George Camille and international artist Sumo open collaborative exhibition |15 November 2022
Art lovers and enthusiasts in Seychelles now have the opportunity to view and purchase some exquisite and unique art pieces from a contemporary and collaborative art exhibition by Seychelles’ own George Camille, and renowned street and contemporary artist, Sumo, from Luxembourg.
Officially opened last Thursday evening at the George Camille Gallery (Kaz Zanana), the ANSANM/ ZESUMMEN exhibition showcases over 30 original pieces of the most recent artworks created by the two artists either collaboratively or independently, a long-standing idea initiated by the honorary consul of Seychelles in Luxembourg, Butz Welter, with the support of the Seychelles Art Foundation.
Aptly named ‘ANSANM' or 'ZESUMMEN’, meaning 'TOGETHER' in Creole and Luxembourgish respectively, the exhibition refers to the union of two distinct and artistic endeavours pushing the boundaries of their artwork into new aesthetic realms.
Being the most renowned and representational artist figures in their respective countries, George and Sumo tapped into the trend for art crossover, creating interactive and conversational art pieces with their symbolic features.
This pioneering 'art crossover' programme was conducted during Sumo's stay in Seychelles over the last three weeks, also his first-time visit to the island nation.
Mr Camille noted that the collaboration is one which has been beneficial to both of them, and will be, similarly to his past collaborations, redefining and influential for his future works.
“I have gained a lot. I think collaboration is important as a professional artist, to get out of a comfort zone and meet and work with somebody else from a completely different background. Art is all about techniques and techniques are developed over years of practice. My work is usually about layering and texture, and getting people to immerse themselves, while his work takes it beyond that, with much layering and many colours,” Mr Camille stated.
Mr Camille notes that his work usually makes use of a limited palette comprising around six colours, in contrast to Sumo who uses a wide array of colours, to add depth to his paintings.
He describes his own style as more figurative, while Sumo’s tends to be more abstract, with lots of elements.
“The only reason I think I have succeeded as an artist is never to be reluctant to evolve, to change, to embrace new ideas. It’s a very refreshing, new beginning for me because I have been using this very monotone, limited palette mode for my last exhibition, and this experience has given me the impetus to relook at and revisit colours, and my palette will definitely extend,” Mr Camille added.
Aside from the artworks, the two artists have also worked together on a mural, on the boundary wall of the Seychelles Chinese Cultural Centre, next to the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, as a way of encouraging public art, which is lacking in Seychelles.
Christian Pearson, better known to "street art" aficionados under the combative and colossal pseudonym of "Sumo", is today a key figure of contemporary art in Luxembourg. His colourful paintings with regressive tones are savoured like delicious multicoloured candies that cannot leave one indifferent.
For twenty years, without respite, Sumo has been painting as he breathes, refining his artistic concept from the wall to the canvas. He tends to create his pictorial field in the inexorable march of time, documenting it with a plethora of dots, patterns and shapes representing a moment. When there is an overlap, these moments collide, representing vanishing in the waves of memories. Sumo's paintings can be understood as a visual diary, dynamic, and full of musicality, positive energy and colours.
A recurring element in almost all of his artwork is a character he created during his street graffiti days, ‘the crazy baldhead’, which still features in his more refined artworks on canvas.
“My paintings now, I do not see them as graffiti, although they still have the visual language of graffiti. I like the abstract, and I like to use words in my paintings, and it is basically layers of elements that I paint over and over,” Sumo said.
“I document time, and time is measured in the depth of my paintings, so I do not usually have a plan. I just get my inspiration in the moment, so if I am listening to music, or I have visitors in my studio, I write it on the canvas, just as one would in a journal, and build up from there. The colours are chosen by the moment, so they build up over time, and it creates these layers of time; what is in the back is the past, and what’s in the front is towards the present. I stop when I like the composition of the painting,” Sumo relayed to the media.
Having spent three weeks in Seychelles alongside Mr Camille, Sumo has also created a colourful piece depicting his time and his experiences in Seychelles.
The exhibition is open for a month, and comprises smaller pieces which they worked on while still trying to match their contrasting styles, as well as larger pieces created once they had gelled.
“I love the end results, because there are two contrasts and they really work together,” Sumo added.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the artists’ works in the exhibition.
Photos by Louis Toussaint