Download the Press Release by clicking on the file above
of the Seychelles
the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
'Slowly Quietly' is an exhibition of
the work of 16 Seychellois artists, collectively known as
The Commissioner for the Seychelles Pavilion
is Ms Benjamine Rose, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Youth, Sports and
Culture, Department of Culture.
The Curator is Mr Martin Kennedy and the
exhibition is organised by the Seychelles Art Projects Foundation (SAPF), the
organisation which successfully managed the first ever Seychelles pavilion at
the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
SAPF gratefully acknowledges the support of
the following organisations, without whom the Pavilion would not be possible:
Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture-Culture Department, Arterial Network Seychelles, Deepam Cinema, European Cultural Centre,
Etihad Airways, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, GAA Foundation, GEF Small
Grants Programme, The H Resort Beau Vallon Beach Seychelles, National Arts
Council, Air Seychelles, Etihad Airways, Kreolor, Hunt, Deltel & Co. Ltd,
Le Chantier Dental Clinic, Red Coral, Silkwater Graphics, Seychelles Tourism
Board, Sun Motors, Vijay Construction.
'Creep' is the collective noun for the
tortoise and, within the spirit of the theme 'Viva Arte Viva', Seychellois
artists of the Group Sez offer for public appreciation and pleasure a 'creep'
of 16 life-size Seychelles giant tortoises, each individually customised by the
sixteen artists to bring aspects of Seychelles's environment and culture to
The giant tortoise is revered in the
Seychelles for its longevity and character, and has become a national symbol,
found in the wild as well as in domestic settings. The fibre glass 'blanks'
have become primed canvases for artists to embellish. Group Sez artists have
met together, with some sculptures being realised through intense collaboration
of concepts and approaches. Most now carry some painting, whilst others have
seen their natural forms extended. The power inherent in these creatures – an
adult can upturn a car – is evident and implicit, yet many of the final pieces
exude a charm and grace that can be simultaneously engaging and unsettling.
Artists have chosen to interpret the
project's starting point with great diversity; we have expressionist reptiles
and surrealist brethren. Some shine and catch the eye with their gaudy
vulgarity; some are sexy, some are scary. For some viewers the transformations
are disturbing as well as thought-provoking. Together they present a snapshot
of Seychelles today, with the common visual denominator being a creature that
appears out of time, its pace and habits out of synch with human lives which, even
in the relative calm of Seychelles, are squeezed and rushed.
When visitors interact
with living giant tortoises it invariably provokes introspection and
reflection. The head of the tortoise, poised and inscrutable, is pocked and
lined with an immeasurable and unknowable topography. One can become quite lost
looking into its ancient and rheumy eyes, just as one can experience a
transformation of time and place before art. Living art. Art that is real. The
Group Sez invites you to experience yourselves as well as their project.
Each tortoise has been
customised by a different artist of national importance, with the original
template created by George Camille and fabricated by Allen Camille.
Artists were free to
interpret the 'blank' sculpture in any manner they wished; however most have
elected to link their personal reptilian canvas to the inspirational Seychelles
topography. Some have simply painted the
tortoise, whilst others have embellished the carapace with additions and
The Group Sez comprises
some of the most celebrated artists working in the Indian region today. Both George
Camille, b. Seychelles 1963 and Leon Radegonde, b. Seychelles 1950,
who exhibited at the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale
di Venezia, are once again present. Camille is one of Seychelles'
foremost artists, producing work that includes painting, drawing and
printmaking as well as sculpture, assemblage and installation. This diversity
is informed by a well-honed personal ideology and iconography, with symbols and
motifs knitting together different forms of visual expression.
Radegonde is one of the
most important artists working in the Indian Ocean region. His output is a
compelling and complex fusion of found objects, the deployment of
unconventional materials and processes and an archival subject matter.
Radegonde's work, which spans the divide between representational and
non-representational, is a determined exploration of history and a way of life
in Seychelles that is fast becoming mythological.
The two artists are
this year joined by 14 of their contemporaries.
Colbert Nourrice, b. Seychelles 1964. His work often combines expressive and
intuitive compositional forms with a personal hieroglyphic; he responds to the
development of Seychelles political life as well as the changing cultural and
Egbert Marday, b. Seychelles 1953. Marday is a prolific artist with a range of
stylistic preferences. He creates flat work, assemblage, sculpture and mixed
media installations. Like Colbert Nourrice he is a social commentator, quick to
identify and comment on injustice, both that of the past as well as the
Alcide Libanotis, b. Seychelles 1966. He creates figurative work in response to his
environment and experiences, both presently in Seychelles and previously during
his art training in China, a period which determined his painting style and
informed his future selection of subjects.
Christine Chetty-Payet, b. Seychelles 1969. Chetty-Payet is an artist for whom concepts
and the materials which realise them are connected within a powerful synergy.
Materials traditionally associated with 'women's work' are honoured as they are
reinvented and thereby transcend the context within which we normally
Alyssa Adams, b. Seychelles 1980. Adams's (often) limited palette compositions
are intensely busy. They respond to the insane congestion of the tropical
forest, where growth is a fight for survival and light is the ultimate prize.
Her tortoise reflects and celebrates this organic mayhem.
Tristan Adams, b. Seychelles 1977. His paintings are often personal responses to
panorama and vista; they breathe freely and place the viewer before a
comprehensive survey of land, sea and sky. His tortoise's carapace presents us
with a bird's eye view of one of Seychelles's islands.
Zoe Chong Seng, b. Seychelles 1987. In Chong Seng's work subjects disappear (completely or partially) and re-appear throughout
intense sequences of paintings, creating a sense of mystery and discorporation.
However rather than alienate the viewer as a consequence, the compositions draw
people in. They are luscious and seductive, as is the artist's response to the
Marc Luc, b. Seychelles 1959. Luc is principally an expressionist painter who
relishes in the creation of generous and gestural brush strokes. We can imagine
him licking his lips as he gleefully swipes a heavily loaded paintbrush across
his tortoise, depicting a kaleidoscopic rendition of the country's music scene.
Daniel Dodin, b. Seychelles. 1996. Dodin's
paintings frequently chronicle personal change through journeying, a
characteristic that reflects the artist's time studying in India, where he
refined his approach to picture making in an environment which is in many ways
the opposite of home – congested, manic and with a powerful beauty derived
principally from human activity and creativity rooted in deep religious
Danny Sopha, b. Seychelles 1968. Sopha's colourful canvases, often
incorporating sculpted relief forms, celebrate the cultural and natural
heritage of Seychelles. They portray – often in symbolic form or through the
surreal distortion of scale and perspective – everyday activities which bind
people together; fishing and dancing for example.
Charles Dodo, b. Seychelles 1971. Much of
Dodo's work contains three dimensional elements, even if not qualifying as
conventional sculptural forms. His use of relief indicates an intention to move
increasingly towards more pronounced projection from the plane, and this
passion is reflected in his modification of the tortoise form.
Allen Ernesta, b. Seychelles 1968. Ernesta's work is probably the closest to
strict realism being made in Seychelles today; his sources are often
photographic and he is an accomplished technician when it comes to rendering
editions of reality. His prowess endows his tortoise with a strong surreal quality.
Nigel Henri, b. Seychelles 1967. Writing in a monograph published about
Henri's work in 2005, Lynn Blackadder divided the artist's work into distinct
yet symbiotic categories: Anba Lanmer (under water), Nou Dimoun (our people)
and Nou Leritaz (our heritage), since when the artist has consolidated and
extended these key areas of activity. He was, and remains, a distinctive
'artist of Seychelles'.
Christine Harter, b. Seychelles 1951. Harter's oeuvre is mostly watercolour, and so the tortoise project has provoked
fresh and exciting directions and media for the artist's consideration. Working
with armature and feathers Harter has taken her tortoise out of the mud of its
natural habitat and into the air.
Press Office contact:
and Media Relations
Box 237, Victoria, Seychelles
+39 393 3362617 (active 5th - 20th May 2017)