What can you do with 1,000 square feet of white space? Dr. Edward Harris, director of the National Museum of Bermuda, faced that question during the restoration of the Commissioner’s House in Dockyard. His answer? Use it as a canvas to capture the island’s unique history. In 2000, Dr. Harris commissioned the work to Bermudian artist Graham Foster, who describes the project as “a pretty daunting task but also… a one-in-a-million [chance].” Foster pored through history books and conducted an exhaustive online search to immerse himself in the subject. He used this knowledge to create a model of his vision. It would take another five years before he was given the green light to begin the project. Three years and 7,000 hours later, Foster completed what has been one of the most complex works he has ever undertaken. The result is a two-storey mural that chronicles 500 years of Bermuda’s history in intricate, vivid and colourful detail. Foster ingeniously uses elements like trees, waterways and pathways to transition from one scene to the next, maintaining a smooth visual flow throughout. And his brush expertly navigates an irregular canvas that varies greatly in shape and dimension. The Hall of History Mural was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on November 25, 2009. From the dramatic depiction of the wreck of the Sea Venture in 1609 — which brought the first settlers to the island — to the modern-day airplanes and cruise ships that dominate the crest of one wall, Foster’s work captures the diversity of the flora, fauna, marine life and people of Bermuda. Sailboats abound; waters teem with life; and the social, political and cultural fabric of the island has all been meticulously commemorated. Foster hopes one day to be able to show his work to his great-grandchildren. If it’s anything like Bermuda’s history, the mural will tell its story for far longer.
Published by HCP Media. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://experiencebermuda.customtravelmags.com/article/History+On+The+Walls/1031321/107406/article.html.