|Gladwyn "Miss Lassie" Bush|
|Died||24 November 2003|
|Resting place||South Sound Community Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Edward Bloomfield Bush (1909 - 1989)|
|Awards||MBE, Heritage Award (Cayman National Cultural Foundation)|
Life and career
Gladwyn was born in South Church Street, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands in 1914 to Richard and Margaret Bush and was 1 of 10 children. Many Caymanians who grew up with her described Gladwyn in her childhood as being a "wild child". Friends recalled her chasing them and her brothers down the beach with a machete. Others remember her having broken glass bottles lining her fence due to a belief it would protect her household from spirits.
During her life, she was not oblivious to those who declared her a madwoman, but instead took some pride in the matter. Henry Mutoo, one of her biggest supporters even stated “reputation that she had was like a lot of older people – if you get on her wrong side she would curse you. So this is why perhaps she had this reputation of being a madwoman.”
Bush began painting at 62 after an experience she described as "visionary". She was inspired to produce artwork after having multiple visions in her sleep of Jesus visiting her and the island. Her work is a mixture of religious themes and documentation of events that had happened on island. For example, one of her works records a large tidal wave which had struck the island in 1932. She painted mainly in oil on canvas. She also decorated the walls and furnishings of her home with her work.
Her "Visionary" art style also served as inspiration for other artists who have also experienced similar visions.
Bush was awarded the MBE in 1997, receiving it as part of the celebrations surrounding the Queen's Birthday on 15 June 1998. She was also awarded the Heritage Award of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. The foundation also published a book of her paintings, My Markings...the Art of Gladwyn K. Bush, and she has been profiled in numerous books of outsider art. Her paintings are in private collections worldwide, and may also be seen at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Following her death in 2003, possession of Gladwyn's home was given to her son Richard, he died shortly after and the interior was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The land was then purchased in 2008 by and preserved by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. Since April 2011 it has been open as a museum, providing Bi monthly tours every second and 4th Saturday. It is also available for school led tours by appointment.