Seychelles unveils historic map exhibition amid cultural celebrations |08 November 2023
Tracing maritime heritage
In a celebration of cartographic heritage, the National Library opened its doors to history enthusiasts and the culturally curious for the unveiling of ‘Seychelles: Journey into the History of Maps 1482-1830’, an exhibition showcasing the evolution of map-making and the archipelago's place in global exploration.
Yesterday’s inauguration by President Wavel Ramkalawan was attended by dignitaries including First Lady Linda Ramkalawan, Vice-President Ahmed Afif, Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries, Jean-François Ferrari, Speaker of the National Assembly, Roger Mancienne and secretary general for the Institute of Culture, Heritage & the Arts, David Andre.
In his address, SG Andre explained that “Today we celebrate another important aspect of our heritage”. He expressed that the inauguration of the exhibition could also not have come at a better moment as the beautiful ceremony was held in the newly renovated National Library.
He took the opportunity to appeal to enthusiasts and historians to revel and share the rich culture of Seychelles and more importantly to have a good trip to the wonderful country. “Your participation contributes enormously to the promotion and conservation of our palm tree and our culture,” he stated.
He urged them to share their knowledge and your expertise as well as motivate learning through research, programmes and educational projects, emphasising community participation to conserve and enhance the heritage.
Furthermore, the exhibition opens the door to the creation of other maritime museums in Seychelles. “Museums are major players in social and economic development,” he stated adding the project is extremely important for an island country like Seychelles as it could develop and become a regional maritime museum.
To conclude, the SG thanked everyone who made the exhibition possible.
In his keynote address, Minister Ferarri started strongly by pronouncing that there are days of immense pleasure among the days of hardship as a minister. “As the minister responsible for fisheries and the blue economy, today I put aside my daily routines and offer the people of Seychelles a different aspect of what the ocean means to us,” he stated.
He proclaimed that this exhibition traces back to the history of the discovery of the islands, to the time when Seychelles did not exist on the map of the world. “Our islands were discovered and came together like a giant puzzle to form the proud nation and the proud people that we are today.”
Speaking to the voyagers across the globe, he noted that various countries have been part of the Seychelles history and through the exhibition, he would like it to be recognised as the long sea journeys that led the people to the shores of the wider Indian Ocean and beyond.
The minister stated proudly that the exhibition arose from an idea that he and his team has had for a while. He conveyed that as the ministry responsible for blue economy it was important that it does not stick solely to things such as fisheries but everything in the wider context that has a connection to the blue economy. “Our history is one that was made on the ocean.” This brings a different dimension for the Blue Economy.
He said the exhibition was meant for the Seychellois population, especially for the children so they could discover how Seychelles was created, through the maps.
Children get free entrance to the exhibition while adults have a R25 fee that will go towards its regular maintenance. “We want everyone to come and participate in the coming years to hold more exhibitions like this.”
The exhibition will have official guides that will be able to take visitors down the history of Seychelles.
Yesterday’s ceremony opened with gratitude extended towards Walter Alton, whose musical talents provided a journey of nostalgia, setting a tone of reflection and harmony for the event that unfolded, while the young child, Louis Michaud, read a famous poem by 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire, , entitled ‘Man and the Sea’.
Photos by Joena Meme