The environment on canvas
They look at the skies and the seas of our islands and capture what they see with beautiful paintings and drawings that awe and inspire. The Ars et Natura exhibition of artwork by Italian and Seychellois artists at the Kaz Zanana art gallery showcases the natural environment in Seychelles with the hope of highlighting the need for its protection.
Nature Seychelles hosted the Italian delegation of artists earlier in the year on Cousin Island Special Reserve where they were able to observe the biodiversity of the Seychelles Islands that they then later turned into exquisite paintings and drawings.
As a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and Important Bird Area (IBA), Cousin offers a spectacular interaction with the natural environment where people can get very close to the 300,000 resident birds, many of them endemic to the Seychelles.
Once a coconut plantation, the island has now been transformed to a wild forest with indigenous trees, as nature intended and indeed, fit for a masterpeice . Magpie Robins walk on the ground majestically snacking on insects, fairy terns spread their pure white plumage brightening up the skies and a noddy on a branch patiently sits still for those who wish to stare.
The picture perfect Seychelles Magpie Robin (SMR) photo by Martjin Hammers
The 400 metres around the island are also protected by law as a no-take site making the waters and beaches around the island a safe haven for marine life. Spotting nesting turtles on the island's beaches and watching as hatchlings make their way out to sea is enough to inspire any artist.
"We were honoured to host the artists on Cousin because it promotes the work we have been doing over the years, by bringing it to the public eye," says Dr. Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles' CEO. "Such an exhibition is a great means of reminding the people of Seychelles just how beautiful and unique our country is. We rely so much on our natural environment, so conservation work even at a personal level is very important."
The travelling exhibition which opened on July 23rd at an elegant event with fine Italian wines and cheeses is not just about canvases. An exhibition catalogue with illustrations of more than 200 works by the artists was presented on the night by the sponsors and organisers, Ars et Natura, Seychelles Arts Projects Foundation, Arterial Network Seychelles, the Seychelles Tourism Board and Ethiopian Airlines.
Nirmal Shah receives a copy of the catalogue from Alessandro Troisi
The Book, Seychelles - Ars et Natura's project for the archipelago's biodiversity, goes further than the exhibited artwork in that it contains descriptions and scientific names of the illustrationsin both in English and French. Ten percent (10%) of the revenues from the sale of each book will be given to Nature Seychelles to fund more conservation work on Cousin Island.
"Not only have the artists created beautiful works of nature, they have gone beyond that and are giving back with their generous donation to our organisation," Shah says. "Such gestures are important for the continued success stories of conservation work in Seychelles."