Culture, heritage and the arts gets new governing body |31 December 2021
The Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts was created in 2021 to replace the defunct Department of Culture as the new institution of policy-making on the country’s culture, heritage and the arts.
Mayor of Victoria David Andre is the Secretary General of the new institution which was officially launched in October at the Pomme Cannelle restaurant at Domaine de Val des Prés, shortly after President Wavel Ramkalwan assented to the Bill for its creation.
Mr Andre said in this ever-changing political landscape, a permanent and independent institution is the best choice for safeguarding our cultural identity.
The institution is mandated to discharge the executive and administrative functions of the government by administering all existing laws relating to culture, heritage and the arts.
It will promote the right to freedom of expression and also create a favourable environment conducive to the development and enjoyment of the Seychellois cultural life and the Creole identity.
Its logo has been designed by local artist Juliette Zelime.
The Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts is an executive and monitoring agency for the policies it formulates, while it also administers a natural culture fund for supporting its functions and for implementing major culture, heritage and arts projects.
It will integrate the existing sections of the sections and units of the department of culture under the leadership of a Principal Secretary.
The institute will also have oversight for independent cultural institutions regulated by their respective legislations.
It will also provide guidance, facilitate and empower actors, monitor and evaluate programmes, as well as explore new spheres of intervention.
Mr Andre explained that setting the institution is a historic turning point, symbolising a commitment to Article 39 of the Seychelles Charter of Fundamental Rights of Freedoms enriched in the Constitution of Seychelles which states “the state undertakes to take reasonable steps to ensure the preservation of the cultural heritage and values of the Seychellois people”.
He said the institute is a departure from the current administrative framework of a Ministry of Culture with the ultimate aim of acting as guardians of our heritage.
Inscription of ‘moutya’ to Unesco’s list of intangible cultural heritage
• ‘A great pride, formidable, historic moment for Seychelles,’ says Mayor Andre
The inscription on Wednesday December 15 of the Seychelles ‘moutya’ cultural dance on the representative list of Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity as a global treasure that must be preserved is a sense of great pride and a formidable and historic moment for Seychelles.
The Mayor of Victoria David Andre, who is also the secretary general for the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts, made the statement following the news.
“It shows how the entire world, through the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), is valorising this piece of Seychelles heritage which at one time we were not paying much attention to. But it is thanks to the hard and painstaking work of a devoted group of people working in the archives, museum, culture department and the cultural heritage among others which has finally resulted in the dossier being submitted to Unesco and today the world knows that Seychelles possesses this wonderful piece of cultural heritage that is being shared with people all over the world,” Mr Andre said.
“This is a great pride for all Seychellois and I hope that through this declaration the ‘moutya’ will claim its rightful place in our culture and that we will not only enjoy it, but we will ensure it remains alive in all our communities and that different initiatives are put in place to ensure our young people understand and learn the dance so that it can be easily passed on from generation to generation,” Mr Andre remarked.
But is Mr Andre satisfied that Seychelles has done enough to preserve the ‘moutya’ and ensure the knowledge of the dance is transferred to the different generations? “I am not yet satisfied, but I believe with this inscription by the Unesco, it will motivate us and raise our awareness on the importance of the work that lay before us in all sectors, namely education, culture to ensure we do all we have to do to keep the ‘moutya’ alive,” Mr Andre replied.
He also warned that activities surrounding the ‘moutya’ should not be artificial and frivolous, but authentic at all times to ensure visitors to our shores benefit fully from this piece of our cultural heritage.
‘Larsitektir Kreol’ ti tenm pou konkourzenn Artis Kreolofonn 2021
Malgre pandemic kovid-19, ankor enn fwasa lannen bann zennartis in demontrezottalanpandankonkourkonkourlarvizyelanba tit ‘Zenn Aris Kreolofonn’.
Sakonkouranyel i sa platform ki anmenn bann zennartisdepilaz 4-an ziska 21-an ansanm pourdemontrezotkonnesans ektalanartistik.
Sa lannen, pour sa konkour ki tonmdan kad bann aktivite Festival Kreol, organize par KonseyNasyonal pour Lar, an kolaborasyon avek komitelorganizasyon Festival Kreol, in deroulanbatenm ‘Larsitektir Kreol’.
Atraverzot travay, sa bann zennartis in enterpret bann diferanletaplarsitektir Kreol, depi dan bann letan ansyen, ziska dan letan modern.
Bann manmziripour sa konkourti konpriartisprofesyonnel Juliette Zelime ek Danny Sopha, ensi ki ansennyanlar Neil Leon.
Encouraging the infusion of culture in education
In November, Principal Secretary for Education Dr Odile Decommarmond was presented with a batch of cultural materials which will go towards the primary and secondary schools’ libraries for reference and documentation purposes.
The materials include five heritage videos, including The Making of Traditional Stove, The Making of Watering Can, The Cinnamon Lady, The Traditional Fish Trap and the Bamboo Basket.
There were also three publications, including The Million Petalled Flowers of Being Here (paintings, sculptures and photography – by Martin Kennedy), En TapiPyeste (15 short stories – by Robert Mondon), and A Cartoon History of Seychelles (volume one and two – by Peter Lalande), all fully sponsored through the National Arts and Culture Fund (NACF).
It was the secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts David Andre who handed over the educational materials.
Veteran and budding artists host joint art exposition
Veteran artist Nigel Henri and upcoming young blood in the business Terry Moncherry hosted a joint expo in June at the Carrefour-Des-Arts arts gallery in Victoria.
The art exhibition showcased 31 pieces and was officially launched by local art collector Serge Robert to coincide with Henri’s 54th birthday.
Known for his underwater-scape and market-scene paintings, veteran Henri said it is sort of a ritual for him to host a yearly expo and he is always passionate about it since it gives him the opportunity to create, while it brings new adventures into his life.
He further noted that it is an honour for him as a veteran artist to hold the hand and guide a newcomer into the world of art, since he also started little, before making a name for himself, both at local and international level.
As for Moncherry, his involvement in the expo and the chance to collaborate with Henri came as a blessing in disguise, since he did not plan it, but rather came as an opportunity due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Presently a student at the Nanjing University of Art in China, Moncherry is stuck home due to the pandemic and it was during the free time that he decided to pick up his paintbrush and start working.
MCB Seychelles’ Rupys Art Splash Competition
The quality and quantity of the artworks, as well as the level of talents of the children surpassed the expectation of the judges at the inaugural Rupys Art Splash Competition organised by the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) Seychelles branch.
Through the competition which was launched on June 4, just after Children’s Day to further the celebration, the MCB Seychelles aimed to promote the interest of art among children and the youth of the country, thus bringing out their imagination.
Hosted online under the theme ‘The beauty of Seychelles’, it was also to encourage children to participate without adversely being impacted by the current restrictions and pandemic.
In total, the bank received 97 submissions with 58 from the below 12 years old category and 39 from the between 12-17 years old category.
Seychelles Fashion week
Event’s momentum maintained despite the Covid-19 pandemic
Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, L'Escale Resort Marina and Spa hosted the annual Seychelles Fashion week, showcasing the work of 16 designers, with six of them from Seychelles and 10 from Qatar and South Africa.
A total of 28 models took part in the event, including Miss Ideal of Nigeria of 2019, Sonia Ben-Woko.
The 4th Seychelles Fashion Week was officially launched by principal secretary for Tourism Sherin Francis in the presence of Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor, principal secretary for Culture Cecile Kalebi, chief executive of the Seychelles Fashion Week Terry Carolla, designers, models and sponsors.
The annual event which aimed at bringing fashion lovers from around the world to our shores is also the ideal opportunity to provide local designers with the opportunity to get more exposure as well as bring more importance to the fashion industry of our island nation.
Autistic artist Patrick Alexis exhibits first art works collection
Patrick Alexis, a young autistic artist living in Roche Caïman, exhibited his first collection of art works at the Carrefour Des Arts in Victoria, next to the National Library.
The opening of the exhibition took place in the presence of family members and friends, fellow artists and other guests, and Patrick used the opportunity to showcase his talent in a live presentation.
The young autistic artist had on display 21 pieces of art work, mostly inspired from emotions felt following and witnessing his mother, Juliana Alexis, struggling with cancer in 2020, and who later died on February 21,2020.
Patrick’s paintings on canvas are abstract in nature, painted with acrylic paint and wax crayons, with perfectly chosen and specific colours that relate to his emotions.
He was being accompanied in the exhibition by his cousin and mentor Robert Alexis, a professional artist and sculptor who had on display seven pieces of abstract paintings in two dimensions.
Patrick Alexis is the first autistic artist to hold an exhibition in Seychelles.
Compiled by Roland Duval