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Artist Graham Foster Brings Bermuda to Life

You haven't seen Bermuda until you've seen it through Graham Foster's eyes.

October 10, 2018
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graham foster art
Queen Elizabeth II presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Bermuda museum’s Hall of History, which Foster created. Graham Foster

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.

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How would you describe mid-Atlantic surrealism?

graham foster art
Artist Graham Foster’s paintings bring to life a Bermuda both real and imagined. Meredith Andrews

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?

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After knocking around Bermuda for the last 40-plus years, I have the iconography of Bermuda ingrained in me. Living on a 20-square-mile 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.

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