Villa Verte and the George Camille Gallery An Art Lovers’s Retreat
Sat harmoniously within the surrounds of a lush forest upon La Digue Island, Villa Verte is a holiday home that has been lovingly created and designed by well known local artist, George Camille. Featuring colour schemes that reflect the lush surroundings as well as displaying many of the artist’s original paintings, this is a retreat that sings with the promise of a relaxing, tropical atmosphere and a glimpse into the laidback and friendly lifestyle of the island.
The fourth largest island of the Seychelles group, La Digue is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands with palm–fringed beaches, towering granite boulders and turquoise waters and is only a short sail away from the larger island of Praslin.
The villa is ideally located on the north east of the island by Anse Gaulettes and is just a 15 minute cycle to bustling La Passe, but far enough away to provide a quieter and more relaxing spot. It was built in 2002 on the site of a old creole wooden house which had fallen down, with the gentleman who constructed it running a small holding there together with a few farm animals to keep his lifestyle self sufficient. Ensuring the the character and story of the site was upheld and respected, the walls of the ground floor were made from granite rocks that were broken on site whilst the land was being cleared for the construction, whilst the rest of the the house is clad with timber, allowing the villa to sit camouflaged within its surroundings.
Today this striking three storey building houses not only holiday accommodation on the top two floors, but the highly acclaimed George Camille Gallery on the ground floor, making it the perfect accommodation for lovers of the arts.
Villa Verte can comfortably sleep 6 – 8 people in 3 double ensuite bedrooms, the largest of which is on the upper floor and has ample space for an additional 2 single beds. It is without doubt that the most popular place in the house is the 36 square metre verandah with its wooden swing and great views over the ocean and across to the cluster of islands that includes Felicite, the sisters islands and Coco Island. The wooden balustrade and lambrequin are both hand carved with leaves. The villa itself is painted green, the colour of new leaves and is built in the traditional creole style with quaint wooden shutters hung on traditional forged metal hinges and locked with metal crochets all made on La Digue.
If you can pull yourself away from the enchanting verandah, you’ll a small convenience store about 100 meters away and two restaurants within a short 10 minute walk, all offering fish from the sea, fruits from the forest and the best of local produce available on La Digue.
The artwork within Villa Verte has all been created by the Seychellois artist George Camille, inspired by local flora and fauna, creating an eclectic, breezy and tropical feeling. Camille was born and continued to live and work in Seychelles and its Indian Ocean environment inspires, drives and informs everything he does.
‘Living next to the ocean has resulted in its sounds, smells and beauty being represented through forms and movements in my work. Within my aesthetic environment, natural forms intertwine and overlap, creating a sense of place recognisable as the multi-layered panorama of light and texture I see when I look at the sea and sky every morning.’
Over the last twenty six years, etchings has become Camille’s medium for his more detailed and figurative work. Having his own press has allowed him to experiment with a range of intaglio print techniques, combining a variety of material and processes to create images which have shaped the development and presentation of his personal visual alphabet.
Working mainly on copper plates and using dry point and acid bite techniques, Camille produces limited edition monochrome prints as well as hand painted etchings that strive to capture the spirit of Seychellois life. His heavily textured collages, made from glued pieces of cut and ripped canvases and painted in acrylic depicting traditional Creole scenes and sceneries, transport the viewer on an intense journey into the physical beauty and evocative mythology of the Seychelles islands.
Camille’s most recent work has incorporated elements of ‘objets trouve’ into mixed media work which has seen the artist experimenting with embossed copper, recycled electrical wire, metal, relief work and installation art.
Initially self-taught, Camille later developed his wide-ranging yet distinctive style through formal tuition at Blackheath College of Art and Goldsmiths College, both in London. In 1987 Camille established Sunstroke Studio in Seychelles and, in so doing, provided an outlet for his design and craft activities. This was followed in 1997 by the restoration of an old wooden colonial house, Kaz Zanana, which he opened as his first gallery in Seychelles and in 2001 by the opening of the George Camille Gallery at Anse Gaulette on the island of La Digue
Numerous solo and group exhibitions featuring Camille’s work have been staged in Seychelles, Mauritius, Martinique, Reunion, UK, France, China, Germany, Russia, Brussels, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Italy. Camille was selected to represent Seychelles at the 57th and 58th Venice Biennale in Italy and is the grand winner of the Seychelles Biennale 2017. He has original work in many private collections worldwide, and has completed a significant number of commissions, including both public and corporate.
George Camille is the founding chairman of Arterial Seychelles and is currently chairman of Seychelles Art Projects Foundation. The vision of SAPF is to create a vibrant, dynamic creative sector locally and to promote Seychellois artists on the international stage.