The small African island country, Seychelles, is mostly in the news for the right reasons. However, this time it is two Seychellois artists who have taken their works to the International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy. Their works portray the ordinary struggles of local youngsters. The Seychellois artists, Daniel Dodin and George Camille will have their works on display until November 24.
The Seychellois artists are giving visitors two varieties of works to savor. However, Camille’s work titled ‘Drift’ consist of embossed, pure white, heavy-duty watercolor paper measuring over 60 meters. The papers hang loosely to mimic the waves of tsunami. Camille covers the installation with leaves, fish and human forms, birds, and coco de mer nuts, which are his iconographic trademark. Camille is attending the Biennale for the third time. According to him, the form represents the daily information overload. He said,
“I want to show that in the present state of easy access to new media and the relative ease of creating content on the internet we are inundated with so much information that it’s impossible to know which is authentic and true and which is fake. [Visitors] will literally walk into the waves, interacting and ducking as they move around the room, confronted with the claustrophobic feeling of being submerged.”
Presenting the daily struggles of Seychellois youths through arts
Dodin’s works paint a deeper picture of the daily struggles of many Seychellois youths. Nevertheless, his work consists of three original video projections, wall mounted work and ‘gunny’ bag sculptures bearing images of bottle collectors. The wall mounted work contains the artist’s largest painting which he calls ‘Miserable Joy’. Unlike Camille, this is Dodin’s debut at the Biennale. Talking about his works Dodin said,
“In many of my works I depict the ordinary struggles of local youngsters, many of whom are facing addiction problems while dealing with social discrimination. [However] I find the relatively recent phenomenon of the bottle collectors fascinating. These young men have unique characters. They spend their days making long journeys carrying big bags on their heads which are filled with empty plastic bottles. Looking at these characters, [simultaneously reveals] a sense of courage and desperation.”
The journey of Seychellois artists to Venice
The two Seychellois artists did not get to Venice by chance. They were the winners of the 2017 Seychelles’ Biennale of Contemporary Arts. Consequently, they were chosen to represent the country in Venice. However, Seychellois artists consisting of a group of 115 islands in the Western Indian Ocean have been participating in Venice’ International Art Exhibition since 2015.
This year the Creative Industries and National Events Agency (CINEA) is officially commissioning the island nation’s participation at the Venice International Art Exhibition. Consequently, Martin Kennedy has been appointed the curator. The agency hopes to send five Seychellois artists to the event later this year to sniff out the standard of work required at the exhibition. On their return, they will help raise awareness among the local artistic community.
The International Art Exhibition is now in its 58th edition. The event opened on 11th May and will run till 24th November 2019. The title of this year’s exhibition is ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’. The curator of the 58th Exhibition is Ralph Rugoff. Rugoff is the current director of the Hayward Gallery in London.