Sponsors help local artists take part in Venice Biennale


Chateau Castigno, a winery in Assignan in the south of France and Le Chantier Dental Clinic have made financial donations to the Seychelles Arts Project Foundation (SAPF) to help Seychellois artists take part for the first time ever in this year’s 55th Venice Biennale in Italy.

A cheque for €20,000 was presented to George Camille, the chairman of the SAPF, by Marc Verstraete-Claeys representating the Chateau Castigno while an undisclosed sum from Le Chantier Dental Clinic was donated by Dr Tazio Tournier.

The presentation ceremony took place on Thursday in the presence of the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange; the principal secretary for culture Benjamine Rose and the commissioner of the exhibition Nitin Shroff.

Venice Biennale is the world’s leading contemporary art event and this year it will be held in May and Seychellois artists will be taking part for the first time. As such participation comes at a price because work has to be curated, shipped, insured and installed.

The SAPF has the responsibility to ensure that Seychelles’ involvement at the Biennale becomes a reality. So in partnership with key members of the international art community, the foundation has already secured some funds for the project. But money is still needed. Hence the call to individuals and companies in Seychelles to come together and support this venture through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.

Minister St Ange described the donations on Thursday as a good day for the arts in Seychelles.

“It’s a good day because for the first time we see a direct support  from overseas joining our local sponsors to help Seychelles export what we have that is dear to us. It is our culture that we are putting up and now it is the culture that the artists put on canvas or other means to be able to tell other citizens of the world this is Seychelles,” said the minister.

He added that it also comes at a good time to coincide with this year’s national theme ‘I Love Seychelles’.

“And when the artists are showing on canvas or in any other form what Seychelles is all about, they are depicting this love for our country,” said Minister St Ange.

The minister also said that artists of Seychelles have been in other smaller biennales. But this one is to get Seychelles in the ‘Olympics’ of the art. He described it as such because this biennale is a bit like the Olympics and if we are able to get Seychelles exhibiting there, we would have achieved this milestone.

The SAPF chairman said the donations have come about after a meeting last year in France and Venice with the Global Arts Affair Foundation regarding Seychelles’ participation in the forthcoming Venice Biennale.

“As a result of that the SAPF was created with the main aim of organising such an event which is very important,” he said.

He said for Seychelles to be able to take part in such a big event, the foundation needs a lot of money as it is a very expensive exercise.

“We got the full backing of the department of culture. Minister St Ange and PS Rose have been hundred per cent behind us. So this morning is the realisation of months of work. We finally got the foundation up and running, constitution sorted out and artists as members,” said Mr Camille.

Mr Camille said they launched an appeal to the national business community through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to help finance the artists’ involvement in such an event.

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