A group of local artists are taking part in an art session with the aim of learning more about the importance of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) through arts.
Led by Zaahirah Muthy, the managing director of ZEEarts Company based in Dubai and the founder of the Mauritius Arts Fair (MIAF), the workshop kicked off yesterday at the International conference Centre.
It has been organised by the Creative Seychelles Agency (CSA) in collaboration with the National Arts and Crafts Council (NACC) under the theme ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Arts’ .
“The objective of the session is to raise awareness on the SDGs and to create friendship between the artists taking part. It is also an opportunity to bring all the artists together so they can be inspired for future artistic work,” Emmanuel D’Offay, the executive director of CSA, said.
The artists had to choose one out of the 17 SDGs to paint and they were free to choose whatever materials they wanted to illustrate their chosen SDG.
The 17 SDGs are (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger (3) Good Health and Well Being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, (10) Required Inequalities, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life on Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
Mr D’Offay said the art workshop is the CSA’s contribution to the ongoing Seychelles Biennale of Contemporary Art 2022 as it has the mandate to promote art and the artists.
He added that it was a great opportunity to work alongside Mrs Muthy as she has the experience and knowledge especially in the 17 SDGs project.
Mrs Muthy started this project back in Dubai during the lockdown with the United Nations resident coordinator of the UAE.
“The idea is to spread, and raise awareness, to advocate, educate, and to pledge for action, on the SDGs establishedby the United Nations since 2015 among countries across the world that signed the agenda,” Mrs Muthy said.
She was happy to see the artists discussing the different SDGs they wished to work on, the negotiating skills they have when two of them wanted the same goal and how they sort it out.
“It is more than just painting an art piece; it is about the cultural artistic dialogue exchange among the artists. At the end, the 17 SDGs are all interconnected,” she remarked.
The same art workshop was done last month. It was the second edition in Mauritius during the Mauritius International Arts Fair but the artists had one month to work on it.
“I think Mr D’Offay is a great art ambassador for Seychelles. He came to Mauritius and brought seven or eight artists from Seychelles, and I think two of them won a prize,” Mrs Muthy said.
She added that Mr D’Offay has a great vision to expose Seychelles artists globally and shares similar vision as we are islanders and we should collaborate our efforts to the world so that people can enjoy the arts.
She believes that the 17 artists will be ambassadors of the work they are doing for Seychelles and the world in their artistic career.
“At the end of the workshop each artist will know more about the goals and will carry this message throughout their future artwork because it really moves people… I am a firm believer that art is a catalyst to bring social change and art is a vector that can make a difference.”
Mr D’Offay said that the artists’ work will be exhibited during biennale for viewing.
“We will host the event and we will invite the Unesco and especially the Seychelles government to see how art is evolving and expose the work in a permanent place as a collection of arts,” Mr D’Offay said.
He added that by working with the ZEEarts company, our artists will be exposed to the world and will attract sponsorship to promote art.
Kamala Etienne, an art teacher by profession who had been painting for nine years, chose SDG 16.
“I have chosen to paint SDG 16, which is ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’, because I feel that it is something that the world lacks, so I want to express how the world should be instead and share the true sources of peace and justice. I feel that the solution for this should be about turning to God, and this is how I am going to try and showcase this,” Kamala said.
Sylvius Laporte is a 21-year-old artist, currently teaching while he waits to go for his overseas studies and he chose to paint the SDG 2 which is ‘Zero Hunger’.
“This SDG for me, means that we should eliminate food wastage, we should be aware that many people are dying of hunger, they don’t have anything to eat. Through my art I wish to educate people about this. I will use a black and white technique to express this, I will mainly draw kitchen utensils,” Sylvius said.
Our well-known artist Jude Ally is also taking part in the workshop. The 17 SDGs are not new to him. As an art teacher he has taught these goals before. For the session he chose SDG 10.
“I chose to work with ‘Reduce Inequality’. I will portray this by blocks of colours; the blocks will not be equal to each other. I will put collage and some texture not sure yet what colours to use to portray the inequalities,” Jude said.
The art session is expected to end today.
The accompanying photos show some of the artists in action during the session yesterday.
Courtesy: Fatimie Renaud (Nationa.sc)
Photos by Louis Toussaint