Art in Seychelles, Then and Now” was launched on December 20th 2017 at the Eden Art Space Gallery, Eden Plaza, Victoria.‘Art in Seychelles, Then and Now’ provides a unique overview of both contemporary art in Seychelles as well as exploring aspects of the history and development of visual art. It is an ideal companion for anyone with an interest in the art of Seychelles, whether visiting, studying or simply residing in Seychelles. It is a 256 page full colour assessment of contemporary art in Seychelles, supported by sections on the history and development of the visual arts which covers the period 1830 – 2000.
The book features the work and words of 46 contemporary artists creating art in vastly different ways from a range of starting points. The beauty of the natural environment features prominently in terms of inspiration but the range of responses means that what might be termed the landscape genre avoids sameness and predictability.
Seychellois artists force us to rethink our approach to art informed by the simple act of being in a tropical forest or walking through groves of pitcher plants. Archival art – work which records and celebrates old style domesticity – is an important niche area throughout the book. There is art which deals with the fast-vanishing lifestyle of the (quite recent) past : metal huts raised on bricks, washing clothes in the river, and sweeping – both inside and outside domiciles. Much figurative art which portrays this is sentimental, exuding a romantic nostalgia, something to cling onto and preserve albeit only as a memory against the demanding pressure of modern life.
Essentially, such a publication serves as a snapshot of the aesthetic landscape. Like technology, it is out of date on the day it is published, with featured work transcended by new material. However, as a map of the terrain during the period 2014 and 2017, when the principal interviews and principal photography took place, it attempts to be inclusive and representational of the artistic priorities of the nation’s protagonists.
The book features colour reproductions of the work of all 46 contemporary artists, plus a smaller representation of the work of those who have died, left or simply ceased producing art. It contains contact details for all artists featured in the contemporary section and is sold with a choice of three different full colour dust jackets by three artists.
About the author:
Martin Kennedy is Secretary of Arterial Network Seychelles. He has written critical narratives on art in Seychelles since his arrival from the United Kingdom in 1997. Prior to relocating he was Chairperson of the London Association for Art and Design Education (LAADE) and art advisor to London education authorities and galleries, as well as a number of British universities.