Art, culture associations share concerns, discuss way forward with Assembly committee | 11 July 2020
Members and representatives of different culture and art associations registered under the National Arts Council have met with National Assembly members to put forward issues affecting their performances and also discussed the way forward for artistic and cultural development in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Present for the discussion were representatives from Seymas, Theatre Association of Seychelles, Lardwaz, Seylar, Bling Bling, Seychelles Design Fashion Association, Lar San Frontyer, Arterial Network and Praslin Artists Association. Also present were the honourary cultural ambassador Patrick Victor and the chief executive of the National Arts Council (NAC) Jimmy Savy.
Held at the International Conference Centre (ICCS), the meeting was chaired by the chairperson of the National Assembly’s media, youth and culture committee (MYCC) Honourable Gervais Henrie. Two other members – Honourable Jany De Letourdie and Honourable Waven Woodcock – were also present. Honourables Flory Larue, Chantal Ghislain, Simon Gill and Paul Ernesta are the other members of the MYCC committee but they were not present at the meeting due to other commitments.
“We wanted to interact with the artists to know what they are doing at the moment, the problems they are facing and also what they could do in terms of new ideas, innovation and creations for our art and culture continue to remain lively so that they (the artists) could continue to benefit from this sector,” Honourable Henrie said.
He pointed out that all recommendations from the meeting will be drafted and discussed with other members of the National Assembly as well as other government and non-governmental bodies that support culture and art in the country.
Among the main concerns from the artists were the issue of finance, the need to better educate and raise awareness of our leaders so that they really understand the meaning of art and culture as our national heritage when they take decisions. More unity among artists at this difficult time was also a point that was raised.
The majority of those present suggested that through the NAC, artists, art and culture should be well considered in the national budget as artists have also contributed in boosting visitors’ arrivals and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
It also came out very strongly for artists to unite so as to see what they can do and share together in view of the limited resources available. They also discussed ways for artists to earn a living through more exposure to sell their services and products via the digital social platform.
“There is only one million rupees to share between the associations and for projects based on individual basis. So if they were to come together they would get more money. Our appeal is that artists should regroup and for those who haven’t joined an association, they should do so in order for their voices to be better heard and thus bring about development in their respective art fields,” Honourable Henrie highlighted.
Cyril Jean, vice chairperson of the Praslin Artists Association said he hoped that MYCC educates our leaders so that they see the importance of art and culture alongside other sectors in the country, while the chairperson of Seychelles Design Fashion Association Terry Carolla hopes that partisan politics is not used in decision-making when it comes to art and culture.