By his own admission, Graham Foster always knew he would devote his career to the mak- ing of art but perhaps he didn’t predict that one day he would literally make history. In 2009, he completed his mural in the pillared hall of Commissioner’s House at the Royal Naval Dockyard, compressing over 500 years
of Bermuda’s history into just 1,000 square feet of wall space. From
that time he has established himself not only as an artist and sculptor
but also as one of Bermuda’s most important illustrators and historians. In 2013, he completed a mural for the Bermuda College Library
which illustrates the works of Bermudian writer Brian Burland. Now
he has completed yet another mural depicting the history of the
Elbow Beach Hotel.
“Around a year ago, I was contacted by Elbow Beach’s consultant,
Harry Kromer,” Foster explains. “He told me the hotel’s general
manager, Ed Burns, was interested in having a mural created. I met
up with Harry at the hotel, and he showed me the mural space: two
100-square foot walls opposite each other at the entrance of the newly
renovated conference rooms. A;er some research, I painted two 1: 12
scale colour miniatures which gave a pretty good idea of what the ;nal
mural might look like. I dropped these o;, and things went quiet for a
while, then I got the call from Harry saying I had the job.”
;e mural, acrylic on plywood, is now displayed in all its glory.
;e ;rst wall focuses on the hotel’s beginnings in 1908–1940, while
the second concentrates on the 1940s to the 1990s.
Research is always key to Foster’s preparation since anachronisms
have to be avoided. What were his sources? ;ey include a book
written by Roger Crombie commemorating Elbow Beach’s 100th
anniversary, numerous photographs, newspaper articles, old hotel
brochures, the Internet and, most important, conversations with
people who have worked or stayed there. But, of course, Foster’s
rich imagination and his skill as a painter transmute his information
into an extraordinary ;ow of swirling vibrant images, allowing his
audience total immersion into Bermuda’s history of hospitality as
experienced at Elbow Beach.