael Ives visited Bermuda as an Artist-in-Residence in 2002/2003. 

His work and medium varied while here for a three-month residency. However, it was his ability to capture the colorful Gombey masks that really made his mark. The Gombey, as all Bermudians and residents recognize, is one of the islands esteemed icons and now visible almost throughout the year. They are hired for great occasions and tourism promotion and they are the beat of the island.

In many of the paintings done of the troops, too often they appear static and straight.  That the artist chose to put the masks off centre gives a sense of motion and action, which of course is the very point.

He also cropped and placed the masks very close together, which is apparent in the dance routine. This work was chosen to grace Bermuda’s telephone book some years ago as well as the Premier’s Christmas card for which Masterworks is justifiably
proud. 

Elise Outerbridge is curator at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. www.bermudamasterworks.com


Telethon helped us to rescue Webster’s striking ‘Black’ portraits 

Black Couple is one of three portraits painted by Webster in the winter of 1922. 

When seen in full colour the most striking aspect of these works is the West Indian sense that is evident as well as some influence of Gauguin’s Tahitian work. 

In fact, when the three works are placed together you get a sense of this. 

It was during this period that many West Indians were making their way north on the “banana boats” that traded goods from North America for produce from the islands. The rich foliage and light on the banana leaves further adds mystery and intrigue as to why the male subject is nude. 

The fact that it is titled Black Couple and not “native Bermudian” is most refreshing.

This work along with its two companion pieces were rescued and returned to Bermuda via a telethon — a night that was truly unforgettable. 

We had set a target of $50,000 and with the help of many ZBM staff we managed to raise $51,000 and change thanks to the volunteers who took to the phones and the Bermudians who responded to the appeal was extraor-
dinary!” 

Tom Butterfield is director at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. bermudamasterworks.com