FetAfrik 2015 - when Africa's and Seychelles art meet
Launch of the AfrikArt exhibition as part of the 2015 Seychelles-African festival, FetAfrik (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An exhibition of various works of art from Zambia, Reunion and Seychelles opened yesterday afternoon at the National Art Gallery in the Seychelles capital of Victoria.
The visual arts exhibition dubbed AfrikArt brings together the work of 12 artists on the theme of African art giving the Seychellois public an opportunity to admire the originality, diversity and creativity that emerges from these paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
This is the first activity organized as part of FetAfrik which officially begins today. The Seychelles-Africa festival is an annual event on the Seychelles calendar to promote the cultural and historical links between Africa and the 115-island archipelago situated off the continent's eastern coastline.
"It is very important for Seychelles to celebrate FetAfrik as the Seychellois people have African origins... Indian, Chinese, European," the Principal Secretary for Culture in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Benjamine Rose told SNA.
|The FetAfrik artists present at the event (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Zambia-Seychelles partnership: a promising collaboration
Eight Zambian artists are represented in this exhibition following the initiation of closer collaboration between the National Arts Council of Zambia and the Seychelles.
During the visit of a delegation from Zambia which participated in the annual 'Carnaval International de Victoria' in April, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Seychelles and Zambia to promote cooperation in the fields of tourism and culture, especially the arts.
"This is the first time that Zambian artists have exhibited in the Seychelles... 10 works of Zambian artists were selected by the National Arts Council of Zambia to represent their country abroad and especially for this event in the Seychelles," said Faustina Kapunda, the Director of Arts and Crafts at the National Visual Arts Council of Zambia.
"The rules of this festival have made it clear that this is an exhibition, and our artists are not able to sell their work... we hope that this collaboration will enable Zambian artists in the future to be able to re-exhibit, during which they will also sell their work. "
A key goal of this event is also to allow exchanges through workshops between the artists to share and pass on their techniques, following in the footsteps of Chansa Chisimba, the only Zambian artist who was present at the exhibition.
Chisimba was the first Zambian artist to use the fibre from papaya bark as a painting medium.
"What we have and that we use in our country is also true for you in the Seychelles. This is an opportunity for Seychellois to learn new techniques. We would like to develop a programme to share knowledge and show the materials and techniques that we use," added the Zambian representative.
|Zambian artist Chansa Chishimba, who is the first Zambian visual artist to use papaya bark fibers as a painting medium (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Slavery - a common and painful past
The artists selected to represent Seychelles are Jude Ally, a painter and artist known for his well-known collage technique, Christine Chetty Payet, an internationally recognized painter and Director of Visual Arts at the Polytechnic of Seychelles, and finally Urny Selwyn Mathiot, who is participating in the annual event for the second time.
This time, Mathiot has focused on the theme of slavery, saying that this is a common past shared by the Seychelles and the African continent.
|Selwyn Urny Mathiot standing in front of his centerpiece from his collection, entitled "Slavery." The suggestive colors of this work signify both blood and darkness in remembering the common and painful past that have lived in both Africa and the Seychelles (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
"Regarding Reunion Island, there is already a strong partnership between the Ministry of Culture of Seychelles and the culture department of Reunion. The choice of artists was therefore determined by the department of Reunion," the Chief Executive of the Seychelles National Arts Council, Jimmy Savy, told SNA at the exhibition.
Kadiantou Kante, who has lived in Reunion for three years, joins the FetAfrik festival on Friday. Drawing inspiration from her travels and her mixed Breton and Malian origin, she will present her paintings on porcelain and ceramics.
|AfrikArt exhibition - the Seychellois public discovers the visual art of various African countries (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
This year's FetAfrik will go on until May 25 and one of the main highlights this year is an international Trade Expo.