UP! Seychelles: New project sees artists spreading messages of environmental sustainability

A new project is underway in Seychelles where local artists specialising in visual arts are using their works to spread messages concerning environmental sustainability.

'UP! Seychelles' is an initiative of the Seychelles Art Projects Foundation which was established by a group of Seychellois artists prior to the first national participation at the 2015 edition of the Venice Biennale.

George Camille, the chairperson of the foundation, told SNA last week that the project 'UP!' refers to 'increase'.

To increase environmental awareness, to increase environmental good practice, to increase local capacity to underwrite sustainability of achievements and to involve and empower the community in general, said Camille.

The UP project will also involve and empower the Seychellois community, specifically � though not exclusively � through the community of cultural actors. This initiative is about the creation and installation of major public artworks including sculpture, installations, murals and video.

These works will be displayed outside in the public domain, not in galleries. If all goes well, we will have such displays on all the three main islands, explained Camille.

The artist added that all sites will be specific and located to deliver maximum exposure for educational, aesthetic and motivational messages concerning environmental sustainability in Seychelles -- a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

'Art is a very direct and powerful communication tool," said Camille, adding that the UP! project is all about raising awareness through art.

The Seychelles Art Projects Foundation has received funding for the one year project through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme.

Shirley Yu, the project coordinator, said that the foundation is also organising a series of dialogues between environmentalists and artists.

This is part of the conceptualisation phase of realising the art Installations. At this stage it is important for people working in environmental conservation and protection to share their most memorable stories with a key message and theme, said Yu.

Through these activities, Yu said each organisation is invited to express its concern on a specific topic regarding environmental sustainability by sharing their personal stories and experiences in the field.

Yu said that the project will be working in close collaboration with at least seven not for profit organisations, including Seychelles Island Foundation, which manages the Vallee de Mai and the Aldabra Atoll, two UNESCO World Heritage sites.

We haven't formalised the partnership with each individual NGO yet, but most of them have shown interest to continue to support the UP! Project Yu added.

The association has also approached local artists among whom are Jude Ally, Charles Dodo, Leon Radegonde and Egbert Marday to assist with the developing of the project. While some have sent their proposals others are yet to do so. Yu reiterated that it is important for artists to send out the message that is truly important and vital to the environmental sustainability of Seychelles.

Camille said the foundation is pushing ahead to ensure a successful implementation of the UP project. We are addressing the real challenges of the project, namely sourcing raw materials and finding appropriate space to create and display the installations, said the artist who will be also leading the project.

The Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles has welcomed and commended the UP project. Environment is about science. Even though we do a lot through education to create awareness on the conservation of the environment, I think this new approach is fantastic as people can get to enjoy artworks and as well get sensitised, said Terence Vel, the national coordinator of the clubs. This is a classic example of science and art embracing, concluded Vel.

Camille said the installations will be put up in phases. We hope to have at least two on Mahe and one on Praslin and La Digue.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Comments are closed.