World Bank Art Residency ‘We are Afrika’: the power of women and youth |28 October 2020
Local visual artist Christine Chetty Payet qualifies
Local visual artist Christine Chetty Payet has been selected to take part in the World Bank Group’s Mini-Residency as part of the exhibition ‘We are Afrika: the power of women and youth’ (formerly called Africa 22).
Her selection comes after she was invited to submit a project proposal beginning of the year including her artist CV.
It is to be noted that Christine was already part of the World Bank Art’s last large exhibition on African contemporary art, Africa Now! in 2008 which featured 54 contemporary artists from 54 African countries.
The mandate of the World Bank Group Art Programme is to be a platform for artists to communicate the hopes and struggles of their communities, and their experiences of global development challenges. The Art Programme provides a face to development and to support the World Bank Group mission to fight poverty and promote shared prosperity.
Subsequent to the postponement of the exhibition due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Bank art curator & programme manager Marina Galvani and her team developed a digital platform to showcase artists’ perspectives and art works because they strongly believe in the power of art, especially during times of crisis. Each artist selected was able to share words, a brief video, memory of a meaningful artistic social engagement, or images of artwork to put on this platform with the hope that they remain ambassadors of their countries and of the women of Africa.
Starting in June this year and continuing till May 2021, various themes will be explored ranging from human capital, to rural experiences, social norms and breaking stereotypes.
The World Bank Art Group is doing this through featuring artists’ work and videos on its internal website and social media platform, and through regular events such as talks and discussions.
They also provide material for the Africa Region’s monthly newsletter, which featured all the artists’ work.
On September 16, 2020 Christine was featured as the artists of the month by the World Bank Art Group. In her video Christine tells us what she is passionate about, what sparks her creativity, and the obstacles she faced during her career as a visual artist.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, she is working on a few art pieces that focus on social distancing, a relatively new concept for many people, especially in small communities like Seychelles.
Her advice to young artists is to grab the various opportunities that come their way.
“Being multi-skilled will help you survive,” she said. “Do not limit your options”.
Christine’s work is part of the We are Afrika visual arts exhibition celebrating Women & Youth from Africa.
At the end of this year-long digital exhibition, the World Bank Art is hoping to have a physical display of art works in the main World Bank building in Washington, DC. They are also putting together a digital catalogue, which they hope to eventually publish in print.
Christine’s art piece featured in the video is entitled ‘Fear in Isolation’ made with a mixture of papier-mâché, fabrics and paint.
Christine said in a summary of the piece that, “different symbols and elements used in my work make reference to the Covid-19 pandemic which has wrought disaster and great uncertainties among individuals. From my perspective, the concept of social and physical distancing remains a major challenge for small communities like Seychelles which can take a psychological toll on people”.
“Consequently, during this period of great uncertainty, I was inspired to explore the concept of social and physical distancing. I proposed a circular form in my work which becomes a constant reminder that the virus remains a health risk despite various measures put in place. The depiction of the hands and figures denote the importance of hygiene and social distancing.
Meanwhile the WBG regional vice-presidency for Africa has decided to postpone the exhibition and the residency We are Afrika until the situation with Covid-19 has been normalised.