The 2022 edition of the Seychelles Biennale of Contemporary Art will open on Sunday July 31st – with most of the unprecedented number of participating artists exhibiting at the newly opened Seychelles Chinese Cultural Centre.

45 artists will be showing cutting edge painting, installations, videos, sculpture, performance pieces, mixed media works and assemblages, all certain to entertain, inspire and provoke discussion.

This Byenal Sesel (the alternative event title) was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but the COVID 19 pandemic triggered a postponement. In the interim the National Arts Council decided to launch a virtual exhibition of art works made during the lockdown period. Entitled the ‘Lockdown Biennale’ the resulting website was viewed by thousands of people worldwide, with a fully illustrated catalogue printed to commemorate the event.

So it is with great satisfaction that the (now re-named) National Arts and Crafts Council welcomes 26 international artists to join their 19 Seychellois peers in responding to the theme which was set in 2019 – ‘Lost and Found’.

The NACC has worked closely with sponsors such as Vijay Construction, MCB, ISPC and many more to bring some extraordinary art works to the Seychelles, as well as promote ground-breaking new works by our own local artists. Have you ever seen sculpture in the form of a huge ball of ice which contains a few surprises? Or hanging fish traps made in a new and sinister shape? Or coral forms rendered in soft fabrics? You will have the chance to experience all of the above as well as more than forty additional works.

There will also be ‘sideshow’ events and exhibitions at Kenwyn House and the Eden Art Space Gallery as well as main biennale exhibitions at the National History Museum and the NACC Carrefour Gallery. The NACC is working with the Seychelles Institute for Art and Design (SIAD) to train a team of well-informed custodians who will greet visitors, supervise the exhibition zones and respond to any questions about the various art works on display.

Curators Vivienne Croisee and Martin Kennedy selected artists following an open call made in Seychelles and overseas. Artists submitted proposals which were then evaluated in terms of the quality of their concepts and preliminary plans.

Not one, but two catalogues will be created to record the biennale, and it is hoped that an education pack will be produced to help teachers and students get the most from a visit to the exhibition.

In common with most international biennales the Byenal Sesel will award prizes, with the first prize – worth SR120,000, the second prize valued at SR60,000 and a special prize of SR30,000 for the best emerging/developing artist. A team of judges, two international and three local, will be led by George Camille, the winner of the last biennale to be held in Seychelles in 2017.

This important cultural event will run for one month, closing on Sunday 28th August 2022 at a special ceremony to be held at the National Theatre.

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