CLEAR – Final Show of the Series of UP!Project on Praslin until End of the Year

CLEAR – Final Show of the Series of UP!Project on Praslin until End of the Year

The recently opened exhibition of artwork, entitled CLEAR and on show at the Vijay International School Praslin until the end of the year, is the final show in a series of environmentally focused art installations organised by Seychelles Art Foundation. Prior exhibitions have included huge sculptures created from recycled waste, giant metal birds and the creation of one of the largest and finest murals realised to date, this one having been developed within the theme of oceanic preservation. The projects, collectively titles ‘UP!’, also saw the main bus station in Victoria festooned with an installation of giant washing lines.

All of the individual installations have been inspired by concerns about the environment, global warming and other manifestations of planet degradation caused by human beings. A number of notable Seychellois artists oversaw the creation of the installations, including George Camille, Charles Dodo, Jude Ally and Dylan Owen.

The CLEAR exhibition is no exception to the overall pro environmental theme and, in common with the other projects, CLEAR has involved young people in the creation of the work on display. Martin Kennedy, the artist who coordinated CLEAR stated “very often we adults neglect to consider environmental issues as much as we should. Life is busy and demanding and it’s easy to overlook problems such as single use plastic which affect us all on a daily basis. People become exhausted by the barrage of expert opinion which reminds them of these very real threats to the environment. They switch off. However, when children speak, adults listen. We listen to our own children and those of others. Globally the voice of the young – who after all have the most to lose from the continued abuse of the planet – is being increasingly listened to by politicians and, more importantly, voters.”

We asked about the title of this exhibition and were told that CLEAR refers to the visual quality of most single use plastic – the kind used for bottled water for example. CLEAR also refers to the evident and obvious fact that the continued use of such plastics poses huge threats to both land and sea environments.

CLEAR began with a collaboration between the Vijay International School Praslin led by Mark Howell the Headteacher, Seychelles Art Foundation – specifically funded by the GEF Small Grants Programme, environmentalist Marie-Therese Purvis and Martin Kennedy.

CLEAR workshops took place over a two-day period and involved children from Years 4 and 6 (2018/19 academic year). Following these workshops, led by Kennedy and Purvis, the children were encouraged to write their own thoughts about single use plastics. Later they posed for photographs with plastic which they had collected and brought into school. The final art works combine the image of the child with a short extract from his/her writing, printed both in his/her handwriting and, beneath the image, in normal print text. It was decided to print selected images large scale for maximum impact.

Nine images were selected to be printed full size, which are exhibited in the school’s Ellen Hall, along with smaller prints of the other photographs from the sessions.

The children’s work will shortly be incorporated into an education pack which will feature the entire UP! Project and which will be distributed to all state and private sector schools in Seychelles. This pack will include classroom activities which children in upper primary classes can engage with.

Use hashtags #UpSeychelles #CLEAR to spread the world and share this amazing installation!