By Marwa Atif
The “Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”, Mauritius, will soon have its very own international art fair – Mauritius International Art Fair – from the 8th until the 11th of August.
The island nation, once home to the now extinct dodo, is renowned for its unique terrain, tropical climate, diversity of flora and fauna and a multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual ambience. Mauritius will host MIAF, the first of its kind in the nation, bringing together artists from neighbouring islands like Reunion, Madagascar and Seychelles, as well as from Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia, Americas and Oceania.
Founded by Mauritian national and Dubai-based artist/art promoter Zaahirah Muthy, MIAF is being the catalyst for converting the country into a hub for global art.
The theme is both eclectic and innovative, Island Ambassadors Charly Lesquelin from Reunion, Clipse Teean from Madagascar and George Camille from Seychelles, will exhibit their works, giving the audience a glimpse of what art looks like at the Tropic of Capricon.
The agenda includes panel discussions on subjects that delve into the country’s cultural ecosystem and examine art’s role as a change agent. Among the panelists are two representatives from Louvre Abu Dhabi and Qasr Al Hosn.
Among other highlights that will light up the mountains and plateaus of Mauritius, the fair offers some workshops, live painting-performance and an interactive public art show that are held by Indian water colourist Bijay Biswaal, UAE based Egyptian artist Diaa Allam and Jerome Toq’r of France respectively, will Ryan Mario of Singapore will direct artists on building a portfolio. He will expose the devil in the details as he teaches artists how to negotiate the small print in things like contracts and pricing.
Muthy firmly believes that children must be exposed to art and if not, then art should be brought to them. Muthy’s campaign vehicle which has its footprint extending from the Emirates to Mauritius, ZeeArts, has corralled school children through a competition that will bring out the artist in them. Winners will have their works displayed at the Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa.
The native, flightless dodo may be extinct but global art has just taken wings in Mauritius.
The exhibition runs from the 8th until the 11th of August 2019.