Local artists inspired by Venice Biennale | 12 December 2019
Two Seychellois artists recently visited the Venice Biennale – the world's most important exhibition of contemporary art – after their successful response to an ‘open call’ by Cinea (Creative Industries and National Events Agency).
Zoe Chong Seng and Juliette Zelime spent one week at the Biennale accompanied by the curator of the Seychelles National Pavilion, Martin Kennedy, and Vivienne Croisée, the senior arts development officer of the National Arts Council.
Ms Croisée was present in her capacity as one of the curatorial teams organising the next Seychelles Biennale, scheduled to be held in April 2020.
The two artists followed an orientation programme designed to ‘unwrap’ the Biennale and provide an insight into the standard and style of work being presented.
One objective of their participation is to enable them to further develop their creative practice and share their experiences of the Venice exposition with other Seychellois artists, thus contributing to the further development of visual art in Seychelles.
Galen Bresson, the chief executive of Cinea, stated that “it was always our intention to facilitate exposure to this event for more than just the two exhibiting artists and Cinea is delighted to have been able to support the development of two of our most important young artists. Zoe is an exceptionally accomplished figurative painter while Juliette works across diverse media to create her work. It will be fascinating to see the creative consequences of this visit when these two artists return to Seychelles”.
Zoe Chong Seng stated that “this visit has given me the opportunity to experience the global art scene and I can now take a fresh perspective with regards to how art in Seychelles fits into it. The breadth and variety of materials now used to create art is wide but I think that there is still a place for more traditional media like drawing and painting. There is value in maintaining things from the past while jumping forward into the future. I also noticed how globalisation and new technologies have made subject matter more universal and accessible to a diverse audience”.
Juliette Zelime had this to say: “I am grateful for this opportunity, which reminded me that art keeps evolving and if we stay in one place we will not know of, learn about or experience new developments. We need to be able to update, adapt and improve our own art works. This experience has also made me realise that no matter how small a country is, their artists can create powerful art works which can have an impact upon the world.”
While in Venice the delegation visited the Seychelles pavilion, which is exhibiting two installations by George Camille and Daniel Dodin. The group also visited both parts of the official Biennale – the Arsenale and the Giardini – for in-depth and sustained visits, as well as many of the fringe exhibitions which exist outside the main exhibition platforms.