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Seychelles Arts Award 2019 and Byenal Sesel 2020 officially launched | 12 August 2019

Seychelles Arts Award 2019 and Byenal Sesel 2020 officially launched

Mr Essack addressing the gathering during the launch event

The Seychelles Arts Award 2019 and the Seychelles Biennale 2020 (Byenal Sesel) have been officially launched.

The two artistic events were launched on Friday by the chairman of the National Arts Council (Nac), Gabriel Essack, in the presence of Designated Minister and Minister for Culture, Macsuzy Mondon; the leader of government business in the National Assembly, Charles De Comarmond; the principal secretary for Culture, Cecile Kalebi; the newly appointed honorary cultural ambassador Patrick Victor; the chief executive of Nac, Jimmy Savy; special advisors; past recipients of the Arts Awards 2017 and other fellow artists and invited guests.

Speaking at the gathering, Mr Essack said that the success of those two activities depends entirely on the participation, the support and input of all stakeholders.

“This is very important for the development of the arts in Seychelles, as we are setting new standards, enabling the arts managers to constantly improve on their programme,” Mr Essack said.

This year the Arts Award will be held on November 23, 2019 at the International Conference Centre (ICCS).

Art consultant, John Etienne Pool, will coordinate the event.

The award will have in all 19 categories divided into three sections. The first group consisting of 12 awards are opened competitive awards as per criteria set for judging.

The second group consisting of five categories will be jury awardees.

The third group is also a jury decided section but it will honour those who have helped in the development of the arts and culture and who are not necessarily artists themselves.

The Arts award is a recognition of artists for their contributions towards the development of the arts. The categories for 2019 are: Artisans Award, Artistic Director, Dance Award, Fashion Award, Film and Audio Visual, Graphic Award, Literature, Music, Music Production, Photography, Visual Arts, Honorary Awards for both local and international and last but not least the Jury Awards for young promising talents, tradition, traditional music and life achievement award for both male and female.

According to Mr Savy, though the Arts Award is initiated by Nac, the selection committee remains independent. The Arts award is open to all Seychellois artists and registration forms and other information are available at the Nac, on the Nac web page and on social media.

It is to be noted that Ambassador Victor coordinated the 2017 arts award.

The Byenal Sesel under the theme ‘Lost and Found’ will be held mostly at the Eden Arts Space, Eden Plaza on April 25, 2020.

The curator for the Byenal Sesel, Martin Kennedy, said that for the first time some of the biennial exhibits will also be put on show in other locations on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue with the aim of entertaining, enlightening, annoying, bemusing and astonishing the audience.

An 'Open Call' has been made, encouraging local artists to apply to participate in the Biennale. He noted the Byenal Sesel will be one of a powerful and provocative nature. Artists are invited to submit their proposals for the creation of work in any medium.

The Byenal Sesel sets and evaluates the standards of the local artists while also giving them further exposure on the international arts arena.

Biennale prizes will be awarded by a team of international judges chaired by the winner of the last Byenal Sesel, George Camille. The winning artist will not only receive a substantial cash prize but also be appointed as chief judge of the next Byenal Sesel. Other prizes will also be awarded, including one which recognises outstanding talent in a young Seychellois artist. The Byenal Sesel is open for both Seychellois artists and foreign artists in the region and internationally.

“’Lost and Found’ will include works of art which are concerned with the precarious nature of 21st century existence. Through the art works presented we will share stories and experiences, as well as propose ways of dealing with loss alongside strategies for recovery – either within a physical or emotional context,” Mr Kennedy said.

The winners of the 2017 Arts Award were; Dance – Daniella Rose; Fashion – Santasha Hoareau; Filming and Audio Visual – Raymond Clarisse; Literature – Maggie Faure Vidot; Music – Jean Marc Volcy; Music Production – Eddy Thelemaque; Photography – Urny Mathiot; Theatre – Joseph Sinon; Visual Arts – Leon Radegonde; Young promising artist – Isham Rath; male lifetime achievement award – John Wirtz and female lifetime achievement award – Marie-Therese Choppy.

Artists George Camille, the winner of the last Byenal Sesel, and Daniel Dodin, had the opportunity to rub shoulders with their international counterparts in the Venice Biennial held in May this year.

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